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Champions revenge not on Klopp’s mind

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp will not be thinking about his side’s 2018 final defeat to Real Madrid when he comes up against the record 13-times winners again in Saturday’s Champions League showpiece.

Liverpool lost 3-1 to Madrid in Kiev in 2018 with German goalkeeper Loris Karius suffering a nightmare game.

But Klopp’s side has achieved so much since then, including the 2019 Champions League title and a first English championship in 30 years in 2020.

“There’s the feeling that we want to put things right, definitely, but it cannot be the main thought,” German Klopp told UEFA’s website on Wednesday when asked about the effect of 2018 on the Paris final.

“If we go there (saying) like, “Revenge! Payback!” all these kinds of things, it doesn’t work like that. That’s not us. We came here to the final in a different way. So, we have to play our way and that’s what we have to try (to do).”

Klopp also hailed opposite number Carlo Ancelotti as “an incredibly nice fellow” and hopes people will think that most of him when he is gone.

“I once got asked what I want to have on my gravestone. Honestly, it was like, ‘He was a nice fella.’ That would absolutely be enough,” the German said.

“That’s actually my only real concern: that I don’t have to knock other people down to be successful. It’s never happened so far, so I won’t start it now.”

Ancellotti, meanwhile, is the only coach to win titles in the top five European soccer leagues, and is a victory away from a record-fourth Champions League trophy.

Still, not even he is immune to pressure, especially ahead of a Champions League final.

“For me, the toughest moment is three or four hours before the match. You are not feeling well, physically,” said Ancellotti.

“I’m sweating a lot, have an accelerated heart rate, negative thoughts creep in. But fortunately, all that stops once the game starts. There’s no medication, no pills for that, you just have to hang on.”

Few could tell he suffers like that, though, looking at the always-calm demeanour of the 62-year-old Italian coach who is enjoying one of his best-ever seasons.

Ancelotti has put Madrid on track by keeping the defence solid and making the attack click with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior. He managed the squad well to reach the final stages of the season in good form.

The team cruised in the Spanish league, winning the trophy with several games to go, and also won the Spanish Super Cup.

The run to the Champions League final was special, with gritty comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout rounds.

“It would be a huge achievement for me, but I know anything can happen in a final,” Ancelotti said. “I’m not obsessed with individual honours.”

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