Mohamed Salah can become modern great like Messi and Ronaldo, says Klopp

• Liverpool manager says forward can become a modern great
• Sergio Ramos says Messi and Ronaldo are ‘in another orbit’ Jürgen Klopp has said Mohamed Salah can follow Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as a modern great but that the forward’s only ambition must be sealing a phenomenal campaign for Liverpool with a starring role in the Champions League final. Salah has scored 44 goals in his debut season as a Liverpool player, three short of the all-time club record set by Ian Rush in 1984. The Egypt international has one more chance to catch Rush against Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday when Liverpool aim to win the European Cup for a sixth time. Continue reading...

Liverpool to refund cup final tickets for fans with cancelled flights

Club will reimburse 650 people who cannot make Champions League match in Kiev Liverpool have offered full refunds on tickets for the upcoming Champions League final in Ukraine to 650 fans whose flights have been cancelled, but ticket-holders called the travel problems an “absolute joke”. Two flights to Kiev were cancelled by the tour operator Worldchoice Sports on Thursday after Boryspil airport could not allocate landing slots for the planes due to leave the UK on Friday and Saturday. Continue reading...

Liverpool fans brave transport misery for ‘chance of a lifetime’ final

Businesses capitalising on Liverpool’s Champions League match with Real Madrid in Ukrainian capital Kiev When Anna and Ronnie Ellis each parted with £450 for a seat on an “executive” coach from Liverpool to Kiev, they were expecting a few little luxuries for the 30-hour journey to the Champions League football final. Plug sockets, a toilet, maybe even a TV. Somewhere to store their bags that wasn’t their own laps would have been nice. But the minibus that pulled up outside the Arkle pub in Anfield on Thursday was a little more … rustic. Let’s just say the jerry can a fellow passenger had brought with him from work “for emergencies” was likely to be in high demand on the 2,750km-journey to the Ukrainian capital. Given the number of pints sunk in the pub beforehand, it may well have been full by the time the bus trundled on to the M62. Continue reading "Liverpool fans brave transport misery for ‘chance of a lifetime’ final"

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: shy, strong-willed – and a complete striker

Brazilian’s influence and end product will be crucial to Jürgen Klopp’s attempt to win this year’s Champions League final What distinguished Roberto Firmino in the eyes of Hemerson Maria were not two overhead kicks the 17-year-old scored against his Figueirense team, although they convinced the coach to sanction the teenager’s transfer from Clube de Regatas Brasil (CRB) on first sight. It was a conversation they shared several months later when he found Firmino alone, almost 2,000 miles from home and refusing to go back to Maceió.
“We had played a state league game, under-17s, and afterwards there was a recess, I think one week or more without any activities,” he recalls. “All my players travelled to be with their family, except Firmino. I remember that he was alone in Florianopolis. His parents had stayed living in Maceió. The last time Firmino had seen them was seven months earlier but he Continue reading "Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: shy, strong-willed – and a complete striker"

Why Sadio Mané bought 300 Liverpool shirts for his village in Senegal

The forward has bought 300 shirts for his native village of Bambali, where he watched the 2005 Champions League final. ‘Do not be 3-0 down’ is the instruction from home Three hundred Liverpool shirts have been sent to the small Senegalese village of Bambali in the buildup to the Champions League final, donated by Sadio Mané, its most famous son. On Saturday he aims to deliver on a promise to spare his childhood friend the despair and disbelief that accompanied Liverpool’s triumph in Istanbul. The gift set will be complete when he brings a European Cup winner’s medal back home. Related: Real Betis manager Quique Setién: how to beat Real Madrid Continue reading...

Liverpool to step up pursuit of Lyon’s £70m-rated Nabil Fekir

• Forward has been named in France’s World Cup squad
• Reds keen to replace departed Philippe CoutinhoLiverpool will step up their pursuit of Nabil Fekir after the Champions League final as they look to secure the £70m-rated Lyon captain before the World Cup. Fekir, who has played as an attacking midfielder and forward for his hometown club, is a major summer target for Jürgen Klopp with the Liverpool manager yet to replace Philippe Coutinho. Continue reading...

Champions League: 1,000 Liverpool fans told Kiev flights cancelled

Liverpool FC and mayors trying to find solution, after three Ukraine flights cancelled About 1,000 Liverpool fans who were planning to travel to Ukraine for Saturday’s Champions League final have been left stranded after three fans’ flights to the country were cancelled. The specialist tour operator Worldchoice Sports cut the flights after controllers at Boryspil airport, 29kms outside the capital Kiev, could not allocate landing slots for the three planes due to leave the UK on Friday and Saturday. Continue reading...

Real Betis manager Quique Setién: how to beat Real Madrid

One of the coaches to have defeated Zidane’s side this season advises Liverpool to keep the ball and warns of Madrid’s ‘anarchy’This Champions League final is a game that in theory should finish 4-4. It could be very entertaining for the fans, but perhaps not for the coaches. Real Madrid are a team who are a little anarchic. They don’t have a permanent shape: although they will play with four at the back and with Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the middle, the way they set up from there can change. Cristiano Ronaldo may be through the middle or wider and much depends on his role. If he and Karim Benzema play, it tends to be 4-4-2 but Gareth Bale could start, and/or Isco, Lucas Vázquez or Marco Asensio. All mean different things for the shape. That anarchic nature is more a general point, though. Madrid’s players Continue reading "Real Betis manager Quique Setién: how to beat Real Madrid"

Joker, thinker, friend, dictator: the many faces of Jürgen Klopp

As Liverpool’s manager prepares to face Real Madrid, Donald McRae reflects on the Klopp he knows – and how calm is keyJürgen Klopp knew we had met before but, at Liverpool’s training ground last month, he could not recall the exact setting of our first interview. The answer made him groan. Four years ago this month in Dortmund, 10 days before the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley, Klopp had been in a sparkling mood. As he prepared to lead Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich in an all-German battle for European football’s greatest prize, he offered engaging insights into his managerial style while urging the neutral fan to support his team. “If you want the new story, the special story, it must be Dortmund,” Klopp said. “You have to be on our side.” Continue reading...

Liverpool can exploit Ronaldo’s weaknesses – Alexander-Arnold

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Liverpool (AFP) – At just 19 years of age, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold faces a daunting task of stopping five-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo in Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev. But the fresh-faced right-back isn’t overawed by the prospect and believes he can even expose Ronaldo’s own weaknesses. A whirlwind season for Alexander-Arnold was capped by a call-up to England’s World Cup squad despite not having yet made his debut for the senior national side. He has been just one of a number of success stories of Jurgen Klopp’s management to end an 11-year wait for Liverpool to reach a Champions League final. The gulf in experience couldn’t be greater in the Ukranian capital, though, as Real aim for a fourth European Cup in five seasons. Ronaldo is going for his fifth Champions League winner’s medal having also lifted the trophy with Manchester United in 2008. Yet, Continue reading "Liverpool can exploit Ronaldo’s weaknesses – Alexander-Arnold"

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson intent on taking final step against Real

Jürgen Klopp’s inspirational reaction to losing the 2016 Europa League final convinced Henderson they would be ready next timeThe mood in the Liverpool team hotel was understandably bleak following defeat by Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final. Players were allowed to drink but there was little conversation flowing that night in Basel until Jürgen Klopp, at the end of his first season as manager, addressed the squad. “It felt shit three hours ago and it still feels shit now,” he began. “But we will be back.” It was the defiance behind those prophetic words that made the greatest impression on Jordan Henderson. Klopp launched into a hoarse version of “We Are Liverpool” once his rallying call was over. It was a stoic effort considering he had just suffered a fifth consecutive cup final defeat but, to Liverpool’s captain, there was a confidence born in Klopp that night Continue reading "Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson intent on taking final step against Real"

Real Madrid’s trophy machine bids to set the seal on modern-day mastery

Never mind the record books, Liverpool’s task in Kiev on Saturday is finding a way of beating a team who feel right at home in Champions League finals Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev promises to be that rare event, a meeting of outstanding teams that manages to live up to its billing, though the television trailer advertising the fact that the contestants have 17 European Cups between them is being ever so slightly economical with the truth. The figure is correct, it is just that Liverpool’s proud total of five is dwarfed by the Spanish club’s dozen. Not many teams can make Liverpool feel inferior in Europe, but Real Madrid can. The current holders of the trophy have a habit of making everyone feel inferior. No one else is yet in double figures. No one else has won back-to-back titles in both the original European Cup knockout format and Continue reading "Real Madrid’s trophy machine bids to set the seal on modern-day mastery"

Real Madrid’s trophy machine bids to set the seal on modern-day mastery

Never mind the record books, Liverpool’s task in Kiev on Saturday is finding a way of beating a team who feel right at home in Champions League finals Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev promises to be that rare event, a meeting of outstanding teams that manages to live up to its billing, though the television trailer advertising the fact that the contestants have 17 European Cups between them is being ever so slightly economical with the truth. The figure is correct, it is just that Liverpool’s proud total of five is dwarfed by the Spanish club’s dozen. Not many teams can make Liverpool feel inferior in Europe, but Real Madrid can. The current holders of the trophy have a habit of making everyone feel inferior. No one else is yet in double figures. No one else has won back-to-back titles in both the original European Cup knockout format and Continue reading "Real Madrid’s trophy machine bids to set the seal on modern-day mastery"

Real Madrid’s trophy machine bids to set the seal on modern-day mastery

Never mind the record books, Liverpool’s task in Kiev on Saturday is finding a way of beating a team who feel right at home in Champions League finals Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev promises to be that rare event, a meeting of outstanding teams that manages to live up to its billing, though the television trailer advertising the fact that the contestants have 17 European Cups between them is being ever so slightly economical with the truth. The figure is correct, it is just that Liverpool’s proud total of five is dwarfed by the Spanish club’s dozen. Not many teams can make Liverpool feel inferior in Europe, but Real Madrid can. The current holders of the trophy have a habit of making everyone feel inferior. No one else is yet in double figures. No one else has won back-to-back titles in both the original European Cup knockout format and Continue reading "Real Madrid’s trophy machine bids to set the seal on modern-day mastery"

Liverpool face key call over how to use Mohamed Salah against Real Madrid

Jürgen Klopp can ask Salah to drop and help Trent Alexander-Arnold or concentrate on exploiting the space behind Marcelo and the Brazilian’s defensive weaknesses Nothing, perhaps, should give Liverpool such heart ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final as Bayern Munich’s first goal against Real Madrid in the second leg of the semi. Nothing dramatic happens. Franck Ribéry turns in from the left flank and plays an unremarkable low pass in to Robert Lewandowski in a central position on the edge of the box. The ball bounces up in front of the Polish striker and his first touch as a result takes him away from goal. He is able, though, to shield the ball and, as Sergio Ramos decides to sit off, Lewandowski has time to work the ball wide left to Thomas Müller who is, bafflingly, in 15 yards of space, out on the right touchline, roughly level with the Continue reading "Liverpool face key call over how to use Mohamed Salah against Real Madrid"

Dejan Lovren: ‘The only thing similar about Liverpool to 2014 is our name’

The Croatia defender played in the meek defeats by Real Madrid under Brendan Rodgers but says the club are very different nowMemories of Dejan Lovren’s last Champions League encounter with Real Madrid and the similarities with Saturday’s final might once have caused him to wince. Today they inspire only belief. “If I see fear in a team-mate’s eyes I will slap him and say: ‘Come on,’” the Liverpool centre-half explains. “But when I look in their eyes now, the young lads and the experienced lads, they are full of confidence. We are not in the final without a reason.” Kiev is an opportunity for Real to see how far Liverpool have come. The Spanish club were the European champions with a forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema when they handed Lovren and Liverpool a lesson at Anfield in October 2014. The strikers, two of seven Real Continue reading "Dejan Lovren: ‘The only thing similar about Liverpool to 2014 is our name’"