Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident he has fulfilled his promise to make doubters believers ahead of tonight’s Europa League final against Sevilla.
In his first press conference back in October the German made the pledge after insisting he saw qualities in the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers where others saw none and would ensure people changed their opinion.
And on the eve of the club’s first European final for nine years, Klopp believes he has delivered.
“I came here because I was really convinced about the qualities of these players and this squad, despite the doubts people had,” he said.
“To see how they have reached this final gives me a really good feeling.
“When I came here there was a big amount of doubt about these players and now I am really happy they can show how strong they are and it is a big opportunity to make the final step this season and achieve something.
“I don’t feel the pressure. I cannot change.
“I feel opportunity, I feel the pressure of the game and developing players.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt doubt around me.”
Liverpool are favourites to win but Klopp’s record in finals nothing to write home about.
The German has lost his last four but intends for that to change in Switzerland. “I don’t think to be honest I deserve some luck,” he added.
“There are only two possible things in a final, you win or lose. The only thing is the performance.
“You would have seen that all the teams I was involved with have done really well.
“I am not frustrated by my final record, it could be a little bit better, I was for sure not happy after finals when I didn’t win, but when it’s over, it’s over.
“And I know we performed to the right level and they were very close games.
“At home I have a little too many silver medals, that’s true, but it’s better than having no medals.
“For me, when you try hard, and keep trying, then you get there eventually.”
Klopp is confident his players, who lost February’s Capital One Cup final to Manchester City on penalties, can deal with the expectation in a 35,000-capacity stadium which is likely to house around 20,000 Liverpool fans.
“We had pressure, so how could the pressure be bigger tomorrow?” he said.
“The mental side is a big influence obviously there is no doubt about it but all we have done since we have been together we have done to be perfectly prepared for a game like this tomorrow.
“We had a lot of difficult moments but we solved them and we will use that experience.”
Klopp will make a late decision on the fitness of striker Divock Origi, who returned to training in the last couple of days after a month out with ankle ligament damage.
“We will see after training with Divock, we will see how he feels and then we will make a decision,” the Reds boss said.
For his part, Sevilla coach Unai Emery has urged his players to create history by winning the Europa League for a third successive time.
No club in the history of European competition has achieved that particular treble but despite back-to-back victories they go into tonight’s game as underdogs. That small fact matters little to Emery.
“Every time football gives you an opportunity you have to seize it and to write history you have to live in the present,” he said. “We want to relive it and experience it again. We want to grow, be demanding and giving everything all the time.
“This is an opportunity to play in a third final and win it to change history and to have our names recorded forever and ever is very motivating.
“We are winners, we are the champions and we have the possibility to defend our title.
“Sevilla does not fail when we are really focused.”
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