Real Madrid(N) vs Liverpool - Zinedine Zidane as brilliant a coach as he was a player

Posted Saturday, May 26, 2018 by PA

Real Madrid(N) vs Liverpool - Zinedine Zidane as brilliant a coach as he was a player

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has laughed off suggestions Real Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane has limited tactical coaching knowledge ahead of the Champions League final.

The pair face each other at Kiev’s NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Saturday as Zidane seeks to become the first man to lead his side to three straight European Cup triumphs.

Klopp was asked what he thought of the suggestion the Frenchman did not have – or need – much tactical input to coach an all-star Madrid team led by the Champions League’s all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

“If a lot of people think Zinedine Zidane has not a lot of tactical knowledge and then people think the same about me that would be really funny,” said Klopp.

“The two managers in the Champions League final have no clue about tactics? What would that say about the game?

“For me, Zinedine Zidane is one of the best five players of all time in football. I’m longer in Liverpool than he is at Real Madrid and he can win the Champions League for a third time. That’s never happened before.

“Unfortunately I have to accept that he is as brilliant as he was as a player. This group of players work like a clock from Switzerland.

“I saw his team playing a lot of times and it is just fantastic football. It is organised when it needs to be organised and chaos when it needs to be chaos.”

Liverpool’s starting line-up is likely to include only Roberto Firmino, Dejan Lovren and James Milner from the team which lost the Europa League final two years ago while none of them have played in a Champions League final.

By contrast Ronaldo could become the fifth player to win five European Cups, while Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Isco are all looking for their fourth Champions League winners’ medal.

Klopp said: “I’ve looked at the teams they’ve played and they have played really strong teams but they never played us and we are Liverpool.

“The team with the most goals (40) in the run to the final – it’s us. I can’t believe it but it’s true. We scored the most goals and had exceptional performances.

“We need to make it as difficult as we can for them. We cannot try to fight on their level but tactics in football are there to bring a better opponent to your level and when they are on your level you can beat them.”

Zidane, when asked for the secret of his success, said: “A lot of hard work and a lot of talent. Definitely a lot of hard work. To reach a final is not easy.

“This is beautiful. This is my passion, I’ve always been a good competitor, I like to compete and behind all that is a lot of hard work – not only on my part but also the players.

“If you like to compete and want to work hard you can achieve what we are doing. For me this is entirely normal.”

On Saturday’s game, Zidane added: “We are not the favourites and Liverpool are not the favourites, this is a 50-50 situation and we have to play great to win.

“Real Madrid does not feel like the favourites in the dressing room.”



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