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Rafa Benítez: Klopp’s Squad Is “Better” Than 2005

The former Liverpool boss compares his Champions League winning 2005 side to the side preparing for the final.

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It’s impossible, as the hours and days slowly tick by and we get closer to Liverpool’s first Champions League final in over a decade, not to be reminded of the Miracle of Istanbul. The Mighty Reds, led by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, clawed their way back from three goals down to force a dominate AC Milan to extra time and penalties before lifting their fifth Champions League Cup.

Part of what makes that tale so magical is just how, well, underwhelming Benítez’s team was, Gerrard and Xabi Alonso aside. It made the underdog story even more amazing.

Klopp, on the other hand, has a comparatively young side, with players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson getting their first real taste of this kind of pressure. But they also have a legitimately world class attack, capable of tearing apart any defense in the world.

Rafa Benítez himself weighed in on this comparison as the Reds prepare to do battle with Real Madrid in Kyiv.

“I think this one is better,” he admitted. “We achieved what we achieved. They talk about the miracle of Istanbul but this team is better. So, if we talk about the money spent my budget was £20 millions. The value of this team is so much higher and they have had so many more years when they have been spending a lot of money.”

“They have a good balance. Everyone was talking about their defence but they spent some money on defenders. They are strong in the middle and they have three players up front who can score goals. To be fair, Mo Salah has done really well but all Liverpool’s forward line, Mané and Firmino can score goals against any team.”

The anticipation mounts with every day that passes, and it seems that everyone has an opinion about how this game will pan out. Only time will tell, but until then, hold onto your your butts as we count down to the big day.

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