Pep Lijnders reveals extraordinary Jürgen Klopp decision before Liverpool Champions League final

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders speaks during The Reds Roundtable with Jurgen Klopp
Pep Lijnders took charge of Liverpool's planning for the 2019 Champions League final -Credit:Liverpool FC

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp made an extraordinary decision ahead of the 2019 Champions League final against Tottenham, assistant coach Pep Lijnders has revealed. Liverpool squared off against Spurs in the second all-English final at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, and Klopp needed to avert history.

Klopp's record in finals up to that point hadn't been good. From winning the DFB-Pokal Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 2012 to the 2019 Champions League final, Klopp had lost six consecutive finals, including the 2013 Champions League final against Bayern Munich at Wembley, the 2016 Europa League final with Liverpool against Sevilla and the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid.

It was a record Klopp wanted to reverse, and so in the lead-up to the final in Spain, Lijnders recently revealed what the German told him weeks before the showpiece event in Madrid.

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"I felt pressure before the final," Lijnders revealed in 'The Reds Roundtable'. "And the gaffer reminded me that he lost a lot before. So it was the seven and I remember him saying three weeks before 'Pep I want nothing to do with the planning of this final, I lost the last six, up to you' [with the planning]. Ok, cool.

"I'm really happy that I could work the last 10 years in this club because for me this is the best club in the world and I am really happy to be with the academy director for such a long time, with the manager who changed this club like just a few other managers did in the past so I am really grateful for that."

A strike from Divock Origi and a Mohamed Salah penalty sealed the 2-0 win against Tottenham in the Spanish capital, ensuring Liverpool's sixth European Cup/Champions League title. Since then, Klopp has gone on to win the Premier League, which came a year later, and completely reversed his final losing streak, winning six from his last seven, including the Carabao Cup this season.

Klopp's only defeat in the last seven finals came against Real Madrid — again — in the 2022 Champions League final in Paris.

Lijnders is set to leave Liverpool at the end of this season along with Klopp after a decade at the club, barring a brief break when he went to coach Dutch side NEC for six months in 2018. says: For Klopp to entrust Lijnders with planning Liverpool's match against Tottenham in a Champions League final is a tremendous show of faith on his part and, in the end, it proved the correct call as Liverpool brought the trophy back to Anfield. Where Ljinders goes after Liverpool will be interesting.