Jurgen Klopp spoke ahead of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, today. The German noted that the Merseyside club faces Carlo Ancelotti’s team as equals and said that the final being in Paris sends the right message to Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the war in Ukraine

Liverpool are aiming to be Europe’s champions for the seventh time, in the game at Stade de France. Madrid are 13-time champions and Ancelotti has four Champions League trophies too, proving that the Premier League side has their work cut out against this season’s La Liga toppers. 

While Los Blancos clearly have history on their side, when it comes to European dominance, a fact that reflects in their relentless persistence on pitch, Klopp is of the opinion that Liverpool has had enough experience in competing at top levels of the European championship to consider themselves equals. 

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However, commenting on who are favourites in the upcoming game, the 54-year-old said “If you look at the history of the club, the experience of the other team and the way Real Madrid celebrated comebacks then I would say from my point of view that Real Madrid is the favourite. But actually I want us to be on the same level and thinking we are at the same level”, The Guardian reported. 

Madrid have had a terrific run throughout the Champions League defeating Manchester City – the club that snatch the PL title from Liverpool’s grasp – in the semis of the European tournament. Klopp has experience watching the Liverpool team crumble to Madrid as well, in 2018, when Sergio Ramos’ foul on Mohamed Salah took out the Egyptian forward and knocked the wind out of the Anfield club’s sails. 

Speaking of the need to outdo Madrid in terms of mentality, Klopp said “I want us to completely be ourselves in this game. If we are on the top of our game we are difficult to play, really difficult to play. That is my only concern at the moment, that we be ourselves and be really confident as well. But of course, the confidence level of the Madrid players is incredibly high.” 

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While Klopp wants to win, the manager expressed pride in the team’s progress and noted how we are increasingly judged only by results in this world. He said, “It would mean a lot to win. The world we are living in means we get judged by the final result. If you are a football person then you know what my boys did this season so far is absolutely exceptional but of course in the end it is all measured by the colour of the medal you get after a game. We are ready for that. History will tell us what people say about us. I am really happy with what we did so far.” 

The CL final was supposed to be in St Petersburg, Russia, but UEFA changed the destination as a protest against the Ukraine war. 

Speaking of the change of venue, Klopp said “I am happy that the game is here for thousands of reasons. It’s a strange one. How to kill the mood [with the question]. The war is still going on and we have to think about that. The game still happens and the fact we are not in St Petersburg is exactly the right message that Russia should get. Life goes on even when you try to destroy it.”

He added, “We play this final for all the people in Ukraine. I am sure some people in Ukraine can still watch it and we do it for you, 100%.” 

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The pitch was laid at the last moment for the stadium, which the German manager hasn’t found completely to his liking. He commented, “Usually when I say the pitch looks new that is good news. This pitch is new since yesterday, which is not the best news, but it will be the same for both teams. I saw the refs with their session and the good news is the ball drops normal. You can see the lines where they put the pieces of the pitch together, which is what we aren’t used to. That someone thought it was a good idea to bring the pitch the day before to the stadium is an interesting idea. But it didn’t kill my mood 1%. I am really happy we are here, I would have played the game on pétanque.”

Klopp added, “Both teams are technical teams and you would wish in a dream world that the pitch is the best you ever saw in your life. That’s obviously not the case. Maybe it’s perfect but it looks not perfect. I hope no one makes a story about ‘Klopp moaning about the pitch’. I’m fine.”