Jurgen Klopp has suggested that facing Real Madrid in the Champions League final represents the hardest possible assignment Liverpool could have faced.
Despite a chaotic 4-2 defeat against Roma in the Stadio Olimpico the Reds set up a meeting with reigning champions Real Madrid in Kiev next month thanks to a 7-6 aggregate win.
Sadio Mane’s 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum’s first away goal in almost three years were sandwiched between a James Milner own goal in the first half before Edin Dzeko and then Radja Nainngolan with two – including a penalty with the last kick of the game – turned the result but not the tie around.
It sets up a repeat of the 1981 final against Real Madrid, the 12-time winners who have lifted the trophy in three of the last four seasons.
It will be the third final Klopp has led the side to in three years but having lost the last two – making it five in total for him personally – he knows they need to put silverware back in the cabinet.
“We were in a League Cup final, we didn’t win it. People don’t tell me in the street since then: ‘Thank you for bringing us to the final’,” he said.
“We were in Europa League final, nobody tells me that. I see no trophies after these games. They don’t hang silver medals at Melwood. That’s the game.
“There’s still a job to do but that’s how it is. Going to a final is really nice but winning is even nicer.”