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Updated: 14 min 16 sec ago

Live from Madrid: Watch Liverpool train at Estadio Metropolitano

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 07:00

Liverpool's training session on the eve of the Champions League final will be broadcast live on our official YouTube channel.

The Reds will conduct a workout on the turf at Estadio Metropolitano, the venue for Saturday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur, after landing in Spain on Friday afternoon.

And you can check in on their preparations with our live stream from the stadium, beginning at around 4.30pm BST.

Just return to this page at the scheduled start time to tune in.

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Back from the Brink: The players describe Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 20:30

The story of Liverpool's 4-0 triumph against FC Barcelona has been told in many different ways.

But in the final days before the reward for that unforgettable achievement becomes reality, in the form of the Champions League final in Madrid, we asked four players at the heart of the comeback at Anfield to tell us how it happened from their unrivalled viewpoint.

The result is Back from the Brink – featuring the recollections of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Divock Origi and Virgil van Dijk on what may be Anfield’s greatest European night of all time…

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Tottenham v Liverpool: Three key battles in the Champions League final

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 20:00

Liverpool face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on Saturday night as the European football season draws to a close with an all-Premier League tussle.

Runners-up last term, the Reds are back to contest their ninth final in the competition and are seeking to win the European Cup for the sixth time.

Spurs make their debut in UEFA's showpiece match and are the eighth different English club to reach the final - more than any other country.

The Champions League trophy is destined for England but will it end up in Liverpool or London? Here are three key battles that could decide the outcome of the 2019 final in Madrid...

Jan Vertonghen v Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah heads into the 2019 Champions League final full of confidence, having scooped the Premier League Golden Boot, but, perhaps most crucially of all, with unfinished business in European football's flagship competition.

Injured after half an hour of last year's showdown with Real Madrid, the supremely talented No.11 has an extra bit of motivation having earned another shot at landing the European Cup.

The Egyptian forward is in tip-top form too. A streak of five goals in his last seven matches has taken his tally for the season to 26 - but he doesn't just score goals, he scores important goals.

Ten of Salah's strikes this season have been game-winners or go-ahead goals and, across all competitions, Liverpool have won each of the 21 games in which he has scored.

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All eyes will be trained on the forward in Madrid and particularly those belonging to Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen, who is likely to be the man charged with attempting to limit Salah's impact.

The 32-year-old Belgian helped his nation reach the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and is certainly not the type of player to shy away from a challenge.

Vertonghen started Tottenham's thrilling 3-2 semi-final comeback win at Ajax wearing a face mask having suffered a nasty head injury in the first leg and after injuring his ankle in the return match in Amsterdam played on undeterred to the final whistle before eventually leaving the Johan Cruyff ArenA on crutches and wearing a protective boot.

The Spurs No.5 has since declared himself fit and 'super good' ahead of Saturday's final against Liverpool.

Normally a left-sided centre-back, Vertonghen can also play as a left-back and even excelled as left wing-back during Tottenham's 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.

Christian Eriksen v Fabinho

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho started only one of Liverpool's Champions League group-stage games as he was given time to settle into the team following his summer move from AS Monaco.

He's since played all but 13 minutes of the six knockout fixtures in the competition and established himself as a vital cog in Jürgen Klopp's machine.

The way he shut down five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi during the Reds' astonishing 4-0 semi-final second-leg win against Barcelona at Anfield was a defensive midfield masterclass and exemplified Fabinho's importance to the team.

Playing in front of the back four, the 25-year-old hassled and harried Messi from the first minute to the last, despite picking up a harsh booking early on for a well-timed tackle on Luis Suarez, and limited the Barca lynchpin to just 64 touches during the entire game - only one more than himself.

Aggressive in the tackle when Messi did get on the ball, Fabinho helped cut off the supply line with 11 regains at Anfield and was assured in possession too, with an impressive 89.6 per cent pass completion rate.

Fabinho v Lionel Messi heatmap

The No.3 will likely be pitted against another key playmaker in Tottenham's Christian Eriksen on Saturday night and if he can repeat the quality of his semi-final performance it could play a vital role in turning the match in Liverpool's favour.

Denmark international Eriksen has been one of Spurs' best performers during the 2018-19 campaign and his contribution in the Champions League has been particularly crucial.

The midfielder scored at Wembley to secure a vital 1-0 win over Inter Milan that kept Tottenham in the competition during the group stage and provided two assists for Son Heung-min as they edged past Manchester City on away goals in the quarter-finals.

Often deployed as the attacking tip of Mauricio Pochettino's midfield set-up, Eriksen has chipped in with 10 goals this season, but his tally of 17 assists is especially impressive. If Fabinho can nullify that supply, it will go a long way to starving Spurs' attack.

Harry Kane v Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been an ever-present in the meanest defence in the Premier League this season - helping to keep an incredible 21 clean sheets - and was an instrumental figure as the Reds shut out a Barca side featuring Messi and Suarez in that phenomenal 4-0 semi-final second-leg victory at Anfield.

Voted the 2018-19 PFA Players' Player of the Year by his peers back in April, the 27-year-old is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

Imperious in the air, cool in the tackle and confident in possession, Van Dijk has faced Tottenham three times since making the switch to Liverpool last season and has never lost - winning twice and drawing once.

The No.4 faced Spurs talisman and leading goalscorer Harry Kane in all three of those Premier League matches and the only goal the otherwise prolific striker mustered came from the penalty spot.

Watch: Virgil van Dijk's best bits v Spurs

That being said, Kane has a phenomenal scoring record overall and in the Champions League in particular; the Englishman has netted 14 times in his 18 appearances giving him an impressive strike rate of 0.78 goals per game in the competition.

His ability to find the net against marquee opponents such as Barcelona and Juventus has helped the 25-year-old reach that tally in quicker time than either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tottenham's top scorer for the past five seasons after netting 31 times in his breakthrough campaign in 2014-15, Kane is the first name on Pochettino's teamsheet when fit.

The England striker has been battling with an ankle ligament injury he sustained against Manchester City on April 9 but he's back in training and his manager expects him to feature in the final. Whether that is from the start of the match or from the bench, his battle with Van Dijk will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

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Maxi Rodriguez interview | On supporting Liverpool, Champions League final, Klopp and more

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 17:00

Maxi Rodriguez watches every Liverpool game - and Saturday’s Champions League final will be no different, with the Argentinian hoping to witness the Reds ‘finish the job’ first hand in Madrid.

Now 38, Maxi’s ongoing, 20-year career has taken him full circle back to first club Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland.

An impressive footballing journey also, of course, included a two-and-a-half-year stay at Anfield, during which he endeared himself to Liverpool fans thanks to a blend of skill and diligence that brought about 17 goals in 73 appearances for the club.

Time and distance hasn’t detracted from Maxi’s personal feeling of affinity towards the Reds, though, as Liverpoolfc.com found out when catching up with him at Estadio Metropolitano in the build-up to Saturday’s final…

So Maxi, Liverpool are playing in a Champions League final in the city you called home for a few years during your time with Atletico. How do you see the game going?

It’s going to be a fantastic occasion. This is almost like a home to me, where I played for many years with Atletico Madrid so it’s just great that Liverpool are coming here to play and it’s sure to be a very moving occasion. Let’s hope it’s an entertaining game and that it’s Liverpool who are lifting the trophy at the end.

Will you be going to the game on Saturday, then?

Yes, I’ll be there watching from the stands! I reckon it will be a great game and especially so being there and living it like any other Liverpool fan. I can tell you that I’m a bit nervous already and I can’t wait for Saturday to come around.

What impresses you about this Reds team and how have they improved this season?

I think they have developed a playing style of the highest standard. They are a side who are very familiar with the system that they play. All managers and coaches always try to impose their own style on a team and to tweak certain things, but more than anything the way they play is very entertaining and they have got into the habit of winning, which is the key. Under Klopp the team has changed a lot, for the good. And that’s really great as I believe that every time the team goes out on the pitch, they know exactly what they are doing tactically, and they know they are in with a great chance of winning the game. But they have a plan and a mindset, which is the most important thing.

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Liverpool’s path to the final has been a dramatic one - especially the semi-final against Barcelona. Did you watch the second leg of that tie and could you believe what you were seeing?

Yes, I did watch it, I watch all of Liverpool’s matches. And when it’s a real spectacle like the game against Barcelona, no-one who likes football can afford to miss out on a game like that. It was unmissable for any fan! I was quite confident going into the tie, and you could say that whichever side won, they would probably have deserved it. But then that comeback from Liverpool was so amazing, and even better as it was at Anfield, which is one of those legendary stadiums that gives off so many great vibes to the players. So that’s how it all unfolded, and I have to say it was just spectacular. Now it’s all about finishing the job in the final in the best way possible.

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As an attacking player yourself, how much would you have enjoyed teaming up with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah?

Yes, you do sometimes wonder about how you might fit into certain other teams. But yes, it’s a very attack-minded side, and yes, I certainly prefer the offensive side of the game to any defensive duties so I’m sure I would have really liked it a lot. But then I had a really great time in that Liverpool side when I was there, playing alongside players like Steven Gerrard, so I definitely can’t complain about anything from my time at Liverpool!

You had the chance to play for Mauricio Pochettino earlier in your career at Espanyol. How do you feel that Tottenham Hotspur will be preparing for this game?

I believe he is a guy with a winning mentality and his character is to lead from the front. But the key is that this is a final and so both teams will be setting up to try to win the game. They will approach the game in this way. Mauricio has also been doing very well at Tottenham for a good few years now, and I believe he also deserves all the credit for what he has achieved there, in getting through to this final.

Finally, where do you think the final might be won and lost tactically?

Both teams are comfortable in possession and like to play football. I think it will be an open game. I know that most of the time finals can be tight, cagey affairs but I think that both teams here will be striving to strike the first blow in order to then try to settle things down a bit more. If there is an early goal, I think we’ll then see the game really start to open out. If Liverpool can grab that early lead, you could perhaps see things starting to go their way.

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Local families attend Red Neighbours' breakfast clubs at Anfield

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 16:16

Local families enjoyed a series of breakfast clubs at Anfield this week courtesy of Red Neighbours.

Throughout the half-term break, children from schools in L4, L5 and L6 headed to the Reds’ home with their families to enjoy healthy food, entertainment, sing-a-longs and a tour of the stadium.

Official mascot Mighty Red was also on hand to meet the youngsters and host an LFC-themed raffle, with prizes including children’s toys, a selection of Reds merchandise and a car seat donated by the club’s official family partner, Joie Baby.

Across the week, Red Neighbours’ breakfast clubs served more than 210 guests as part of their commitment to food poverty and education, and creating memorable experiences for young people.

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Champions League final: Jonathan Wilson's tactical preview

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 14:00

The good news for Liverpool fans is that, of nine previous meetings between Jürgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, their man has come out on top four times, with four draws.

The most emphatic of those victories, at least in terms of performance, probably came at Wembley this season with a 2-1 win that was far more dominant than that scoreline may suggest. The slightly more troubling news is that only one of those four wins has been by more than a single goal and that the most recent game, Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Anfield at the end of March, was as tight as could be.

Although Liverpool bossed the first half of that game, Tottenham came back strongly in the second, levelled the score at 1-1 and might have taken the lead when Moussa Sissoko ran though, only to be forced by some excellent defending from Virgil van Dijk into shooting with his weaker foot when he might have slipped a pass through to Son Heung-min. Liverpool won in the end thanks to a Hugo Lloris error leading to Toby Alderweireld’s late own goal. That has tended to be the way of things in recent meetings between the sides: tight, high-tempo, high-quality games that have been settled by a moment of individual excellence or a mistake.

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Tactically, the discussion is dominated by questions about Spurs, if only because Pochettino is so much more inclined to change formation. It would be something extraordinary if Klopp does not go in with a 4-3-3 and, even within that, the only slight debate is about the make-up of the midfield three. Pochettino, though, is much more inclined to make changes, even within games.

In part, particularly in the latter stages of this season, that’s been because of a lengthy injury list (to an extent, the back three Spurs deployed away to Ajax was less a tactical selection than just who was available) but it’s also a matter of choice. The league game at Anfield this season is revealing in that regard.

Spurs began with a back three. The logic, presumably, was twofold. Firstly, that by doing so Spurs could free up an extra man to press high and so perhaps shift the focus of the game up the pitch. And secondly, to engage Liverpool’s wide forwards high with their wing-backs, with the security of flanking centre-backs behind should Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane get beyond the wing-back and drift inside. In addition, Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose could in theory have presented an attacking threat, driving beyond Salah and Mane, creating a problem for the two Liverpool full-backs, who would have to decide whether to advance to engage them (very much the default with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson) or whether that risked leaving space for the Spurs front two, in that case Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, to run into.

As it turned out, if that was the thinking, it didn’t work, and Liverpool for an hour or so ran midfield. The balance of the game changed, though, after Son came on for Davinson Sanchez and Spurs went to a back four. The evidence of that match would suggest a 4-2-3-1 in Madrid – although a lot depends on Kane’s fitness.

Average positions: Liverpool v Tottenham, March 2019

If he is fit enough to start, the man to miss out, slightly oddly given he scored a second half-hat-trick in Amsterdam, would presumably be Moura, unless Pochettino takes the very bold decision to use Christian Eriksen as one of his deep-lying midfielders. More likely, though, Eriksen operates on the right with Son on the left (if Kane isn’t fit, he will probably play through the middle with Lucas to the left) and Dele Alli as the central creator in front of Sissoko and, if fit, Harry Winks.

The effect of that is that the formations match up, given that the major difference between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 is that the former features one deep central midfielder and, at least in Liverpool’s conception, two more adventurous ones, while a 4-2-3-1 has two deep and one more advanced. Although modern systematised football means games are never just a series of head-to-heads, that does produce a number of intriguing individual battles.

Alli has had a stop-start season but found form in the final month of the campaign: his lay-off to Lucas was a vital part of that late winner against Ajax. His tussle with Fabinho will be key. Even more important, though, is likely to be the skirmishes on the flanks, with both sides featuring attacking full-backs and at least one wide forward who is perhaps not overly keen on the defensive side of the game: Alexander-Arnold plus Salah against Rose plus Son on one side, and Robertson plus Mane against Trippier plus (probably) Eriksen on the other.

More generally, although Pochettino and Klopp had very different footballing educations, their essential philosophies are very similar. Both press hard and high, both combine a belief in the value of the system with a sense that the system must allow individuals to express themselves and that character is vital. In that, perhaps surprisingly, both have a view of football not that far removed from the style that predominated in the English game in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Both have extremely technically gifted players, both are clearly tactically astute, but neither is afraid to stress the value of pace, power and commitment.

These are two teams with very little between them – Liverpool probably do have an edge but not as much as the 26-point gap in the league might suggest. From a tactical point of view, it will be Spurs looking to adapt to Liverpool. But from a wider angle, the final is an expression of the best traditions of English football, repackaged and repurposed for the modern age.

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Anderson Arroyo into U20 World Cup knockout stages

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 11:24

Anderson Arroyo played another 90 minutes as Colombia moved into the knockout rounds of the FIFA U20 World Cup on Wednesday night.

The Liverpool defender was involved throughout a 6-0 victory over Tahiti in Group A that sent the South Americans into the last 16.

Colombia will be back in action on Sunday evening, against the runner-up of Group C – set to be either New Zealand or Uruguay – in Lodz.

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Academy pride in 'inspirational' Trent Alexander-Arnold explained

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 11:00

With Trent Alexander-Arnold on the verge of making history in Madrid on Saturday, Academy director Alex Inglethorpe has detailed the pride felt within the Kirkby complex at the progress of their Scouse graduate.

If selected in Liverpool’s XI in the Champions League final, the 20-year-old would become the first ever player aged under 21 to start consecutive finals in Europe’s premier club competition.

It was Alexander-Arnold who provided the key assist with the corner that led to the winning goal scored by Divock Origi against Barcelona that sent the Reds into the final just over three weeks ago.

And Inglethorpe believes the consistent displays of the No.66 throughout 2018-19 serve as inspiration for the current crop of Academy hopefuls.

He told Liverpoolfc.com: “It has been a good year for the young players. First and foremost, Trent has managed to establish himself as a first-team player.

“He has been there or thereabouts as a consistent starter so he can’t afford any complacency, but I think it’s been very good from an Academy perspective to see him progress the way he has.

“I’m desperate for him to win it [the Champions League].

“He has not been fortunate, because that would suggest that it’s all been luck, but over the course of your career you don’t get to play in the Champions League final every season.

“For him, first and foremost he played his part in a really good league campaign and he’s not had it easy because he had difficult moments himself which he had to overcome.

“I’m really proud of him and how he has done and I know the staff here would echo that: we are all proud of him.

“Trent is an inspiration for a lot of young kids here who want to emulate that.”

Recently, Alexander-Arnold was the guest of honour as the Academy unveiled their new U9 intake for next season.

After giving the youngsters some inspirational advice, the England international stayed behind to have his picture taken with the players and their families.

“The thing I’m most pleased is the way he has managed to keep his humility,” added Inglethorpe.

“When he comes down to the Academy he is the same lad, there are no airs and graces with him and he doesn’t come in any different.

“He is amazing around the staff and he hasn’t changed one bit. He has got his family to thank for that, I think.”

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Alexander-Arnold was captain of the U16s, playing in a central midfield role under the guidance of the now first-team assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders.

He then went on to captain Neil Critchley’s U18s before making his step up to senior level.

“You couldn’t write these things, could you? And that’s why we love football,” said Inglethorpe.

“It does only seem like yesterday, it really does, when he was playing [for the U16s] as a central midfield player, then as a right winger and right-back for Critch.

“He has had a lot of learning to do, but time flies doesn’t it?”

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The view from the Academy: Why we're all so proud of inspirational Trent

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 11:00

As Trent Alexander-Arnold stands on the verge of making history in Madrid on Saturday, Academy director Alex Inglethorpe has detailed the pride felt within the Kirkby complex at the progress of their Scouse graduate.

If selected in Liverpool’s XI in the Champions League final, the 20-year-old would become the first ever player aged under 21 to start consecutive finals in Europe’s premier club competition.

Indeed, it was Alexander-Arnold who provided the key assist with the corner that led to the winning goal scored by Divock Origi against Barcelona that sent the Reds into the final just over three weeks ago.

But overall in 2018-19, Inglethorpe believes the consistent displays of the No.66 are inspirational to the current crop of Academy hopefuls.

He told Liverpoolfc.com: “It has been a good year for the young players. First and foremost, Trent has managed to establish himself as a first-team player.

“He has been there or there abouts as a consistent starter so he can’t afford any complacency, but I think it’s been very good from an Academy perspective to see him progress the way he has.

“I’m desperate for him to win it [the Champions League].

“He has not been fortunate, because that would suggest that it’s all been luck, but over the course of your career you don’t get to play in the Champions League final every season.

“For him, first and foremost he played his part in a really good league campaign and he’s not had it easy because he had difficult moments himself which he had to overcome.

“I’m really proud of him and how he has done and I know the staff here would echo that: we are all proud of him.

“Trent is an inspiration for a lot of young kids here who want to emulate that.”

Recently, Alexander-Arnold was the guest of honour as the Academy unveiled their new U9 intake for next season.

After giving the youngsters some inspirational advice, the England international stayed behind to have his picture taken with the players and their families.

“The thing I’m most pleased is the way he has managed to keep his humility,” added Inglethorpe.

“When he comes down to the Academy he is the same lad, there are no airs and graces with him and he doesn’t come in any different.

“He is amazing around the staff and he hasn’t changed one bit. He has got his family to thank for that, I think.”

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Alexander-Arnold was captain of the U16s, playing in a central midfield role under the guidance of the now first-team assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders.

He then went on to captain Neil Critchley's U18s before making his step-up to senior level.

“You couldn’t write these things, could you? And that’s why we love football,” said Inglethorpe.

“It does only seem like yesterday, it really does, when he was playing [for the U16s] as a central midfield player, then as a right-winger and right-back for Critch.

“He has had a lot of learning to do, but time flies doesn’t it?”

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Morgan Boyes signs first professional Liverpool contract

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:57

Morgan Boyes has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool Football Club.

The left-sided centre-back, who can also play at left-back, was a regular for Barry Lewtas’ U18s side this season.

Boyes, who turned 18 last month, started in the final as the young Reds secured the FA Youth Cup for the first time in 12 years in April.

Born in Wales but brought up in Chester, Boyes has been recognised by Wales at U19 level.

The defender has been with the Reds since pre-Academy level, before joining the U11 group and progressing through the ranks in Kirkby.

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Watch now: One Kopite's 43-year love affair with the European Cup

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:36

Kopite Stephen Monaghan relives 43 years of travelling across Europe in an exclusive LFCTV short film - and the programme is available to subscribers now.

'Mono', a lifelong Red, will travel to his ninth European Cup final this weekend when the Reds take on Tottenham Hotspur in the heat of Madrid. 

The mini-documentary about his European adventures, entitled We Won It Five Times, is available to watch above now for LFCTV GO subscribers. It will also air on LFCTV at 7pm BST tonight.

Mono first went to Anfield with his dad in the mid-1960s, and has followed the team home and away for five decades. 

His first European away game arrived in 1976, when Liverpool won the UEFA Cup against Club Brugge in Belgium. However, it was during the following season the true magic began to unfold. 

Mono went to Saint-Etienne and Zurich before making the trip to Rome, where Emlyn Hughes lifted the European Cup for the first time in Liverpool's history.

By 1984, he had watched Liverpool gather no fewer than four European Cups, and some 20 years later he was in Istanbul alongside his son Joe to witness the comeback of all comebacks.

And in an emotional tribute to his beloved club, Mono shares it all in the new film above.

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Estadio Metropolitano: Gallery and guide

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:00

Liverpool will play Tottenham Hotspur in the 2018-19 Champions League final at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid on Saturday - and here's our bite-sized guide to the newly-built stadium.

Constructed on the site of a former athletics ground, the Metropolitano has a capacity of around 68,000 and replaced the Estadio Vicente Calderon as the new home of Atletico Madrid when it opened in September 2017.

The name refers back to the old Estadio Metropolitano de Madrid, where Atleti played before moving to the Calderon in 1966.

Los Colchoneros played their first game at the new ground four matches into the 2017-18 La Liga season, when Antoine Griezmann's strike earned a 1-0 win over Malaga in front of a reduced-capacity crowd of around 62,000.

The record attendance to date came in the derby against Real Madrid in February 2019 when 67,804 fans watched the hosts lose 3-1 to their cross-city rivals.

Only one player from the current Liverpool or Tottenham squads has played at the Metropolitano: Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

The Brazilian was part of the AS Roma side that lost 2-0 in Madrid in the group stages of the 2017-18 Champions League.

Alisson was in the away dressing room that day but will be in the opposite locker room for the Champions League final, despite Spurs being the designated home team.

With Tottenham's fans located in the north of the stadium and Liverpool's in the south, the organisers have switched home and away changing rooms and dugouts so each club is nearer to their own supporters.

The Metropolitano boasts a proximity to the pitch that many European grounds can't match - just 5.89 metres away from the white lines in some places.

Constructed with environmental concerns in mind, the stadium is the first in the world to be illuminated 100 per cent by LED technology and uses recycled rainwater to irrigate the pitch.

Located on Avenida de Luis Aragones in the north-east of Madrid, the ground is served by its own metro stop - also named Estadio Metropolitano.

It is a 30-minute journey, with a transfer at Avenida De America station, from La Goya metro stop - located nearest to the LFC Fan Park in Plaza de Felipe II.

Check out our stunning gallery of the venue below...

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Steven Gerrard: I think 'Imagine playing for Jürgen Klopp'

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 09:30

It was an opportunity that never materialised for Steven Gerrard.

But the Liverpool legend cannot help but imagine how it would have felt to play for Jürgen Klopp.

Gerrard departed the Reds a matter of months before Klopp took charge and began a revolution that has brought the club to a second consecutive Champions League final appearance on Saturday night.

“I’ve had many sit-downs with him. He’s an open book – he invites me into his office – I’m incredibly lucky and blessed I do get that invite,” said Gerrard, whose coaching career began at Liverpool’s Academy in 2017.

“And the thing I take away is: Imagine playing for him. I wasn’t lucky enough to play for Jürgen Klopp. Probably too old. Just missed the boat if you like. But, I’m almost jealous of the Liverpool players.

“I come out of his office after a sit-down, and when I walk out of the training ground, I actually want to walk back in and sit with him. I want to put a kit on and play for them, and run for them and run hard. He’s infectious, he inspires you.”

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Klopp’s men will meet Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Estadio Metropolitano this weekend for the right to be crowned European champions.

The analysis from both camps and outside is that the final will be similarly tight as the two league meetings – both won 2-1 by the Reds – were this season.

Gerrard agrees, but the former Liverpool captain believes they are equipped to ensure Jordan Henderson emulates him in hoisting aloft the trophy.

“Two finals in two years. It’s an incredible achievement,” he said.

“Those people trying to put Jürgen down, I think all you’ve got to say is, before Jürgen came in they hadn’t been to a European final since 2007.

“Now, he’s put this team alongside the top teams in the world. The Madrids, the Barcelonas — you see him beat Barcelona 4-0.

“It’s a tight game to call, but if both teams play to their absolute maximum, I think Liverpool will just edge it.”

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Live updates: Information for fans travelling to Madrid

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 09:30

The one-day travel pass you will be issued alongside your match ticket can be used on any day; however, they are valid from the first time used until 5am the following day only.

For example, if you arrive in Madrid on Thursday and use your travel pass for the first time that day, your pass will expire at 5am on Friday.

Once the pass has expired, supporters can pay to recharge the travel pass in any of the automatic machines in the Metro.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Travelling to Madrid? Download our fan guides

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 09:30

Liverpool supporters travelling to Madrid for Saturday's Champions League final are advised to check out the selection of fan guides available to download online ahead of the game.

The online booklets can be viewed by clicking here and contain key information for those who are making the journey to Spain.

Liverpoolfc.com will also be running a live blog dedicated to bringing supporters up-to-the-minute information regarding travel and events in Madrid. Click here to view updates.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Big interview | Jürgen Klopp: I'm so proud - but now is not the time to feel it

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 07:00

“I don’t know exactly how it works but obviously it works and it’s just nice to be part of.”

Jürgen Klopp is referencing an age-old Liverpool Football Club adage.

The German’s tongue is somewhat in cheek; however, there is no uncertainty about his underlying message.

It’s a fable that’s been passed down through generations of Reds supporters for decades, but one that – somehow – continually has new chapters written into it.

As was the case just over three short weeks ago.

“It’s special,” Klopp continues, as he looks to find the correct words to explain what he is thinking. “And it felt from time to time… like… that the Kop was like sucking the ball into the goal.

“That’s how it feels.”

Cold science would, of course, put paid to this parable. Nevertheless, anyone who has been fortunate enough to be present at Anfield on a European night will know that – sometimes – logic is thrown out of the window.

Indeed, against Barcelona earlier this month, it was not so much thrown as it was sent hurtling through a glass pane with brute force.

“Look, a lot of things are like a legend if you speak about the atmosphere here or there,” Klopp says. “I’ve said it a couple of times, I’m really blessed, yeah. I’ve had great atmospheres in my life that are crazy, unbelievable…”

Crazy, unbelievable. Apt words to try to articulate just what unfolded at Anfield on the night of Tuesday May 7.

By now you know the story, but in summary: with no Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool needed to overturn the three-goal deficit they’d – somewhat harshly, perhaps – succumbed to against Barcelona at Camp Nou six days earlier if they were to qualify for a second final in a year.

And if they were to do so, they’d have to stop Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and co.

“It was the last moment, the final whistle against Barcelona when I realised, ‘Oops, it really happened!’,” Klopp smiles in response to a question about his team’s standout moment of the Champions League campaign so far.

“When we lost the first game in Barcelona I was completely fine with the game, rather happy with the game in fact, but of course there was the scoreline… I’m not silly and I can read. But I couldn’t feel it, I couldn’t feel the scoreline, I only felt the game.

“During the game it was like you have these moments as a coach, I got the question a couple of times, if I enjoyed these situations or was it difficult to enjoy it? I enjoyed that game like hell, it was brilliant! But we lost 3-0! In the dressing room because of the performance we didn’t say it, we didn’t speak about it, why should we?

“And it was not a situation where we would go out and shout towards the Barcelona dressing room ‘See you at Anfield!’ or whatever. It was not like this. We were sitting in the dressing room and I told the boys what I wanted to tell them. It was clear. We had no breakdown or whatever, we didn’t have to start new and forget everything what had happened so far.

“So, we wanted to use what we did in Barcelona. Then we had to play Newcastle, which was obviously a very tough game for different reasons, and then we had two days to prepare really for the Barca game at Anfield.

“I knew before that Bobby [Firmino] and Mo [Salah] could not play and that usually doesn’t help, but there was not one second that me or the boys thought, ‘How can that work?’

“We knew it was difficult. Pretty much impossible. But pretty much means it’s not absolutely impossible. That must be enough to start the project.

“For me, the key moment in that game was kick-off, they passed the ball back and we jumped on them! I described it to the boys as [being] like lions who had not been fed for eight weeks! I was like, ‘Wow! OK, that’s a good start! That's how it can work.’

“And then we scored and then it was an open game, I would say. Big chances for Barcelona, in fact I think they had bigger chances than they had in the first game, so you need your goalkeeper and you need a lot of passion and stuff and the boys did brilliant.

“At half-time we lost our left-back [Andy Robertson] and it’s not as if we had 12 left-backs on the bench to choose from. Robbo said he couldn’t activate the muscle... that doesn’t help in life and in football it doesn’t help as well.

“But again, nobody thought when we spoke about the second half how can we create chances when Robbo is not on the pitch? We had Millie [James Milner], a logical decision at left-back. Gini [Wijnaldum] playing half-left. Go.

"And then the rest is pretty much history!”

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And so, Barcelona’s advantage was vanquished at Anfield as Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum struck twice, Trent Alexander-Arnold displayed intelligence that belies his tender years to assist the winner, Jordan Henderson performed like a man possessed despite injury, Liverpool fought for every inch and supporters once again demonstrated the power of Anfield.

“It’s so crazy. When you are in the dugout and you watch it, you realise the celebrations and all that stuff, then the final whistle… wow! It really happened. After that you have to say it was historical, it was. Because this kind of game with all the circumstances will not happen 500 times, that’s just how it is. Being part of it, it’s really cool.

“Again, this year, the combination of football and atmosphere was exceptional.”

Now it is, of course, to Madrid, where Tottenham Hotspur await as Liverpool get set to contest successive Champions League finals.

The raw emotion of that night at Anfield has been replaced by steely determination and focus within the camp.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the boys, but we not in the moment to feel it,” Klopp states. “I have to kick their backsides in training, I have to push them, I have to keep them awake.

“I’m proud - very proud - but it’s not a moment to feel it; it’s a moment to really feel each muscle and it’s important we really say, ‘OK, come on, we need everything to do it because we want it.’”

Liverpool do want it, make no mistake.

A year ago, they were left heartbroken in Kiev following a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the tournament showpiece.

“Now we are here again and what it says about the team is they don’t give up, they don’t stop. Last year when we flew back from Kiev, after the game directly, there was a moment when we were all really sad and disappointed, frustrated, whatever.

“I was standing behind all the guys in the [airport] queue and going to the plane and I really thought, ‘We have to come back, we have to go back and get this thing right!’ And that we have that chance in the next year immediately is big, it’s really big.

“But, we respect the opponent massively of course. We respect them as a good team with a very special Champions League story as well this year. So, it will be a tough game, of course.”

There is an abundance of admiration for Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino among the Liverpool squad.

While the Reds may have edged both Premier League fixtures 2-1 this season – and finished ahead of them in the final table – there is a collective acknowledgment such statistics will have no bearing on Saturday’s final.

“They are really, really strong,” Klopp considers. “We won both games in the league, we know that, we had a points advantage [in the table], but all those things don’t count. When we think about the home game, we played a brilliant first half, but the second half was not in the same way. It’s not that we were five levels above them, but that’s how a final actually should be.

“We think about Tottenham, of course, and what they do, they change systems, and they changed it in the game [at Anfield] and all that stuff. So, maybe in three weeks from their last matchday to the final they will have another system. Who knows? They are the things we both can do actually until we start and we will see what happens.

“We have to be ready for that game. We have to play the game. I can imagine that people think about it - a few are convinced until the first whistle we will win it and a few think, ‘Oh, again we will lose it.’ In the end we have to play the game and that’s what we will do with all we have as brave as we were the whole year, with all the desire we showed the whole year – that’s clear.

“We are in the Champions League final for the second year in a row, wow! But we had the games, we had difficult games to overcome, difficult moments so we should be ready - and we will be ready.”

Liverpool’s ability to overturn such difficult situations in difficult circumstances in games earned them the nickname ‘mentality monsters’.

In fact, it was one coined by the boss himself.

Klopp laughs: “I used another word before that… but I am not allowed to say that obviously! Look, the last part of the season, the whole season, was pretty intense.

“Up to matchday five [in the Premier League] it looked like it could be a special season. It was a special season. But then immediately the response was people say you cannot drop points because the other teams don’t drop points.

“So, it made the season very intense from the very start and then in the Champions League we got through, a sensational last 16, the quarter-final good and the semi-final outstanding. In between, there was always these very difficult Premier League games like Newcastle away. Oh wow, it was like a cup final! The atmosphere was like a cup final, but really pushing through this and doing the job was so special.

“Quite a lot of times, I was really touched by what the boys did, scoring the goals we scored, fighting the fights we fought and all that stuff. It was special and of course you can’t always do it like this. We have a lot of potential in the team and the boys mixed it up with an attitude I never saw before and that’s just outstanding.

“And that’s what I meant when I said they are ‘mentality monsters’.”

Liverpool’s resilience saw them post a club-record Premier League campaign, featuring a point haul of 97 and just one defeat throughout the term.

Ultimately, though, the Reds were narrowly pipped to the title by Manchester City by just one solitary point.

“We see our development, we know what we do, we improve so much it’s unbelievable,” Klopp continues. “If there was a prize for the biggest development in the last 12 months then it’s going to the Reds, that’s how it is.

“The boys did a really amazing job, but we get that it’s about winning competitions, so for us we want to win the competition and if not then be as close as possible. That’s pretty much, apart from winning, the best thing that can happen – be as close as possible because that makes things rather reachable than unreachable – that’s very important.

“And, now we go again to the final. You cannot come closer to winning a final, so that’s what we have to do now. I’m not surprised that the boys bounced back again. If you asked me, ‘Did you think we would get 97 points?’ I would have to say no, but I was convinced we would play a good season and so we will next season.

“How good depends - unfortunately in football - on the other teams as well because they can improve, they can play. We had luck in a few moments, we all know that, we were unlucky in other moments – that’s a season and in the end it was 97 points.

“That’s big but it’s over and now we have to not think about it. There will come a moment where we have to start thinking about what we can do next year [in the league].”

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As Klopp references, before that begins Liverpool’s sole focus is on the showdown with Spurs on Saturday.

The Reds’ journey to Estadio Metropolitano has, once again, been eventful.

Three wins at Anfield and three defeats on the road were recorded in a tricky group consisting of Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade. But then Bayern Munich, FC Porto and, most recently, Barcelona were dispatched in the knockout rounds.

A common theme running throughout all 12 matches so far has been the sights and sounds of Liverpool supporters making themselves heard throughout Europe. Giving the team their unequivocal backing, just as they will in Madrid this weekend.

“It’s not a cliché and I feel a bit embarrassed that I have to say because it’s so obvious,” Klopp asserts, when asked whether Kopites have been just as much a part of the road to Madrid as his players.

“It’s so obvious that we are a unit but since I [came] in what happened to all of us, how many nice moments we have had in football. I don’t like to talk about these things too much now because we play in the Champions League final and we are really in a preparing mood and things like that, but it’s at the end of the season so obviously we have to speak a little bit.

“We have had a real summary of fantastic moments together, outstanding moments. Not only home games - but especially home games, of course - we have had some sensational away games.

“I loved Bayern Munich away, it was mature, it was football, tactical on the highest level, so many good, good things really and I am really thankful for that.

“It’s actually I think what we have to deliver for all of our people out there, this excitement that everybody wants and wants to be involved in. You want to think about the games, you want to see the games and that’s so special. We are not the only club who have had moments like this obviously, but it’s not important [to us] what other clubs have had.

“We have had it. We have enjoyed it a lot. That’s really cool.”

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