Jurgen Klopp responds to Mohamed Salah’s ‘revenge’ comments on Real Madrid in Champions League final

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Jurgen Klopp lost his first two European finals with Liverpool, the second coming against Real Madrid, before winning his third against Tottenham Hotspur. (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that Mohamed Salah’s focus on seeking revenge against Real Madrid in this year’s Champions League final echoes his own thoughts after losing to the same opponent in 2018.

The Reds reached the showpiece event in Kyiv just under three years after Klopp took charge at Anfield, but lost 3-1 as a combination of a stunning cameo and brace from substitute Gareth Bale and a horrendous, essentially career-ending performance from goalkeeper Loris Karius cost them on the biggest stage.

Now Liverpool will be contesting the biggest fixture in club football for the third time in five seasons after beating La Liga club Villarreal 5-2 on aggregate, and will face Real Madrid again after Carlo Ancelotti’s side knocked Manchester City out of the competition in sensational comeback fashion on Wednesday night.

After being awarded the Football Writers’ Award for player-of-the-season in the Premier League, Salah said he on a revenge mission against Los Blancos, having been forced off in the final in Ukraine with a shoulder injury after a foul by Sergio Ramos.

‘It’s revenge time,’ Salah said on stage at the event. ‘They beat us in the final last time. It was a very sad day for all of us, so yeah. I said I wanted to play them in the final. I’m sure it’s going to be a tough game. They beat a lot of good teams but I’m excited. The team is excited. We need to stay focused. We have to finish the league first, then we will see’

Klopp didn’t go quite as far in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Reds’ match against Tottenham Hotspur, but did say that his immediate priority in the aftermath of the 2018 defeat had been on besting Real in another final.

‘When we lost that final my favourite solution would have been to play the final again against Real Madrid the next year,’ Klopp explained. ‘Instead we ended playing against Spurs, but in Madrid… Madrid seems to be our destiny! We were not happy that night, that’s clear, but it’s a while ago and I’m happy to go there this time and give it a try. But until then, a lot of games to play.’

‘It was strange and unlucky for City [to lose the tie so late], but what Madrid did is outstanding. They got through against PSG, Chelsea and City. If you knock out these guys you deserve to be in the final. What Carlo did there is absolutely incredible.’

Liverpool have already won the Carabao Cup this season and will face Chelsea at Wembley in a re-run of that fixture in the FA Cup final at Wembley on 14 May. They are also a single point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with four matches remaining, meaning an unprecedented quadruple is still a possibility.

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