Friday, March 31, 2023

Klopp buoyed by well-timed revival ahead of Real Madrid rematch

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Feb 2023


Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool have found their feet at the ideal time ahead of their Champions League clash with Real Madrid, as the Reds look to avenge the “torture” of last year’s final defeat.

Having failed to win any of their first four league games of 2023, Liverpool have recorded morale-boosting 2-0 wins against Everton and Newcastle United ahead of their return to European action on Tuesday.

While things are looking up for Liverpool in the Premier League, they have failed to win any of their last six matches against Madrid (D1 L5), including a 1-0 defeat in last year’s Champions League final in Paris.

Klopp is under no illusions as to the threat the 14-time European champions will pose at Anfield, but believes Liverpool have timed their upturn well.

“It’s one of the biggest games in the world, and with the recent history with one of us being in the final, grinding results out… it will be a top football game,” Klopp said on Monday.

“I’m really happy we can play it now. Four weeks ago, it would have been different. Life is all about timing and maybe we found our feet right in time for this game.

“We have these two results and hopefully we can build on that, and we need to. We need to play two super games to get through, but I have no problem with that.

“If you don’t play your best, you don’t have a chance. Real Madrid don’t have to play their best and they still have a chance, and that’s the difference.”

Vinicius Junior’s second-half goal guided Madrid to victory against Liverpool at the Stade de France at the end of last season, in a match which was marred by heavy-handed policing resulting in supporters being tear-gassed and a delayed kick-off.

Klopp has only recently re-watched the match and while he maintains Liverpool performed well, he was left impressed by Madrid’s composure under pressure.

“Different things happened to us – and to me – with Real Madrid,” he said. “They’re one of the biggest, most successful clubs in the world and won this competition I don’t know how many times.

“We played this final in Paris and I didn’t watch it back since then, until this weekend. I realised why it didn’t watch it back, it was proper torture.

“We played a good game and could have won the game. You could see in this game how experienced Madrid are, how little they are fussed when the other team has chances.

“This is the competition and that’s what you can learn from them. These are the same clubs, but different teams, different times. There’s a history – in the last few years one of us was always in the final, that’s how it feels.”

Tuesday’s game will represent Madrid’s fourth trip to Anfield for a Champions League fixture. Having been thrashed 4-0 on their first visit in March 2009, Los Blancos have gone unbeaten in the last two without conceding a goal (W1 D1).


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