Liverpool players can become legends with Champions League win – Wijnaldum

All eyes are on Kiev and the Reds’ clash with Real Madrid as Klopp’s side first prepare for a well-earned break

Gini Wijnaldum says Liverpool’s players can make themselves “legends” with a Champions League win over Real Madrid.

But first, the Dutchman is looking forward to a well-earned break after a long-hard season.

The Reds signed off their Premier League campaign in style with a 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, a result which secured their top-four finish.

Now, all thoughts turn to Kiev and the prospect of the club’s sixth European Cup triumph. Real, champions in each of the past two seasons and three of the last four, stand in their way.

A daunting task, for sure, but Wijnaldum says Jurgen Klopp’s side will be up for the challenge on May 26.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” the midfielder said. “Not only me, but a lot of the players.

“Two years ago Liverpool had the Europa League final but the Champions League final is the highest you can play for a club. So everyone will look forward to it. For a lot of us it will be the first time in the final, so I’m really excited to play.”

Asked about the idea of writing a new chapter in the club’s illustrious history, Wijnaldum said: “That’s what makes it more exciting. You can put yourself there with legends that won the Champions League.

“That’s what everyone wants. That is what makes it really exciting for us because we have the opportunity now to win a big trophy with a massive club, who have been waiting for a lot of years for a trophy. We are lucky that we can give them one if we win.”

Liverpool’s players have been given 48 hours off following the win over Brighton, and on Wednesday will fly to Marbella for a warm-weather training and team bonding camp – something Wijnaldum is looking forward to.

“Of course!” he said. “Because it was a really intense season.

“As a player you want a little bit of rest, so we will get the rest we need. We will also train hard to stay in shape and to prepare ourselves for Real Madrid.”

Mo Salah helped Liverpool see off Brighton

Minds, though, will keep returning to Kiev, surely?

“To be fair it’s difficult to not think about it because everyone is talking about the final!” Wijnaldum admits. “Even before this game, nobody is talking about this game. When you see people, they were wishing me luck for the final, they didn’t wish me luck for Brighton!

“Everyone reminds you that you’re going to play a final. Even if you don’t want to think about it, people remind you that you’re going to play a final so you will think about it, it’s inevitable.”

Liverpool will head into the final as underdogs, despite their performances in seeing off Porto, Manchester City and Roma en route, against a Real side who beat Atletico Madrid in 2016 and Juventus last year.

Still, Wijnaldum is in no mood to play down his side’s chances.

“Of course [we believe],” he said. “Because we got results in difficult games in the Champions League and in the Premier League. That gives us a lot of confidence.

“[Real have] good players, good team. They are really professional, this is their third final in three years so that says a lot about that team. They are used to playing in games like this. It’s going to be difficult but I think that’s something we can deal with.

Gini Wijnaldum on Liverpool's Champions League final

“The only thing we have to do is play our own game and not be nervous. I think then we will have a chance to win the game.”

James Milner is expected to travel with the squad to Spain this week despite missing Sunday’s game with a muscle injury. Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns as things stand, and will assess the fitness of Emre Can, who was due to return to Merseyside on Monday. The German is nursing a back injury, and has only an outside chance of being involved against Real Madrid.


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