LIVERPOOL: “We’ve won it five times,” Liverpool supporters sing to celebrate their five European Cup final victories, but Jurgen Klopp, manager of the English giants, is attempting to end a very different run of results in Saturday’s Champions League final.
Klopp has lost his last five finals, three with Borussia Dortmund before moving to Anfield in 2015, and two in his debut season with the Reds.
“They don’t hang silver medals at Melwood (Liverpool’s training ground),” Klopp warned amid the euphoria of making it to Kiev this weekend after an enthralling 7-6 aggregate semi-final win over Roma.
“There’s still a job to do but that’s how it is. Going to a final is really nice but winning is even nicer.”
Those are words of a man who has been there and suffered before. Each of his five final defeats had their own context but hurt all the same.
“If something is really important for you, you have to be ready for suffering. That is how life is,” Klopp said this week.
“If you want guarantees they don’t qualify for a final, stay at home or go on holiday.”
Klopp’s unfortunate run began in another champion League final, five years ago at Wembley, as Dortmund lost out to bitter German rivals Bayern Munich 2-1 courtesy of Arjen Robben’s last-minute winner.
That run to the final proved to be the beginning of the end for Klopp’s great Dortmund side that had won two Bundesliga titles and thrashed Bayern 5-2 in the 2012 German Cup final – the only final success of his career.
A year on from Wembley, they lost to Bayern once more in the German Cup final 2-0 after extra-time in a highly contentious game as Mats Hummels — just one of many of Klopp’s Dortmund stars who would move to Bayern — had a goal wrongly not given before the 90 minutes were up when the ball had crossed the line in the days before goal-line technology.