Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dedicated their Champions League final to the people of Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of the country in February.
The Reds face Real Madrid, in a rematch of their 2018 encounter in Kiev which they lost 3-1, at the Stade de France after the showpiece was moved from St Petersburg following Vladimir Putin’s decision to start a war against their neighbours.
Klopp, after much consideration of his answer, felt the decision to play the match in Paris sent an important message.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 27, 2022
“I am happy that the game is here for thousands of reasons,” he said in his pre-match press conference.
“It’s a strange one. How to kill the mood (with the question). The war is still going on and we have to think about that.
“The game still happens and the fact we are not in St Petersburg is exactly the right message that Russia should get: Life goes on even when you try to destroy it.
“We play this final for all the people in Ukraine. I am sure some people in Ukraine can still watch it and we do it for you, 100 per cent.”
Liverpool and Real have a shared history in this competition which goes back much further than four years ago, with the Reds winning a third European Cup in five years against the LaLiga side in 1981 in Paris.
But even with a sixth title under their belt after the 2019 win over Tottenham Madrid comfortably outstrip Klopp’s side with a record 13 wins in the competition.
That does not mean the Liverpool boss does not expect his side to compete and compete well.
“If you look at the history of the club, the experience of the other team if you look at the way Real Madrid celebrated comebacks (this season) then I would say from my point of view that Real Madrid is the favourite,” he added.
“But actually I want want us to be on the same level, these kinds of things. Thinking we are at the same level. I want us to completely be ourselves in this game.
“If we are on the top of our game we are difficult to play, really difficult to play, and that is my only concern at the moment: that we be ourselves and be really confident as well.
“But of course the confidence level of the Madrid players is incredibly high.
“It would mean a lot to win. The world we are living in means we get judged by the final result but if you are a football person then you know what my boys did this season so far is absolutely exceptional.
“But of course in the end it is all measured by the colour of the medal you get after a game.
“We are ready for that. History will tell us what people say about us. I am really happy with what we did so far.”