Liverpool take on Real Madrid on Tuesday night in what will be a rematch of last season’s Champions League final, with Jurgen Klopp hoping to get one over Carlo Ancelotti.
Real have beaten Liverpool in two finals in the past 5 seasons, including last year’s showpiece where they were victorious in Paris. In 2021, Los Blancos also got the better of the Reds, albeit both legs were played in empty stadiums amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
After their most recent meeting, which was decided by a Vinicius Jr goal, legendary boss Carlo Ancelotti claimed Liverpool had presented them with the easiest tactical dilemma. The Spaniards had only reached the final thanks to miraculous comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City, while their victory over Liverpool was somewhat more straightforward.
“Looking back, people said ‘oh PSG were unlucky, Chelsea were unlucky, Manchester City were unlucky’,” Ancelotti explained. “This was practically the only game where people thought we were more or less on the same level.
“I think it helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others because they have a very clear identity and we could prepare the way that we did.
“We knew what strategy to take, don’t give them space behind the defence to run into. Perhaps our football wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful tonight on an aesthetic level, but playing out from the back to incentivise their pressing wasn’t a great idea.”
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But Klopp has claimed that despite Ancelotti and his players knowing exactly what they would come up against, his side should have still come out victorious.
Speaking to reporters, Klopp said: “Somebody told me – I don’t know if it’s true – that after the final Carlo said with Liverpool it’s cool because they know exactly what they will face. I watched the game back now and even knowing exactly what we will do, we have to win this game. We didn’t, for the one reason that we didn’t score and conceded, but apart from that we should have won this game.”
However, rather than engineer any animosity between his opponent in the opposite dugout, Klopp heaped praise on the Italian coach – admitting he’s on a “different level” when it comes to their respective jobs.
Carlo is the most relaxed manager I’ve ever met in my life,” he added. “One of the best people you can meet, fantastic and humble person, super smart and nice. And his man-management is on a different level to all of us. I respect and admire it a lot.
With this world-class team, which they were last year, brought in super exciting young players. They are always super competitive and super difficult to beat. And so this combination is a difficult one, but I think it makes sense to try anyway.”
Meanwhile, Klopp revealed that there is a chance Dariwn Nunez wins his race against time to be fit for Tuesday night. The Uruguayan scored a brilliant opener at Newcastle but was then forced off with a painful shoulder injury.
There is now set to be a late decision over his fitness, but there is cautious optimism: “There is a chance. We have to see how he is today. When we know that we will make a decision.”