Liverpool coach Klopp wins Champions League on 3rd try
MADRID (AP) — Juergen Klopp finally has another trophy.
After losing his last six cup finals, a streak the charismatic manager put down to bad luck, luck was on his side on Saturday as he led Liverpool to Champions League glory.
Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in an ordinary final, but Klopp could shrug off those who doubted he could deliver. Even though he’d previously said he was not worried about his poor record in finals.
Klopp won the Champions League at his third attempt after back-to-back finals, and delivered Liverpool its sixth European Cup, and first trophy on his watch.
“Usually I sit here and have to explain how you can lose this game. Now, I can enjoy it,” Klopp said. “For us it is really important that now people don’t ask about winning or not winning things.
“I’m so happy for the players and my family. There will be a moment when I’m completely overwhelmed for myself, too. I feel mostly relief, relief for my family. The last six times we flew on holiday with only a silver medal it didn’t feel too cool.”
His very first trophy was in 2012, the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund, and he has appeared in finals almost annually since then. But he missed out on two more German Cups, an English League Cup, a Europa League, and two Champions Leagues.
But he’s finally claimed the most coveted prize in European club soccer.
“It is the best night of our professional lives,” he said. “It took a while, it is important for our development and improvement. Now we can carry on.
“The owners never put pressure on us. Normally 20 minutes after the game I am half drunk, but now I have only had water!”
The 51-year-old Klopp has excelled at inspiring a furious, all-out-attacking mentality at Liverpool that he brought with him from Dortmund. But this final was far from the “heavy metal” pressuring style Klopp likes.
Even so, Klopp, dressed in a dark tracksuit and baseball cap, still shouted and punched his fist in the air to make sure his players didn’t have a last-second slip, and finished the job.
Before the second goal by Divock Origi that decided the result, he spent most of the match pacing his manager’s box, sometimes shaking his head and crossing his arms as if disappointed his players had not gone for the kill after Mohamed Salah’s second-minute penalty.
At fulltime, he was calm. He was a champion again.