Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to show they can more than match Real Madrid as the European giants collide in a Champions League final on Saturday for the second time in five seasons.
Real were too strong when the sides meet in Kyiv in 2018, but Klopp’s men bounced back to become European champions a year later and are now in their third final under the German.
Liverpool will join AC Milan as the second most successful club in European Cup history with seven titles if they lift the trophy at the Stade de France.
Madrid are well out in front as the kings of Europe with 13 titles, but Klopp is keen for Liverpool not to be cowed by history being on the Spanish champions’ side.
“If you look at the history of the club, if you look at the experience of the other team, the way Real Madrid celebrate the comebacks, I would say it’s Real Madrid (who are favourites) because of experience,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“But I want us to be on the same level, thinking on the same level. I want us to be us in this game.”
Madrid have needed stirring fightbacks to see off Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City to get back to the final for the first time in four years.
Liverpool’s path to Paris has been more serene as they prepare for their 63rd game of the season.
Klopp’s men have already won the League Cup and FA Cup and missed out on the Premier League title by a single point to City.
“Once in my life someone told me the more often you win something the more likely it gets you will not win it anymore,” added Klopp. “I’m not sure Real Madrid thinks like that but I have that dream a little bit that it’s the case.
“We obviously played some really, really good stuff this season. We are not here by surprise or we got a ticket or something like that -– we deserved it.
“Being us on the highest level would be cool. If we could do that then we are a really uncomfortable opponent.
“We can talk about what Real Madrid achieved in the past and this season, how good their players are, we probably could write a book together now about this team. But we are good as well and that’s what we want to show.”
Real Madrid players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)
Madrid also already have silverware to show for their season as they cruised to the La Liga title.
“We are very close to achieving the maximum,” said Carlo Ancelotti ahead of his record-breaking fifth Champions League final as a coach.
Ancelotti won Real’s long-awaited 10th European Cup in his debut season during his first stint in charge at the Bernabeu in 2014.
Thibaut Courtois was on the opposing side that night in Lisbon as the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper and the Belgian is looking forward to being on the right side of history in his first Champions League final since.
“We know when Real Madrid play in finals they win them,” said Courtois. “Now I’m on the right side of that.”
Madrid have enjoyed a more relaxing build-up after sealing the Spanish title nearly a month ago.
But Liverpool are hopeful of having a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara were doubtful due to muscle injuries, but both returned to training this week and are in contention to start.