Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his special relationship with his Liverpool squad ahead of the Reds’ Champions League showdown with Real Madrid following a “crazy” campaign.
Liverpool travel to Kiev in the hopes of securing their first European title in 13 years, against a Madrid side in the hunt for their third successive Champions League triumph.
Klopp’s side have overcome Porto, Manchester City and Roma in the knock-out stages, netting 17 goals across the three ties.
And the German, whose Borussia Dortmund side were beaten by Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 final, has no doubts Liverpool have earned their place in Saturday’s final.
“I’m immensely proud of what the boys have achieved,” Klopp told UEFA’s official website.
“The number of goals we scored is simply crazy. We’ve scored seven goals twice and five goals twice, too.
“That’s really [crazy], because we aren’t Barcelona, we aren’t Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. We are Liverpool, on the way to becoming a really good team.
“It’s been a crazy ride, but we’ve earned our place here.
“Me as a person, I want to have a close relationship with them, because I want to understand [the players].
“I’m grateful to them for what they’ve achieved. There are many teams at the same level as us, who earn as much or even more than our players, but they don’t perform as well.”
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 13 May 2018
Standing in the way of Liverpool are holders Madrid who, despite having had a poor domestic season, have excelled on the European stage.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have had to see off Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern on their way to the final, and Klopp has great admiration for his French counterpart.
“[Zidane] is one of the top five players of all time,” Klopp added.
“I’m glad we’re not playing against each other – me marking him, or whatever.
“I’m very glad I can send my players on to the pitch. Just meeting him is awesome. I admired him as a player and respect him as a colleague.
“It’s incredible what he’s been doing with Madrid. It’s really, really extraordinary. But we’re not going to grab some jerseys.”
7 – Real Madrid’s last seven European Cup/Champions League finals:
4-1 vs Juventus in 2017
1-1 vs Atletico in 2016
4-1 vs Atletico in 2014
2-1 vs B. Leverkursen in 2002
3-0 vs Valencia in 2000
1-0 vs Juventus in 1998
0-1 vs LIVERPOOL in 1981
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 2 May 2018
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