Jurgen Klopp will have Liverpool playing “like 11 animals” to win the Champions League on Saturday night, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has declared.
Kroos was a key member of Bayern Munich’s midfield before his move to Real in 2013, and faced Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side many times.
“When we played against his team, it was difficult,” he recalled yesterday. “At Bayern Munich, we always had a lot of problems against Dortmund. We’re expecting an aggressive Liverpool who have a really quick forward line, but we can stop them. It will be tough.
“That is what I expect on Saturday. His teams are always aggressive, they press you a lot — for 90 minutes. They are highly motivated. I expect a very tough game.
“They will be 11 animals, all up for it.
“We might be better on the ball but they’re going to put us under pressure for 90 minutes and will be at 100% or even more.”
Real boss Zinedine Zidane has stressed he would not swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
Ronaldo, 33, and fellow forward Salah, 25, have each scored 44 goals in all competitions for their clubs this season ahead of Saturday’s decider in Kiev.
Zidane said yesterday when asked if he would swap Ronaldo for Salah, a player with whom Real have been linked: “No, I have Cristiano and I talk about my players.”
While five-time winners Liverpool are in their first European Cup final since 2007, defending champions Real have lifted the trophy three times in the last four seasons, and 12 times in total.
Zidane, who has overseen the triumphs of 2016 and 2017, was keen to emphasise that Real will have “the same desire as always”.
When asked if he thought Liverpool were more hungry, Zidane said: “I can’t tell you about the opponent. I don’t know what they are.
“What I can say is that we will have the same desire as always.
“This club is what it is: The same enthusiasm, dedication, and desire as always.
“And nobody can take that away or tell us that we are less hungry than others. No-one.”
Zidane was asked if the season would be a failure if Real lose on Saturday.
And the 45-year-old, whose entire squad trained yesterday, said: “It will not be a waste.
“Real Madrid always look to win, but you can’t always count on it. The important thing for us is show our drive and ensure we don’t slip up. You need setbacks in life if you want to improve.”
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane has warned Real he is hungry for goals in the final.
The Liverpool forward has struck 19 times this season and wants to add to that haul on Saturday night.
The Senegal international said: “I think more goals are coming. As a striker you’d love to score every single game to help your team.
“Now we have one more important game, so why not try to do our best, score for the team and win the trophy?”
Mane, 26, has actually been the junior partner in a formidable forward trio this season.
Salah has led the way with an outstanding 44 goals while Roberto Firmino has weighed in with 27, in all competitions.
“Like I have always said, I have always been enjoying playing alongside these great players,” Mane said.
“They make everything easier for me. I am a lucky boy.
“But we always talk about the front three. Don’t forget it starts from the guys behind. They make it easier.
“The power of Liverpool Football Club is the collective. We always do everything together, this is our power.”
Liverpool and Roma have been charged by Uefa following crowd disturbances at the Champions League semi-final first leg between the teams at Anfield.
Liverpool have also been charged over the throwing of objects and setting off of fireworks. The case will be dealt with by the Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on May 31.
Uefa said both clubs have been charged under Article 16 (2) of the governing body’s disciplinary regulations. The crowd disturbances charge covers no specific incident.
Liverpool fan Sean Cox remains in a critical condition after being attacked before the Champions League first leg tie on April 24. Cox, a 53-year-old businessman from Dunboyne in Co Meath, suffered serious head injuries in an incident outside Anfield and is being treated at the Walton Neurological Centre.
Two Italian men have been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged in connection with the incident.
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