Sometimes, it can feel as though too much is made of the idea of experience in football. Experience in the title races, experience in big finals. Given the turnover at most big sides, just how to tally it up and what impact it really makes is hard to judge.
Often, though, it does seem to at least play a part, and certainly there’s a case to be made that this Liverpool side’s experiences last year have helped them this season so far. And if that’s true, it’s fair to think that that might give them an edge on Saturday.
“We are probably more experienced, but it’s about dealing with the situation and using the things that brought you to the final,” manager Jürgen Klopp noted at his pre-final press conference. “We are all excited about having this chance again.”
Multiple times in this Champions League campaign, Liverpool have nearly lost that chance. In the group stages, in a first leg against Bayern they didn’t take advantage of their good play, in the tie against Barcelona. Every time, though, they’ve pulled through.
“I don’t like to compare my teams,” Klopp added. “I love them all. They all give everything. But I have never been to a final with a better team than this. We wanted it so much but it looked like it slipped through our fingers in the group stage.
“Then we made it in the most mature way possible against an Italian side. Since then, all our games are really impressive, even in Barcelona performance-wise if not result. These boys have given a lot and shown a lot for a chance to be here.”