Jurgen Klopp has explained why rewatching Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid from last year was “proper torture.”
The Reds will take on Real again in the last 16 of this year’s competition on Tuesday, and Klopp says he hadn’t watched last year’s final back until the weekend just gone.
A goal from Vinicius Jr. was the difference between the two teams in Paris last June, on an occasion that is remembered by Liverpool fans for the unfortunate events off the pitch, rather than those on it.
Klopp, though, believes his team could easily have won the game, and says there is plenty his team can learn from Real’s performance that day.
“We played the final in Paris and I didn’t watch it back since then until this weekend,” he said in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference.
“The thing I realised immediately was that now I know why I didn’t watch it back, but I had to.
“It was proper torture, because we played a good game and we could have won the game, and ‘could’ is the decisive word, because we didn’t. They scored a decisive goal, we didn’t.
“You could see in this game how experienced Madrid is, how little they are fussed when the other team has chances. They don’t lose confidence in one second. They know their chance will come. They defend together.
“That’s what you can learn from them, definitely.”
When pressed on how he thinks Liverpool can get the better of such an experienced team on this occasion, Klopp said there was no way to make Carlo Ancelotti’s side “panic,” but feels his team can take more “risks.”
“I don’t think you can make this team panic,” he continued.
“There were enough reasons [in the final last year]. The chances we had and the saves Courtois had to make.
“It looked like what held us back a little was the fact it was a final. We didn’t take risks in little moments, we weren’t adventurous enough.
“We were super protective because of the possible counter-attack threat and rightly so.
“When I watched it back I thought ‘an extra spark here and there and we could have made something’.”
After two wins on the bounce, Klopp is pleased that this match has arrived when it has, rather than earlier in the year when Liverpool were struggling for any kind of consistency.
And regardless of recent form, he believes Tuesday’s encounter between two of the giants of European football will be a special occasion.
“It will be a top football game and I’m really happy that we can play this game now,” the Liverpool boss added.
“Four weeks ago it would have been different, but life is all about timing.
“Maybe we found our feet back right in time for this game, even when I would have expected us to be ourselves even if we wouldn’t have won the last two games, because it’s a different competition and you have to use this opportunity.
“But now we have these two results and hopefully we can build on that, but we need to play two super games to get through.
“I have no problem with that, because if you don’t play your best, you don’t have a chance.
“Real Madrid doesn’t have to play their best and still have a chance, and that’s the difference. That’s pretty special, but I can’t wait.”
Jurgen isn’t the only one who re-watched the Champions League final, This Is Anfield’s tactical analyst Harry McMullen did too – read his breakdown here.