Madrid, Spain | AFP | Jurgen Klopp laughed off suggestions he is an unlucky manager as he looks to halt an unfortunate run of ending up on the losing side in his last six finals as a coach when he leads Liverpool into Saturday’s Champions League decider.
“Since 2012, apart from 2017, I was every year with my team in a final, so we are getting there sometimes with luck in some moments, but most of the time because we had to go there,” Klopp told reporters at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, where Liverpool will face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
“I am probably at the moment a world-record holder, in the last seven years at least, in winning semi-finals, but if I wrote a book about that probably nobody would buy it.”
This is the seventh final for a Klopp-led team to since his brilliant Borussia Dortmund side won a German league and cup double in 2012.
He lost the 2013 Champions League final with Dortmund and the German Cup final in each of the following two campaigns.
Klopp then lost the Europa League and League Cup finals in his first season with Liverpool, before being defeated in the 2018 Champions League final by Real Madrid.
Liverpool also finished second to Manchester City in this season’s Premier League despite losing just one game and amassing 97 points. But the German insists it cannot all be about him.
“I’m a normal human being, and if I would now sit in a room and think it’s all about me, I am the reason, if I would see myself as a loser or whatever, then that would be a problem. But I don’t see it like this.”
Klopp, 51, added: “The things that happened in the past, for me I still got confidence I can take out of that, and could always, so it’s all good.
“Now I understand luck — if you work for it, you have it from time to time, not always… but apart from that, no, it was not an unlucky career and it’s not over, I have still a few years!”
– ‘Take that next step’ –
Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real in Kiev last year, but Klopp was quick to point out how different his side is now, with Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri all joining subsequently. Virgil van Dijk only moved to Anfield midway through last season.
“We are much more mature, we are a different side, we are older. Age is a good thing, getting older, from all points of view actually.
“We are a year older, a player like Trent (Alexander-Arnold) has around 50 more games in his legs with more experience in football.”
Alexander-Arnold’s fellow full-back Andy Robertson has been another standout performer for Liverpool this season and the Scot emphasised the determination of the Anfield squad to help Klopp get his hands on his first trophy with the club.
“Since he came here, he has changed how the club is and we obviously want to try to repay him with a trophy. Squads before came close and just fell short,” said Robertson, one of last season’s losing finalists who also lost a Scottish Cup final in his time with Dundee United.
“It’s all about trying to take that next step. But it’s not just for him, it’s for the team behind it — the team behind the team — everyone at Melwood (training ground) and all our families.
“We have all that to drive us forward. Of course, it would be nice to see him with his hands on the trophy.”