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Pool deserve to be back at the top table, says Klopp

Relaxed mood: Jurgen Klopp shares a joke with his Liverpool players yesterday ahead of tonight’s Champions League final
Relaxed mood: Jurgen Klopp shares a joke with his Liverpool players yesterday ahead of tonight’s Champions League final

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the club are back where they belong after a spell in the European wilderness.

The five-time winners of the European Cup will play in their first Champions League final since 2007 after successfully negotiating only their second campaign in Uefa's premier club competition in the last eight years.

For Klopp that is validation enough that Liverpool have been restored to Europe's top table.

However, the manner in which they have dismantled teams this season is further evidence they are a force to be reckoned with, and one defending champions Real Madrid will be wary of.

"I don't think we need that moment (of victory) to restore it. I think it is obvious we are back," said Klopp.

"To qualify for a final, it shows that you are back. To win it? You need a little bit of luck. But we are back.

"We really don't need (the trophy) to show how good we are. We have shown how good we are. Even if you win, you cannot stop. If you lose, you cannot stop. I really like the way we are as a club, as a team.

"That is most important, not this week. In general, it is important that the club goes in the right direction. That is positive.

"What I said to the boys before the semi-final (against Roma) was that I don't think we are (here for) the last time.

"I didn't want to take the pressure off them, I think we are a club next year that could, not will, but could be here again."

Klopp has the chance to become only the fourth manager in the club's history to win a European Cup, following in the hallowed footsteps of Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafael Benitez.

"That would be cool but I haven't thought about it so far. It wouldn't help. Unfortunately, we cannot ask most of them (for help) any more," he added.

"I think it would be well deserved after a long period without big enjoyment. We do it for that and not so I could join a group of outstanding managers."

To do that he will have to reverse his record in finals which has seen him lose his last five, including in the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich.

"I know the pressure will come, that's how it is, but in this moment I only feel the opportunity," he said. "I am happy to be here.

"I have no clue how it will feel in the next final. I lost the last five and then you think, 'Oof really?'

"Maybe the history of this club shows you it is possible to win things. It's not that you need to be the most special manager in the world."

Real, seeking to become the first club to win the competition three years in succession, are favourites, but Klopp has confidence - especially after seeing Los Blancos concede two goals against Villarreal last weekend.

"We know about the crazy quality, the experience," he said. "The Villarreal game was a show of confidence. They were 2-0 up and closed the game too early.

"But we are Liverpool. We are different and we want to be different again. We have a chance. That is all."

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