Jurgen Klopp says he was more excited ahead of his first appearance in the Champions League final than he is about Liverpool’s clash with Real Madrid on Saturday.
Klopp was in charge of Borussia Dortmund when they lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich at Wembley in 2013 and concedes he did not expect to be back in the final.
“I’m pretty sure I was much more excited at that time,” he said. “A lot of good things have happened to me. I never expected these good things would happen to me. It’s maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance – that’s how it felt [with Dortmund].
“We played a fantastic game against a strong side and after the game I knew I wanted this opportunity again.
“It took a while but I’m here because my boys gave me that chance again.
“I’m really happy being here with this group of players. They fought so hard for this and they deserve to be here.”
And Klopp is in no doubt as to what has driven his side to their unexpected success in Europe this season, as they go in search of a sixth European crown against a Madrid side chasing their third in a row.
“Spirit, 100 per cent. Spirit which we created during the season,” he commented. “Nine months ago we were already a good football team but the boys are ready for the big things.
“We maybe dreamt of being in a final but it’s only possible because of the performances.
“You saw our spirit in the last few games and that’s why we’re here for sure.
“We work on the things we are good at but the main message [ahead of the final] was all the things we’ve worked on since we’ve been together were made for being used in games like the one tomorrow. And it’s all about football.
“Most [of the players] will be a little nervous tomorrow. But do what you are best at: play football, fight with your mates, go for shots, headers, bicycle kicks if you want. It’s a football game. A big one, but it’s only a football game.”