Roberto Firmino is winning his race to be fit for Liverpool’s Champions League Final clash against Tottenham in June.
The Brazilian missed the Reds’ last two games with a thigh injury that he exacerbated in a 3-0 defeat against Barcelona in April.
Jürgen Klopp will be desperate to get the forward fit for the final in Madrid and took Firmino along to a warm-weather training camp in Marbella this week. And it appears Firmino is on course to feature against Spurs as the forward was seen stepping up his recovery.
Firmino uploaded a number of videos onto his Instagram page that showed him being put through his paces with fitness coaches David Ridings and Sven Kampmann.
The Reds hope that Naby Keita can recover from a hamstring injury in time but are less hopeful over the midfielder. Andrew Robertson is expected to be fit.
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool Football Club would like to say 'Happy Vesak' to all our Buddhist supporters celebrating today.
Jürgen Klopp will instruct his players to showcase 'LFC football' when the Reds meet Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final.
A second successive appearance in the premier fixture of the European club game awaits Klopp’s men at Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid on June 1.
Their place in the showpiece occasion was secured with one of the greatest performances Liverpool have ever produced in the competition at Anfield, a 4-0 dismantling of FC Barcelona to overturn a three-goal deficit in the semi-finals.
That achievement was emblematic of Klopp’s Reds project: energy, commitment and talent combining to become a force the opposition cannot stop.
The manager sees reason to change that approach for the final and believes facing a fellow Premier League side has no bearing on how to prepare for the contest.
“We know each other pretty well, and that’s it,” Klopp told UEFA when asked if taking on a familiar foe in Tottenham differs to meeting Real Madrid a year ago.
“But nothing else apart from that. It’s a final and you have an opponent and you have to prepare for it, look at their strengths, look at their weaknesses, that’s what you have to do. So that makes it no different [from any other final].
“There are no easy games. In the Champions League there are no easy games, so why should the final be easy? Certainly not. So far we’ve always used our experience in these moments, during every moment in our season.
“That’s what we have to do. We have to play the football we stand for. We have to play LFC football. That’s the plan, and then it will still be difficult, but it was difficult in all the other games as well.
“We know that already, so why should we think too much about it? If we are really at our absolute top level then we are a difficult team to play against, but we know Tottenham are as well.”
The date in Madrid marks a third Champions League final of Klopp’s managerial career, the German having also taken Borussia Dortmund to the 2013 edition and a narrow defeat by Bayern Munich.
Anfield’s power has, again, underpinned Liverpool’s European journey this season and influenced victories over Paris Saint-Germain, Red Star Belgrade, Napoli and FC Porto – as well as the Barcelona comeback – this term.
Improvements away from home have been vital too, however, and the boss cites the 3-1 win at Bayern in the last 16 as a benchmark display in the team’s development.
“In Germany we have a saying: ‘All the best things come in threes’,” said Klopp.
“At Mainz, I missed promotion twice and we got promoted in the third season. We hope that it will repeat itself for the Champions League. I think it’s quite cool, to be honest.
“It’s a fourth European final for me [including the 2016 Europa League], that’s cool. I have had good teams and the players have gone beyond their limits in order to qualify. Throughout the years, we’ve knocked out strong sides like Borussia Dortmund thanks to Anfield.
“Last season in the Champions League we knocked out a strong Manchester City thanks to Anfield. This year we knocked out Barcelona thanks to Anfield, and of course we beat Bayern. We know that we’ve managed to achieve all that together.
“Anfield is a crucial factor for us in Europe, but the boys have done a great job, we’ve played great football. The away game at Bayern Munich was the best away game my team have played at the European level. It is great to see that such a development is possible and that we can become even more dominant.
“So far, it’s been a great campaign for us.”
Klopp has overseen a constantly upward trajectory since taking charge of the Reds in October 2015.
Progression to the League Cup and Europa League finals that first season was followed by a top-four Premier League finish the next campaign, and a journey to the Champions League final last term.
This season, a return to Europe’s elite fixture was married with an incredible pursuit of the domestic title that ended with Liverpool a point shy of Manchester City with 97.
Klopp feels his philosophy was embraced by the players within a week of his appointment but the process since has been carefully and gradually implemented.
And it hasn’t finished, regardless of what happens in Madrid.
“I think that the players knew after five days what my ideas were. It was clear that the players knew me and knew Dortmund,” he reflected.
“This is why it was clear how we wanted to play, but we didn’t want to push everything that way right from the start, we wanted to utilise the qualities of the players and give them more confidence so they would have that belief that they are the right players for Liverpool.
“But of course you need time until you can see that on the pitch. I don’t know how much time it took, but it certainly took some time. In the first year we reached the Europa League final and the League Cup final, we lost them both, but it was a very strenuous season.
“We qualified for the Champions League for the second season, in our third year we reached the final of the Champions League, and in the fourth season here we are again in the Champions League final.
“The development of the players who were there helped us a lot; of course, the new signings helped us a lot as well. Alisson [Becker] and Virgil [van Dijk], for example, have had the biggest impact because they have played in almost all the games.
“But players such as Fabinho and [Xherdan] Shaqiri are very important parts of the team, too. But then again, they are not at the top of their game, but they’ve made important steps in their development. The journey is not over, not for anyone.
“This is why we feel like we are only at the start, and that there is still a lot to come.”
Liverpool will contest the 2019 Community Shield against Manchester City.
City’s success in both Saturday’s FA Cup final and the Premier League means the Reds, as runners-up in the top flight, are set to feature in the annual curtain-raiser at the beginning of the next campaign.
It will represent the club’s first participation in the one-off fixture since 2006, when Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Full fixture and ticket details will be announced on Liverpoolfc.com in due course.
Rhian Brewster bagged the only goal as Liverpool U23s clinched a 1-0 win in a friendly with their Club Brugge counterparts on Friday afternoon.
The 19-year-old converted a second-half penalty, won by left-back Tony Gallacher, to earn Neil Critchley’s side a hard-fought result in Belgium.
“It was nice to see Rhian score,” Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It was a good standard game, it was a close game. As the scoreline suggests, there was nothing in the game between the two teams and it was decided by Rhian’s penalty. It was a good end-of-season game for us.”
After a short break, the U23s will return to training and then – after they have climbed Snowdon to help raise money for the Stephen Darby Foundation – participate in the Terborg Tournament in the Netherlands at the end of the month.
“We’re not finished yet,” added Critchley. “We have a few days off now and then we’ll look forward to preparing for a good tournament at the end of this month.”
Liverpool U23s: Atherton, N. Williams, Johnston, Boyes, Gallacher (Larouci, 70), Dixon-Bonner (Duncan, 75), Lewis, Christie-Davies, Jones, Brewster, Camacho.
Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move for Bayern Munich transfer target and RB Leipzig star Timo Werner. And the Reds have a major advantage when it comes to any potential transfer.
Liverpool and Bayern have both been tipped to lure Werner away from RB Leipzig with the transfer window now open.
The Germany international is primed to leave the Bundesliga outfit this summer having spent the last three years at the Red Bull Arena.
It has been claimed by transfer guru Ian McGarry that Liverpool have intensified their efforts to sign the striker in recent times, saying: “We mentioned a few weeks ago on the podcast that they have an interest in Timo Werner at RB Leipzig.
“And that interest has increased I’m led to believe in the last two weeks.”
Bayern, when it comes to the transfer market, are no small fish. Niko Kovac’s side remain a popular club to join.
But Liverpool have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to any potential battle: regular football.
Bayern are primed to overhaul their squad this summer.
They have already signed Lucas Hernandez on a pre-contract agreement and are chasing Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Werner is also in their sights, with Bayern always on the lookout for the biggest and best players in German football.
However, he would not be guaranteed to start. Far from it.
Manager Kovac likes to play with a single striker and Robert Lewandowski, despite his advancing years, remains undroppable.
The Poland international was supposedly the subject of a shock enquiry from Manchester United and PSG recently.
Bayern are struggling to tie their talisman down to a new contract.
But they are eager to keep Lewandowski and the veteran would NOT accept a substitutes role at the club.
As a result, that gives Liverpool the edge.
Roberto Firmino has led the line for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season and fared well, striking up a terrific understanding with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But Klopp supposedly feels a new centre-forward is needed if they are to pip Manchester City to the Premier League title next year.
While Firmino is an energetic presence, he is not as ruthless as Werner in front of goal.
The Brazil international could yet be a regular but playing behind the German rather than in his place.
Liverpool can offer Werner regular football and Bayern, simply, can not.
Whether that proves decisive in any transfer chase, however, is something only time will tell.
Source: Daily Express
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Joe Gomez's return to fitness affords Jürgen Klopp a luxury Sami Hyypia considers 'a great thing' for any manager.
A four-month lay-off due to a fractured leg sustained in early December halted a season that began so impressively for Gomez, though the defender has played his part in the latter stages of the campaign having made his comeback in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg win at FC Porto.
Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were Virgil van Dijk’s primary partners at the heart of Liverpool’s rearguard during Gomez’s absence - and legendary former centre-back Hyypia believes having an array of high-class options represents a huge positive for Klopp.
“It’s a very good thing if you have four to choose from for every game - and who knows, maybe he will play a game with three centre-backs at some point. That is an option too,” Hyypia informed Liverpoolfc.com.
“But it’s a great thing and competition for places is always a healthy situation, then no-one can really take it easy. I think Lovren and Matip have also done well like Gomez this season, so whoever has played there, they have done their job.
“Also, remember against Bayern Munich at home Virgil wasn’t there and I think many people were worried about how it would go, but it went well and we got a clean sheet. That shows that the others are doing their task too.”
Prior to 2018-19, the majority of Gomez’s Anfield career had been spent at full-back.
The England international’s versatility, however, means he has proven adept in a central berth, too, and Hyypia expects a player still aged just 21 to develop further over the coming years.
“For sure. Earlier they said that the prime age for a footballer is 27 or 28, but I think it might be a little bit younger now,” the Finn said.
“It’s a pity that he has had those injuries that kept him out, because all the young players, when they play games they improve the most and when you have an injury setback that keeps you out of training then it affects you a little bit.
“It slows your development down a little bit but hopefully now this injury was his last.
“I think he has all the qualities to be a very good centre-back.
“He’s the type of player that you could put him in any position in the defence and he will do a job for you because he has the quality to be a very, very good centre-back when he gets a little bit more experience.
“Virgil is still young as well, but he can be a great role model for Joe to look at what he does on the field and how he does it.
“I don’t know Joe personally that well so I can’t say a lot about his mentality, but what I’ve seen in the games, I think he can be the number one English centre-back one day - if he’s not already.”
Hyypia thinks a combination of traditional and modern defensive skills are Gomez’s most impressive qualities, meanwhile.
“I think he’s comfortable on the ball. Nowadays, many defenders are maybe better footballers than they are defenders but in both ways he is very good,” he continued.
“He is quick and strong - that’s not bad to have as a centre-back - and he’s quite big as well, he’s a good size. He’s so quick that he can save many situations with his speed, and I think those are maybe his best attributes.”
Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has confirmed that Hakim Ziyech will leave the club this summer - it's just a matter of where.
Ziyech, the left-footed Moroccan international, played a starring role in the Dutch club's run to the Champions League semi-finals.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable campaign in Amsterdam, scoring 21 goals and registering 24 assists for Erik ten Hag's side as they completed a domestic double.
Scouts have flocked to the Johan Cruyff Arena to keep tabs on the club's star names, and Ziyech has impressed.
Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been watching him - as have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the pair eyeing him as replacement for Arjen Robben and Christian Pulisic respectively.
Bayern have already made contact with the player's representatives.
Ziyech has been non-committal on his future thus far, saying after the club sealed the Dutch title this week "That [a move] will come by itself. When that happens, everyone will automatically hear it."
Ajax are resigned to losing the ex-Twente star for a relatively meagre £25million, due to a release clause in his contract.
But Overmars admits he will go with their blessing.
"He leaves when a top club comes," said the Ajax boss. "He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League.
"Many big clubs are buzzing around him. We promised Hakim [that we would] agree to a good transfer."
Ziyech was named the club's player of the year after his displays.
He is expected to be part of the Morocco squad at this summer's Africa Cup of Nations also, with the Atlas Lions having been drawn in Group D, alongside Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.
Source: Daily Mirror
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino have been named in the Brazil squad for this summer's Copa America.
The Liverpool duo were confirmed as selections by coach Tite on Friday ahead of the tournament which they will host from Friday June 14.
Brazil are in Group A alongside Bolivia, who are their opponents in the opening match, as well as Venezuela and Peru.
Reds midfielder Fabinho has not been included in the squad.
Liverpool U18s suffered a 2-0 defeat by Club Brugge in a post-season friendly on Friday.
The encounter in Belgium was goalless at half-time before the young Reds conceded twice in the second half.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com after the match, U18s boss Barry Lewtas said: "It was a good experience for the boys. They've got some good players.
"They scored about 15 minutes into the second half and then scored near the end when we were pushing to try to get a goal back.
"From a coaching point, it was a good chance to play against good opposition."
Liverpool U18s: Winterbottom, Walls, Raitanen, Koumetio, Savage, Ritaccio, Longstaff, Cain, Brookwell, O'Rourke, Bearne.
Liverpool FC can confirm the season ticket renewal date has been extended for supporters who have purchased Champions League final tickets directly from the club.
Eligible supporters who are yet to renew now have until 3pm on Monday June 3 to complete the renewal process.
In addition, Premium Credit Ltd, our chosen provider, has now activated various finance options to help spread the cost for all season ticket holders. Further information is available here.
All other season ticket holders, including those who have not purchased Champions League final tickets directly from the club, should note that their renewal date remains Friday May 24.
LFC Foundation has donated £4,250 to the Seán Cox appeal thanks to the generosity of fans at the Wolverhampton Wanderers game last week.
Proceeds from the matchday lottery at the Reds’ final Premier League fixture of the 2018-19 season will go to support Seán via the Seán Cox Rehabilitation Trust.
The amount raised in support of Seán is the highest figure reached at an individual game since the matchday lottery began last August.
Seán travelled to Anfield to watch his beloved Reds in last season’s Champions League semi-final and was the victim of an unprovoked attack outside the stadium that night. He suffered life-changing injuries and, 13 months on, is continuing his rehabilitation journey back home in Ireland.
The club, fans and his local community have come together in support of Seán and his family, raising vital funds for his care and sending messages of love and encouragement in his recovery. The club and its players are also supporting the appeal privately.
If you would like to donate to the Seán Cox Rehabilitation Fund directly, you can do so by visiting www.gofundme.com/SupportSeanCox.
Liverpool reportedly sent scouts to watch former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay play for Lyon against Marseille over the weekend.
The Dutch international failed to make the grade in the Premier League during a two-year spell at Old Trafford.
He departed for Lyon in 2017 for £16million and has rekindled something of the form that first led United recruiting the PSV Eindhoven academy graduate.
He has nine goals and 13 assists to his name this season and according to French outlet Mercato 365, Jurgen Klopp sent staff across the channel to check on the Dutchman during Lyon's 3-0 win over rivals Marseille on Sunday.
Klopp is believed to be in the market for attacking reinforcements to provide competition for Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool also kept tabs on exciting duo Houssem Aouar and Tanguy Ndombele during the Marseille clash, who have been linked with clubs from across Europe this summer.
Liverpool FC has issued advice to supporters on the sale and purchase of Champions League final tickets via secondary and unofficial ticketing sites.
Fans are warned that buying tickets via unofficial online sources does not guarantee tickets are genuine or that they will actually receive them.
As part of its commitment to tackle ticket touting, the club has created a test purchase programme to help protect supporters from purchasing via unauthorised ticketing sites. The programme aims to identify and stop these sales.
While selling or offering to sell tickets without the permission of the club is a criminal offence, LFC also intends to impose sanctions on any supporters found to be selling tickets through unofficial secondary ticketing sites.
Sanctions could include ticket-buying suspensions and indefinite bans from Anfield. It could also mean that any tickets for the Champions League final in Madrid are invalid, and purchasers will be unable to gain access to Estadio Metropolitano.
A continual rate of improvement under Jürgen Klopp makes Dejan Lovren certain that challenging for major honours will form part of Liverpool's future as well as their present.
The Reds will face Tottenham Hotspur in their second successive Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, with this season’s success in Europe being married with a remarkable, record-breaking domestic campaign.
Klopp’s side amassed 97 points and lost just once in the Premier League in 2018-19 but were pipped to the title by Manchester City, who finished one point ahead.
Lovren, though, sees such achievements as merely the starting point of this team’s potential being realised.
“When you look back on the last three years, it was every season improvement,” the centre-back told Liverpoolfc.com.
“When Klopp came, every year we did better and better. Last season we did quite well, we had quite a lot of injuries and reached the final of the Champions League.
“This year, with the new players, we reached second place with 97 points, it’s incredible, and again the final of the Champions League so definitely we are again one of the contenders for next year to do something great. With this team, we can only improve.
“We are still young so we learn every day something new and this is what matters: to keep this team all together in one place and of course, if there are new improvements to come, I mean new players, they are always welcomed. But when you look at the quality, it’s really already quite high.”
On falling just short in their relentless pursuit of the Premier League title, Lovren admitted to feeling frustrated in the immediate aftermath of last Sunday’s final-day win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield.
However, the focus within Liverpool’s dressing room will quickly shift to what lies ahead at Estadio Metropolitano.
“It would be a lie if I don’t admit that we are of course disappointed,” Lovren said.
“We won the last game at Anfield but when we came to the dressing room it felt strange. We had so many points, 97, we made history for this club when we talk about points but when you look back we can be satisfied.
“We gave everything this season, it was a brilliant season - especially [at] Anfield and I think the fans really enjoyed it, especially the game against Barca. So, at the end we have another final and I’m sure we will come back with big smiles.”
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, participants of Red Neighbours’ walking football programme have spoken about their experiences of mental health.
Tommy Knox, 71, from Walton, joined the walking football team last year and has already felt a positive impact on his life.
Tommy, what’s been your experience of mental health?
“Well, I lost the wife after 40-odd years and you know, that’s when I felt the depression. When you get to my age you lose all your friends because you’ve been with one person for so long and your family have all got their own lives.
“So people say you’re not on your own but it sort of feels like you are. That’s when I got depressed and started drinking a lot. It’s usually the weekends you get a bit depressed and to be honest with you, I think if I didn’t have walking football during the week, I don’t know where I’d be.”
Why did you decide to join the walking football team?
“I only really had one friend, Paul, and he asked me to come along because he was already playing. It was a God-send to be honest because everyone was brilliant, all the lads really make sure you’re not left alone, and everyone makes you welcome and straight away I thought: ‘This is brilliant.’”
Do you feel like walking football has affected your life outside of the sessions?
“Yeah, definitely. When people ask me where are you going and I say ‘the footy’, I think they’re surprised because I’m old! But yes, I’d say so. For example, I went to the Christmas carol service at Anfield and I thought ‘there’s something wrong here, people are being nice to me!’ I haven’t always been used to people being friendly and nice to me and that’s been all my life I suppose.
“I’d also like to say how much of a huge help my dog has been when I’ve been struggling. He provides me with great company and on the days where I feel like lying in bed all day, I think to myself ‘you can’t because you need to take the dog for a walk’. I always feel better once I’ve got myself out and about so having him really helps.”
And how has that friendly atmosphere made you feel?
“At first, I was a bit secretive with it to be honest, but since I’ve spent more time with these people and the Red Neighbours team I’m more open because I’ve got people that are friendly towards me. I’d recommend it to anyone, not just for the football but more so the camaraderie and everyone being so nice to you. I didn’t know there were so many nice people around! I really would recommend the walking football to anyone, I started about seven months ago and now I’m the best player - I’ve got to get that in!”
Why do you think it’s important for men to talk about mental health?
“When you hold everything in and you’re on your own, you really start to feel it, especially at times like Christmas and the weekends. At times it can feel like you’ve got no one, so having people to talk to like my friend Paul, who got me along to these sessions, makes it easier to handle. Like I said earlier, if I hadn’t made the effort to come along to walking football and meet the all the lads, I’m not sure where I’d be.”
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with their mental health?
“I would say share it with somebody because it’s no good keeping everything bottled up in your brain because you’re only going to make yourself worse. I’ll tell you what, if you feel like you’ve got no friends, get out and take part in something like walking football where you can spend time with people who are nice to you and it really will help.
“Don’t try and solve it yourself because a lot of the time, you can’t. Don’t be like me and think you’re alright and start hitting the bottle because it gets you nowhere. You’ve got to try and have some company and there’s so many brilliant people out there that want to help. What with the walking football and the likes of Paul and Red Neighbours, I just honestly couldn’t understand how so many people could be so nice.”
Across the coming weeks, more walking football participants will be sharing their stories with the aim of starting a conversation about mental health.
Red Neighbours walking football sessions take place at Anfield Sports and Community Centre every Tuesday from 3pm to 4pm and every Friday from 11am to 12pm. New players are always welcome.
Supporters who have bought tickets for the forthcoming Champions League final direct from the respective finalists will also receive a travel pass entitling them to free public transport in Madrid.
The passes, which can be used on the Madrid metro system between 5am on Saturday June 1 and 5am on Sunday June 2, will be made available to all eligible supporters of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
As well as enabling supporters to travel from their respective fan parks in the city centre direct to Estadio Metropolitano free of charge, the passes can also be used on other journeys on the Madrid metro within the specified timeframe.
Having worked with UEFA to put the scheme in place, Liverpool and Tottenham will be contacting their qualifying supporters directly to confirm the arrangements.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson have been named in the England squad for this summer's UEFA Nations League finals.
The Liverpool trio are in line to join up with the Three Lions after participating in the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on Saturday June 1.
England face Netherlands in the semi-finals on Thursday June 6 in Guimaraes, with the third-place play-off and final to take place three days later.
Gareth Southgate named a 27-man squad on Thursday afternoon, which will be trimmed to 23 players for the beginning of the tournament in Portugal.
Liverpool U18s played their last competitive fixture of the season on May 4 - but 11 days later, Barry Lewtas is leading his players off a training pitch at the Kirkby Academy after a session under the baking sun.
The first team's campaign has once again been extended by reaching the Champions League final - and the Academy continue to follow suit.
June 1 marks the official end to the enduring 2018-19 season for Jürgen Klopp's side. It's two days later for the U18s.
The view is that more fixtures and challenges will help prepare the FA Youth Cup winners for the grind and complexities of a season in senior football.
The U18s, along with Neil Critchley's U23s, travel to Belgium on Friday for encounters with the youth sides of Club Brugge.
They then return to climb Snowdon to raise money for the Stephen Darby Foundation before heading to the Netherlands at the end of the month for the three-day Terborg Tournament.
"We were keen to make sure, at the back end of the season, the boys' programmes are as diverse as possible," Lewtas told Liverpoolfc.com.
"The season might appear that it's over, but the boys are still training extremely hard and there's still stuff to do.
"We always planned to be in up until June 3. The boys knew they were going to be in for a long season.
"We've said time and time again, we try and mirror as much as what we can do to the first team. So trying to keep the boys in for a longer period of time this year just mimics what has happened to the first team."
Lewtas' charges, who finished runners-up in the U18 Premier League North by way of goal difference, will be tested by opposition from all over the world in the coming weeks.
Joining them in the Terborg Tournament - hosted near the border with Germany - are the likes of Vitesse Arnhem, FC Midtjylland, Ajax Cape Town and Palmeiras and Flamengo from Brazil.
"Us trying to get as many European games and playing against different opposition is part of the lads' development," Lewtas continued.
"If the boys are going to play for Liverpool, they're going to play in domestic competitions, but they're also going to be expected to challenge on a European front.
"We've got to be sure to expose the boys to as many games as we can - but different types.
"In terms of the trip to Brugge, it's certainly not a testimonial and a little trip over for a trip away. It's a proper game and we'll be treating it that way."
The supporters' ballot for Champions League final tickets has taken place and those supporters who have been successful will be notified at 2pm BST today.
Following the initial sales, the club has confirmed that supporters who entered the ballot for a ticket now have a one in 4.1 chance of being successful.
Please click here for full ticket selling details for the Champions League final.
To ensure the safety and security of fans, the club urges supporters who do not have a ticket not to travel to Madrid.