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Liverpool approach Saturday’s Champions League final against holders Real Madrid in Kiev with a belief they can “go for the big things” embedded in their DNA, says manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds, who entered in the play-off round, will be crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time if they win.
Real are looking to lift the trophy for a third successive season.
“Nobody expected us to be here, but we are because we are Liverpool,” said Klopp.
A journey that started on 15 August against Hoffenheim will end in glory if the Reds beat the 12-time winners.
“This club has it in its DNA that it can really go for the big things,” said Klopp.
“I am pretty sure, in the second before the game, Real Madrid will be more confident than we are but the game doesn’t end in that second, it only starts.
“I am really happy to be here with this group of players. They fought unbelievably hard to be here. They deserve it. I’m really proud.”
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- Listen: The man behind the smile – Jurgen Klopp
‘We have to win trophies’
Zinedine Zidane has won one La Liga title and two Champions Leagues since he was appointed Real boss in January 2016.
Klopp, who took the Liverpool job three months earlier, is still seeking a first major trophy.
“I’m longer at Liverpool than he is at Real Madrid yet he can win the Champions League for the third year in a row,” said the 50-year-old German.
“I saw his team playing a lot of times and its fantastic football. Zidane has been a fighter his whole life.”
The Reds were beaten by Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final.
Captain Jordan Henderson says they have moved on from that, but it is important for the team to start winning things.
“We have learned from that experience and we can use that as motivation,” said the England midfielder.
“We have moved in the right direction since then. It’s important we win trophies and hopefully we will win one on Saturday.”
Klopp told a media conference in Kiev he had no fresh injury problems before Liverpool’s final training session.
There are unlikely to be any surprises in the starting line-up, with James Milner expected to return after a minor muscle issue.
Klopp will probably have to chose between Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings for the final place on the substitutes’ bench.
That is because midfielder Emre Can, who has not featured since mid-March, is expected to be on the bench after recovering from a back injury.
Will Gareth Bale start for Real?
The Wales forward was a substitute in both legs of the semi-final against Bayern Munich.
Bale is attempting to win his fourth Champions League winners’ medal since moving to Spain five years ago.
Zidane also has to decide whether to play France forward Karim Benzema alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 15 Champions League goals this season – five more than Mohamed Salah.
Third time lucky for Klopp?
Klopp will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky for Liverpool, with the Reds having reached two finals under him.
They lost in the 2016 League Cup showpiece to Manchester City on penalties, before going down to Sevilla three months later.
Klopp is hoping to become the fourth manager to lead Liverpool to a European Cup/Champions League triumph after Bob Paisley (1977, 1978 and 1981), Joe Fagan (1984) and Rafael Benitez (2005).
But he has been beaten in his past five finals, including an all-German 2013 Champions League decider between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
“The Champions League final is really big,” he said.
“Going to the Champions League final is difficult to do, maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I know that is how I felt at the time.
“We played an unbelievable game against a strong side and after the game I knew I wanted to have that chance again.”
We’re not favourites – Zidane
Real are attempting to become the first team since Bayern Munich (1974-1976) to win the competition three years in a row.
However, Zidane denied his side were favourites against Liverpool.
“We will not live this moment again. We have to make the most of it,” he said.
“We have the same chance as Liverpool. Favourites? In the dressing room that is not what we believe.”
Real have multiple European Cup winners in their side, with Ronaldo seeking to become the first player to win the competition five times in the Champions League era.
“He lives for these matches, to play in these matches,” added Zidane. “That’s what his life is all about. That’s what makes him tick.”
‘Confident, calm and jovial Klopp’
BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Kiev
Jurgen Klopp was exactly as Liverpool and their fans have come to expect as he addressed the media on the eve of the Champions League final in Kiev.
Klopp, along with captain Jordan Henderson and defender Virgil van Dijk, was in calm and confident mood before facing Real Madrid – with the manager also drawing some laughs along the way.
He accepted Real’s vast experience will be an advantage before the game but there is no mistaking Klopp believes Liverpool have earned themselves a huge opportunity for sixth crown here in steamy Kiev.
The obvious faith Klopp has in his players, and vice-versa, was striking in their media briefing and is clearly a key component in the way they have grown into the Champions League this season.
Real have the experience but….
Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague in Kiev
Seventeen Real Madrid players have played in the Champions League final. Liverpool have one who was on the bench and didn’t even play a minute.
Real have got the better side, the better players, the better experience.
But Liverpool can win. The first minutes will be crucial.
Another Liverpool clean sheet?
- Liverpool have kept six clean sheets in the competition this season – no side has kept more.
- Spanish sides have won their past six major European finals against English sides (excluding Super Cups).
- Ronaldo has scored more Champions League final goals than any other player (four).
- No player to have played for Liverpool this season has previously appeared in a Champions League final.
- Milner has provided a competition-high eight assists in the Champions League this season.