Jurgen Klopp says playing Real Madrid in the Champions League final feels like destiny, and the Liverpool boss insists Manchester City will be ready for Sunday’s clash with Newcastle.
Liverpool trail Manchester City by a point and can put the pressure back on the reigning champions with a positive result against top-four chasing Tottenham on Saturday.
City suffered an agonising Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid in midweek, with the Spanish side now Liverpool’s opponents in Paris later this month in a repeat of the 2018 final, which Real won 3-1.
“When we lost that final, my ideal solution was to play Real Madrid again. Madrid seems to be our destiny,” Klopp said ahead of the visit of Spurs.
“It was strange and [the game and the result was] unlucky for City. They [Real] got through PSG, Chelsea and Man City [to get to the final]. If you knock out these three guys then you deserve to be there.
“Yeah, it will be great. That we were not happy that night [in Kyiv in 2018] is clear, but that was a while ago. But I am happy to go there and give it a try, but until then there are a lot of games.”
Pep Guardiola’s side had a two-goal advantage on aggregate after 89 minutes of Wednesday’s second leg against Madrid, but Rodrygo’s two goals in the 90th and 91st minutes took the tie to extra-time before Karim Benzema scored a penalty early in the first period of extra-time to knock out City.
But Klopp doubts City’s players will be suffering a hangover from the defeat on Sunday when Newcastle arrive at the Etihad Stadium.
“It was a massive blow. I think everyone was ready to switch the TV off,” Klopp said. “It was really harsh, I can imagine. I had nights like the this, not cool but they will be ready for Sunday”
Conte: We must be brave against Liverpool
Having won four out of their last six games, Spurs travel to Anfield hoping to regain fourth spot before hosting Arsenal in a pivotal north London derby on May 12 at 7.45pm – live on Sky Sports.
”It will be a very good game for us, ” Conte said.
”I say to my players, we need to be brave on the ball. Don’t be afraid to press and find the solution to get three points.
”We are very much in this race to get Champions League. Every game is a big chance to progress in the table.”
Salah: Everyone at Liverpool wanted Real Madrid
Mohamed Salah has admitted everyone at Liverpool wanted to play Real Madrid in this month’s Champions League final – with the pain of 2018 still on the players’ minds.
Salah did not hide the fact that he preferred to play Real than Premier League rivals City in the May 28 showpiece event – and that it was an easy pick between the two.
“If you ask everybody [at Liverpool], everyone wanted that game,” Salah exclusively told Sky Sports. “I don’t know why we’re not allowed to talk about it but I’m ok to talk about it – I wanted that game! I wanted to play Real Madrid before that game [against Manchester City].
“Of course, I’m not giving too much credit to them. They’re an unbelievable team with a great coach, great players. When they asked me who I wanted, I said Madrid. It’s an easy answer.”
Liverpool further in Quadruple bid than any other English club in history
Liverpool’s bid to win a historic Quadruple has now gone further into a season than any other English side following their semi-final win against Villarreal to reach the Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp’s team headed to Spain in midweek leading 2-0 and, despite an early scare as Villarreal levelled the tie with two first-half goals, Liverpool fought back to win 3-2 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate to book their place in the Paris final on May 28 against Real Madrid.
Liverpool have now surpassed the Chelsea side of 2006/07, whose own Quadruple challenge lasted all the way until May 1 of that campaign before losing to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.
The next leg of the Quadruple will come against Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 14, a repeat of this season’s League Cup final, which the Reds won on penalties in February.
Meanwhile, in the race for the Premier League, Liverpool are still just a point behind City as we enter the final four games of the season after an impressive unbeaten run in the league saw the champions’ seemingly unsurmountable 14-point lead on January 15 evaporate.
In total, Liverpool will face a gruelling seven-match schedule in May now they have made it through to the final of the European Cup at the Stade de France.
Liverpool’s fixture schedule:
May 7 – Tottenham (h) Premier League
May 10 – Aston Villa (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 14 – Chelsea (Wembley) FA Cup final
May 17 – Southampton (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 22 – Wolves (h) Premier League
May 28 – Real Madrid (Stade de France) Champions League final
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