‘Lets talk about six, baby!’ – Liverpool break Klopp’s duck with European Cup

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The final was anything but pretty, but Liverpool’s exponential rise under Jurgen Klopp was rewarded with its first piece of silverware in the shape of Ol’ Big Ears.

A season after feeling the depths of despair in the cruellest of circumstances in Kyiv, the Reds were back on the big stage, this time with Europe’s most prestigious club trophy in tow.

Unlike the road to meet Real Madrid in the final in 2017/18, the subsequent campaign was one full of highs and lows and less of the free-flowing football which inflicted heavy defeats on the opposition.

The group stages made for three defeats on the road to Napoli, Red Star Belgrade and Paris Saint-Germain, where a narrow 1-0 win – largely defined by Alisson’s denial of Arkadiusz Milik – over Napoli at Anfield clinched a place in the last 16.

The tie against Bayern Munich saw Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk hit the headlines before Porto were swatted aside for the second season running in a tie which ended 6-1 on aggregate.

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson celebrates victory with manager Jurgen Klopp after winning the UEFA Champions League Final at the Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid.

Both victories set up a mouth-watering semi-final tie with Barcelona, which we’ll cover in-depth later on in our ‘Greatest Moments’ series.

Alongside their European challenge, Klopp’s side had been simultaneously going toe to toe with Man City for the Premier League title, which had all but ended in agonising fashion on the eve of the comeback against the Catalan giants.

It ensured ending Liverpool’s remarkable 2018/19 campaign with a piece of silverware rested on their ability to get the job done in Madrid.

With the league campaign ending with a 2-0 win over Wolves on May 12, Liverpool had just under three weeks to prepare for their meeting with Tottenham – and the experiences from the season prior were no doubt an advantage in the build-up to the final.

And you know how the story goes. Liverpool were awarded a penalty to which Mohamed Salah converted with less than two minutes on the clock before Divock Origi sealed the result in the 87th minute of a fixture which was not easy on the eye.

A humid Madrid coupled with the lengthy gap between the end of the domestic season and the final were far from ideal to free-flowing and eye-catching performances, but for Klopp and Co. being crowned champions was all that mattered.

It too was all that was important to the Liverpool faithful who had waited 14 years since their last European trophy and seven since the most recent piece of silverware, which came in the form of the League Cup.

And the scenes after the final whistle were ones to savour, like they were pre-game in the fan zone, with the players, staff and fans around the world rejoicing as the Reds shed the ‘nearly men’ tag and capped their rise under Klopp with their first piece of silverware.

“Without this manager this is impossible,” Jordan Henderson told BT Sport post-match.

“I’m so proud to be a part of this football club and to cap it with this is so special to me…It’s the best moment of my life.”

The ecstasy of victory and the shout of “let’s talk about six, baby!” ensured the current crop of players were forever enshrined in the club’s history books, writing their own chapters as Klopp had intended.

A natural progression on and off the field delivered a prize synonymous with Liverpool Football Club, with Henderson doing the honours with a now adorned shuffle.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 2, 2019: Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson holds the Champions League Trophy during an open-top bus parade through the city after winning the UEFA Champions League Final. Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur. 2-0 in Madrid. To claim their sixth European Cup. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

“Did you ever see a team like this, fighting with no fuel in the tank? I am so happy for the boys, all these people and my family,” Klopp said following the game.

“It wasn’t important for me to touch the cup. I loved seeing the boys having it and seeing some faces in the crowd. Going to Liverpool tomorrow with something to celebrate is big and I’m really looking forward to that.”

And celebrate they did. Over 750,000 people lined the streets to welcome their European Cup-winning heroes home and in doing so ushered in a new era of success which is still unfolding before our very eyes.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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