Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Barcelona in last season’s Champions League semi-final second leg was his best achievement in management.
Liverpool (opens in new tab) lost 3-0 at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the duo’s last-four clash, before completing a remarkable comeback at Anfield thanks to braces from Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi.
Klopp’s side then went on to lift the trophy following a 2-0 victory over Tottenham (opens in new tab) in Madrid.
Klopp had previously participated in two other Champions League finals, losing to Bayern Munich (opens in new tab) as Borussia Dortmund (opens in new tab) boss in 2013, and also coming up short when Liverpool met Real Madrid (opens in new tab) in 2018.
The German guided the Reds to their highest ever top-flight points tally last season, and is aiming to add a Premier League winner’s medal to the two Bundesliga crowns he won with Dortmund.
But despite his array of achievements throughout a managerial career which began with Mainz in 2001, Klopp says masterminding Liverpool’s unlikely defeat of Barcelona (opens in new tab) was his biggest feat to date.
“My greatest triumph as a manager was born from a disaster,” he told the Players’ Tribune (opens in new tab).
“Losing 3–0 at Barcelona in the Champions League last season was the worst result imaginable. When we were preparing for the second leg, my team talk was very straightforward. There was no Rocky this time. Mostly, I talked about tactics. But I also told them the truth.
“I said, ‘We have to play without two of the best strikers in the world [Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmimo]. The world outside is saying ‘it’s not possible’. And let’s be honest, it’s probably impossible. But because it’s you? Because it’s you, we have a chance.
“I really believed that. It wasn’t about their technical ability as footballers. It was about who they were as human beings, and everything they had overcome in life. The only thing that I added was, ‘If we fail, then let’s fail in the most beautiful way.’
“Of course, it’s easy for me to say those words. I’m just the guy yelling from the touchline. It’s much harder for the players to actually do it. But because of those boys, and because of the 54,000 people at Anfield, we did the impossible.
“The beautiful thing about football is that you can’t do anything alone. Anything, believe me.”
Liverpool maintained their 100% winning start to the Premier League season with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea (opens in new tab) on Sunday.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
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