Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp revealed that he used the English football club’s 2005 Champions League triumph in Istanbul over AC Milan as motivation for the current team to sensationally overhaul Borussia Dortmund and reach the Europa League semi-finals.
The Reds on Thursday recovered from 0-1 and 1-3 deficits to overcome the Bundesliga side 5-4 on aggregate in their quarter-final tie, with Dejan Lovren heading home a stoppage-time winner.
Liverpool trailed Milan by three goals at half-time in Istanbul before staging an incredible fightback to claim their fifth European Cup.
“The players did it, it was not the team of Istanbul. It’s easy to say it. I’m a football fan so I saw the game in 2005 and to be honest at half-time I did not think, ‘Oh it looks like Liverpool will strike back,” Klopp was quoted as saying by club’s official website.
“I only told them that it’s possible, but it’s much more difficult to do it than say it. They showed that they have potential, real potential, and I’m completely happy. Forget the story about ‘these could be heroes’ — give us the time to play the semi-final against probably a really strong team. They are all pretty strong so we don’t need to compare this. This, tonight, was brilliant in itself.”
Klopp insisted his Liverpool team is only just beginning its journey.
“I know this is a place for big football moments, (but) we didn’t start this story, there were other people. But we know about our responsibility to try to write a few nice stories in football and tonight it was a really nice story.”
“I can’t believe when some people say this is the only chance for us to go through to the Champions League — it’s not one second we thought about the Champions League through the Europa League because we have to do all these steps. We try to really take everything we can get out of this season and I see that we always tried,” the former Dortmund coach said.
He further added, “We played a brilliant game. And now, 100 percent we will get a real strong opponent in the semi-final, so we will have to be there again — everybody, as fit as possible, to try it again.
“For tonight, it was brilliant, outstanding, wonderful, emotional… Everything. I will not forget it because it is special, but now we have to carry on and try to do things like this more often.”