Jurgen Klopp: Champions League title only the beginning
The Reds ended a run of six final defeats.
Manager Jurgen Klopp believes winning his first trophy with Liverpool is only the beginning and the squad he has assembled has its best years still to come.
The club’s sixth European Cup – a tally bettered only by Real Madrid (13) and AC Milan (seven) was secured with a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Spanish capital.
For Klopp it ended a run of six final defeats but, more importantly, for the majority of the players it was their first senior trophy after losing the final to Real Madrid 12 months ago.
And the Reds boss predicts it will not be the last.
“Now we won something and we will carry on. We want to win things, 100 per cent. I’ve said it, this is only the start for this group,” he said.
“It’s still a wonderful age group, they all have the best times in their careers ahead of them so that’s big.
“For me, I’m really happy. I have a lot of silver medals and now I have a golden one so it’ll be next to the silver medals in my house and that’s cool.
“But mostly I’m happy for all the other people. When you saw it in the dressing room, everybody felt it but you don’t really know what to do with it.
“But I’m really sure when we drive through the city then we all will realise what these boys have done and that’s the best moment, for sure.”
Two of Klopp’s senior players, his captain Jordan Henderson, and veteran midfielder James Milner have endured their fair share of criticism since the German took over in October 2015.
Klopp felt putting a trophy in the cabinet was vindication for them and his faith in them.
“I’m happy for the boys. You know what people said about a couple of players of this team,” he added.
“Jordan Henderson is captain of the Champions League winner 2019 – that’s satisfying actually. And that Millie did it at the age of 33.
“They are all very important. Without Millie’s dressing-room talks before the game – with a non-native manager – I think it would not be possible. It’s so important.
“All the things they did during the weeks, how they lifted when we had little downs, it’s just incredible.
“It is really emotional, that’s my main feeling, it’s overwhelming.”
Klopp was keen to deflect some of the glory from himself to his squad and backroom staff, who also contributed to a record-breaking Premier League runners-up tally of 97 points.
“My job is to take all the responsibility and I like that actually because it gives my players the freedom to play football. That’s how I understand it,” he said.
“Sometimes it would be easier to understand it in a different way but that’s how I understand it.
“But look at my coaches, what we all did during the year to try to make the next step.
C H A M P I O N S 🏆 pic.twitter.com/kvLC3KYzRg— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 1, 2019
“We started in Evian in the (summer) training camp, bringing these players and knowing they need time but we had to win football games from the start, it was difficult.
“But it feels so good: 97 points, now you can say it, 97 points in the league is incredible and winning the Champions League – that’s an unbelievably long way to go and we did it.
“But after the (Champions League) final last year, when we came home to Liverpool, it was not cool.
“One of my friends is a singer and my assistant coach we sang a song: ‘We saw the European Cup, Madrid had all the luck, we swear we’ll keep on being cool, we’ll bring it back to Liverpool’.
“Nobody thought in that moment it would happen. In that moment it was only to lift our mood a little bit and now it happened actually, so we have to think about what we will sing now because obviously it means something.”