The 2018 Champions League final was painful for Liverpool, and with the squad largely unchanged this year bar a few key additions, the players will look to use the disappointment as extra motivation this year.
At least that’s what Gini Wijnaldum says the approach is ahead of Saturday’s match against Tottenham from Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano, as the two Premier League sides face off in the biggest club football game of the year.
“I think last year we were all disappointed about how the final ended, but that’s football,” the Dutch midfielder told ESPN FC ahead of the match. “We took it as a lesson and we will try and make a better end this year.
“You don’t want to think about the negative stuff. To reach the final is already a good thing, but the way it ended up [last year] was really hard for us, so that’s why I try to look forward and try to do it even better.”
Still, being disappointed and using that to push themselves to do even better this time around doesn’t mean Wijnaldum thinks Liverpool did anything especially wrong last year; anything that now needs to be made up for.
Liverpool, he says, “gave everything” to get to Kyiv last season and to try to beat Madrid, and certainly he’s right that it wasn’t a case of Liverpool having played badly and throwing away their chance last season.
The Reds played well last year and came up just short—with a key outfield injury and a concussion working against them. This year, they will push themselves to play even better—because this year, they are better.
“I think it will be a different game than against Real Madrid,” Wijnaldum added. “They were experienced in the final and you could see also in the way they played against us that they were experienced in the final.
“But every game is a new game and it’s going to be a tough one. Hopefully not, so we can win it easy, but I don’t think that will happen because Tottenham is a good side, they have good players, and as a team they are quite good.
“This is one game, one final, and anything can happen. They have a really good team like us, so it’s going to be difficult to win the game.”