By Simon Evans
LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says his team can compensate for their lack of Champions League final experience by showing greater desire and work-rate than Real Madrid in Saturday’s clash in Kiev.
Real Madrid are looking to win their fourth Champions League final in five years while Liverpool are in their first final in the competition since 2007.
“They are more experienced. That is a fact. If there is an experience market, they should sell it because then they would be even more rich than they are already,” Klopp said.
“Experience is very important in life but not the only important thing in life and especially in football.
“It is an advantage to be more experienced but you can level it with desire, with readiness, attitude work rate and that is what I love in football. We have our own experience. We have not that positive experience that we won the last two finals or something but we made our own experience,” he said.
The German suggested Liverpool will, however, have to raise their game to a new level to defeat Zinedine Zidane’s side.
“Let’s go there and try to perform on a level which maybe people would say it is not possible for us – but it is possible,” he said.
“And that is exactly what we should do. We did all the things we need for this game plenty of times already in the Champions League campaign and now we have to do it again, that’s it, against a really strong team,” he said.
Liverpool’s attacking style served them well in their impressive wins over Manchester City and AS Roma in the quarters and semi-finals and Klopp said it would be unwise to change their approach now.
“I am not a psychologist, obviously, but if somebody would tell me constantly that everything is different in the next game then I would get nervous,” he said.
“We have to handle the situation and we have to handle it as an opportunity, because it is an opportunity and nothing else.
“You cannot go into a football game without knowing it is possible you can lose it. I experienced, much too often, that situation but I am still alive and I am still a happy person, so life goes on. But that doesn’t make the moment better,” he said, referencing his five losses in finals.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach said that his team had to have the courage to attack Real.
“We will try, in a very positive way, everything to show the boys why it makes sense to be really brave in the game. That is what we did in all the other games. It was not easy to be brave against Man City and against Roma, both here and there, but the boys did it,” he said.
“As long as we did that we were always really in the game. The moment we tried to defend the result a little bit we were more or less out.”
Not only does Klopp believe his team are more effective attacking but he believes that a more cautious approach would not have taken his side to the final.
“If we had tried to play like Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid whatever we would have been out in the group stages, so we have to be more lively than other teams because we have a lack of experience,” he said.
“Real Madrid are a world class team, we are a top class team, there is still a difference and if you are not on the same level you have to do more, invest more.
“Doing more can lead to mistakes but I don’t think at the moment there are any alternatives to that. That is why we do it like we do it.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Alison Williams)