High risk, high reward. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is under no illusions that his Liverpool side’s approach to football, fast-paced and pressed high up the pitch and always looking to win the ball back aggressively, is the safe approach.
He knows there’s a risk. Of being caught out; of leaving gaps; of leaving the defence outnumbered. The reward, though, is worth it. Or at least he believes that it is, and a Champions League final appearance on Saturday is a pretty big reward.
“We have to be a little bit more lively than other teams,” Klopp said, speaking to the press from Anfield as the Reds prepare for their final game of the 2017-18 season. “We have a lack of experience in comparison with the really big teams.
“For example, Real Madrid are a world class team—we are a top-class team. There’s still a difference. If you are not on the same level, you have to invest more, you have to do more, and doing more can lead to more mistakes as well.”
Klopp’s teams have always tried to do more, back to his days at Mainz and then at Borussia Dortmund. And one imagines even if he eventually builds Liverpool up to match, player for player, the likes of Madrid, he’ll still want a side that does more.
In the present, though, this Liverpool side has proven that when they do more than the opposition, they can beat anyone in Europe—and only once in the Champions League, in the second leg against Roma, have mistakes been a problem.
And limiting those mistakes has been the key difference for this Liverpool side. It’s why they’re in a final now with a chance to prove once again that they can win by doing more against an opponent who most consider favourites.
“We look more mature,” Klopp added. “I really love the season because for us it is a big step. Last year we were fourth, had a final against Middlesbrough—nobody wanted it but we had it and won it and it was cool until we had to play against Hoffenheim.
“This year we had [Champions League] football and obviously our longest journey so far and we are still qualified for next season, so for us it’s a big step and I really like that. It’s a good moment for Liverpool and now we have to round it up.”