Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has ‘surprised’ and even ‘impressed’ himself during the Reds incredible run to the Champions League final this season.
The Reds – who entered the competition as outsiders – have seen off Porto, Manchester City and Roma in the knockout stages on the road to Kiev and a showdown with back-to-back champions Real Madrid on May 26.
On the way Klopp’s Liverpool have also set new records for goals scored in the competition, while no player has registered more assists in a Champions League campaign than midfield veteran James Milner.
Speaking to UEFA (via the official Liverpool club website), Klopp called the journey to Kiev “a crazy ride” and revealed that he was first surprised by his own side during the round of 16 demolition of Portuguese champions Porto.
“Honestly, I have to say we were a little bit surprised when we won 5-0 against FC Porto, because they’re a top team,” he said. “It was impressive. I was impressed myself, to be honest.”
“Then we faced Manchester City, a rival we didn’t want to play against, not only because they are a very strong side, but also because 30 minutes into the game you don’t have the feeling you’re playing in the Champions League anymore. But, of course, it was football of the highest quality.
“We won in a way that seems pretty incredible and crazy somehow. We won 3-0 at home against City. And we’ve had the feeling throughout the [run] that we could have scored at least two goals per game.
“The second leg against City was a very difficult game, of course. And we conceded a goal right at the beginning of the game. But we showed our strength and were able to even win that game, too. That’s also extraordinary.”
Liverpool once again plundered the goals in the semi-final clash with Roma, eventually winning the tie 7-6 on aggregate as they sealed a place in the final despite defeat at the Stadio Olimpico. Klopp insisted that his side’s attacking prowess has proved that they have ‘earned’ their place amongst Europe’s elite.
He continued: “And then in Rome… the two underdogs playing each other in the semi-finals. We managed to lead 5-0 at home.
“The number of goals we scored is simply crazy. We’ve scored seven goals twice and five goals twice, too. That’s really [crazy], because we aren’t Barcelona, we aren’t Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
“We aren’t anyone else. We are Liverpool, on the way to becoming a really good team. And performing at such a high level is very cool. To summarise, it’s been a crazy ride. But, after all, we’ve earned our place here.”
Klopp now faces his second shot at securing a Champions League winners medal after falling just short in 2013, when his Borussia Dortmund side lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich in the final at Wembley.