Desire can deliver Champions League dream for Liverpool, says Jürgen Klopp

• Klopp says his team can overcome experience of Real Madrid
• Adam Lallana and Emre Can increase Klopp’s selection optionsJürgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s bravery, work-rate and desire for a sixth European Cup can compensate for Real Madrid’s greater experience when the sides meet in the Champions League final. Saturday’s contest in Kiev will be Real’s fourth Champions League final in five years, with Zinedine Zidane’s holders aiming to lift the trophy for a third consecutive season. No club has won a hat-trick of European Cups since Bayern Munich in 1974, 75 and 76. Liverpool’s recent European record pales by comparison but having reached a first final in 11 years with several exhilarating performances and scored a competition record 40 goals en route, their manager is confident his team’s virtues can prove decisive in Ukraine. Continue reading...

‘I don’t feel like an underdog’: Jürgen Klopp eager for Real redemption

The Liverpool manager still has raw memories of defeat in a Champions League final but he is undeterred as he prepares for another tilt at club football’s ultimate prizePicture the scene. A sunbed by a hotel swimming pool in Las Vegas in May 2014. A German holidaymaker is trying to relax, to clear his mind of everything involving work, but his repose keeps being disturbed by noises off. “There was a football match on television and a lot of people were watching it,” Jürgen Klopp says, taking up the story. “It was Real Madrid v Atlético in the Champions League final and everyone was shouting in Spanish. I was kind of annoyed by hearing the noise, because I had been trying to ignore the game. I didn’t want to watch it, I had no clue who had scored or who had won, because it was still painful to think Continue reading "‘I don’t feel like an underdog’: Jürgen Klopp eager for Real redemption"

I would love to face Cristiano Ronaldo for real, says Trent Alexander-Arnold

• Liverpool man relishing chance of close-up with Madrid forward
• I watched on YouTube growing up, adds the teenage right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has said it would be an honour to face Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League final having grown up watching him on YouTube but he says he is not overawed by the challenge against Real Madrid. Stopping Ronaldo and Madrid’s formidable attack on 26 May will be the final task of a highly impressive season with Liverpool for the right-back, who is also in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts for England’s World Cup squad. Continue reading...

Jürgen Klopp urges Liverpool not to ‘fall flat on your face’ against Brighton

• Manager tells players to put Champions League to back of minds
• ‘I have not been skipping forward to think about Real Madrid’ Many Liverpool fans have thought about little other than the Champions League final for the last couple of weeks, waiting to find out if they have tickets in the ballot and paying eye-watering prices for day trips to Kiev, but Jürgen Klopp has put it all to the back of his mind. Thanks to the defeat at Chelsea last week Liverpool still need a point to guarantee Champions League football next season and Klopp has not been instructing his players to keep their focus on Brighton on Sunday afternoon without being willing to do so himself. “It would have been nice to do it earlier but now we have to do it on the last day,” the Liverpool manager said. Continue reading...

Champions of Europe!

Just when you think this weekend can’t get any better for AEK supporters around the world, it does! After a night full of celebrations for the Championship win Saturday evening, our basketball club topped it all of by winning the FIBA Champions League trophy in Athens. The win came after a hard fought 100-94 win over Monaco, runners up in the tournament for the second year in a row. The game was a little close for comfort at times but it must be said that AEK played a perfect game really. Aside from a few potentially costly errors towards the end, they executed their game perfectly for the majority of the match. Right from the start we were the stronger team with far more consistency in offense and a defensive cohesion that Monaco just couldn’t counter. While the usual suspects contributed to the match as expected, it was the unexpected Continue reading "Champions of Europe!"

The Fiesta We’ve All Been Waiting For

A fiesta that we’ve waited 24 years for, a fiesta that has been long overdue, finally Nea Filadelfia was able to celebrate the only way we know how. Flares, chanting, and a party that probably still lingers on the streets hours after the bus carrying the champions passed by. The celebrations really started after our 1-0 win against Apollon Smyrnis, a game which technically was an away match though in reality was played in front of about ten thousand AEK supporters. An open roof bus, painted specifically for this occasion, made its way from Rizoupoli stadium to Nea Filadelfia where it was, as expected, greeted by a sea of singing supporters. When I was re-watching some of the live coverage, people were estimating about thirty thousand supporters in the streets, and it certainly seemed that way from the video footage that I saw.   Its times like these when I Continue reading "The Fiesta We’ve All Been Waiting For"

Jürgen Klopp seeks top-four slot and end to stupid questions at Chelsea

• Draw would confirm Champions League place for Liverpool
• ‘We are strong enough to compete with the best teams in Europe’Liverpool need to take a point or more from their visit to Stamford Bridge this afternoon in order to secure their place in the top four, leave the rest of the season free to concentrate on the Champions League final and give Jürgen Klopp a break from answering stupid questions. The German has become adept at either widening his eyes or letting his jaw drop in response to some of the inanities that come his way during media duties, though to his credit he usually manages a reasoned answer. “Yes of course it is important to this club to play in the Champions League next season,” he said slowly, as if examining the query for a catch it did not contain. “We are strong enough to compete against Continue reading "Jürgen Klopp seeks top-four slot and end to stupid questions at Chelsea"

Basketball Champions League Finalists!

After a tough game against Murcia that was a little too close for comfort, AEK managed to book its place in the Champions League Finals set to take place this Sunday. The final score of 77-75 was enough to put us through in front of what was, as to be expected, incredible support from our fans in Athens.

Maybe magic does hang over Real Madrid, the game’s greatest club dynasty | Barney Ronay

The defining image of this Real team isn’t a priestly boot room or the intellectualism of total football. The defining image of this team is Cristiano Ronaldo’s absOh. He’s here again. The man with the rapacious desire for annihilating success in his eyes. In the end it was a strange kind of glory for Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday evening as Real Madrid progressed precariously but also, somehow, inevitably to another Champions League final. There has been a lot of talk about Ronaldo’s stripped-down role in his late prime. But this was a performance of such minimalism it might have been etched on a grain of rice, a vision of the ultimate endgame some years from now whereby Ronaldo is wheeled on to the pitch by a litter of footmen, emerging from his bathing machine to patrol a roped-off zone around the penalty spot, sampling the air, occasionally dropping into Continue reading "Maybe magic does hang over Real Madrid, the game’s greatest club dynasty | Barney Ronay"

And now, the end is near, and Arsène Wenger faces the final curtain | David Hytner

Burnley’s visit to the Emirates on Sunday will be the last ever home game for the Arsenal manager, and some of his players Arsène Wenger had outlined the danger in the buildup to the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final against Atlético Madrid. “The future of the club is not exactly the same if we qualify for the Champions League or not,” the manager said. The worst-case scenario duly played out. Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat in Madrid condemned them to a 2-1 aggregate loss and meant that for the second season in succession they will miss out on the prestige and revenues of competing in Europe’s elite club competition. Continue reading...

Liverpool it is

Roma were heroic and they almost achieved a second three goal miracle – but Liverpool held on,held out and have made it to the finals. Highlights .. Roma 4-2 Liverpool Goals | Match Highlights by footbie.com

Liverpool v Real Madrid: their European head-to-head record – video

After Liverpool squeezed through the Champions League semi-final against Roma they now face the steeper task of tackling Real Madrid. The two sides have met on numerous occasions in Europe, most importantly when Liverpool clinched a 1-0 victory in the European Cup final in 1981. Here’s a look back at the two European heavyweights previous meetings
Continue reading...

‘Liverpool will be crushed by Real’s legend’ – Spanish press on Champions League final

The Spanish media, unsurprisingly, is mostly backing Madrid – ‘The final could be most unequal in a decade’ – but Catalonia’s El Mundo Deportivo hopes ‘Hero Klopp’ can deny the holders And so, it is a repeat of the 1981 European Cup final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, only there is virtually no way this will be a repeat of that. Watch it back and it is awful: a dirty, disjointed game of barely any passes, even fewer chances and pretty much no football, played on a pitch that was embarrassingly bad. It finished 1-0 when the Liverpool left-back Alan Kennedy scored the only goal. It is hard to imagine that being repeated this time round: these two teams survived semi-finals that finished 7-6 and 4-3. Related: Only one thing seems certain for Real Madrid v Liverpool – it will be chaos | Jonathan Wilson Continue reading...

‘My heart aches not to give the fans a magical night’: Di Francesco on Roma v Liverpool – video

Roma manager Eusebio di Francesco said it made his heart ache not to have been able to steer his side past Liverpool into the final of the Champions League, after a 4-2 victory was not enough to overturn the first leg deficit. The manager said he regrets that the players wasted time protesting rather than playing, and the absence of VAR, but said Liverpool were a great team Klopp warns Real Madrid: ‘We will be on fire in final’ 

Continue reading...