Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool are not on a “revenge tour” against Real Madrid as the chance of reaching another Champions League final provides all the motivation his team requires.
The Premier League and Spanish champions meet on Tuesday for the first time since the 2018 final and, despite the absence of the injured Sergio Ramos, the quarter-final first leg will stir memories of a painful defeat in Kyiv for Klopp, Mohamed Salah and company, with the Egyptian injured in a challenge from Ramos. Klopp admits he revisited the 3-1 loss when the draw pitted his team against Zinedine Zidane’s side but the anger he felt that night no longer exists.
“My motivation is the highest level because it is the Champions League and we want to go to the next round,” the Liverpool manager said. “We play Real Madrid and it has nothing to do with 2018, but when we got the draw and it was the first time we played Real Madrid since then of course I remembered the game. I said after the game that if someone asked me a week or a month later if I would invite Sergio Ramos to my 60th birthday I would have said no. Meanwhile, I would think about it again.
“He’s a great footballer but I didn’t like what happened that night. It was a strange night for us, but it’s long ago and I cannot get that feeling, that anger, back so I don’t even try. What I try is to prepare my team for tomorrow to show how good we are. In a strange and difficult season for us we want to show how good we are and if we are better than Real Madrid or score more goals then we go to the next round and if not then it is Real Madrid. It is pretty easy.”
Liverpool arrive in the Spanish capital on the back of three consecutive victories in all competitions and Klopp believes maintaining recent good form, not revenge, must be their primary focus against Real.
He added: “Revenge for 2018 or revenge for our not-so-good Premier League season? In general, this is not about revenge. We are not on a revenge tour. Life is like this. You try everything to win. You lose. You meet the opponent again one day. Sometimes it is close enough, like a week or two later, and then you can have these kind of emotions in you.”