‘Book the hotel’ – Jurgen Klopp’s comments haunt him as Liverpool boss admits Champions League return to Real Madrid may be impossible
I hope Jurgen Klopp still has a free cancellation on this hotel in Istanbul.
Any Liverpool fans who blindly followed his instructions in May 2022 will be desperate for terms and conditions right now.
That’s because the Reds look incredibly unlikely to deliver their manager’s bold prediction of an appearance in this year’s Champions League final.
Real Madrid were their tormentors again as the La Liga giants came from 2-0 down after 14 minutes to lead by three with 20 minutes remaining in a 5-2 win at Anfield on Tuesday.
Liverpool are well suited to misery at the hands of Madrid, having lost the 2018 and 2022 Champions League finals to Los Blancos.
But speaking after last year’s defeat, Klopp was in a defiant mood.
“I have a strong feeling that we will be back,” he said.
“The boys are competitive. We will have an exceptional group next season.
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“Where is it next season? Istanbul? Book the hotel.
Oops. Of course, any Champions League historian knows that ignoring the Reds is a stupid thing to do.
They overturned a three-goal deficit in seven minutes in the final against AC Milan in 2005.
Barcelona took a 3-0 lead over Anfield in 2019, only to be beaten 4-0 in the second leg.
There’s undeniably something about Liverpool and being three goals behind in Europe, but Klopp admits avoiding defeat in that last-16 draw requires a different scale of miracles ahead of next month’s trip to the Bernabeu.
And even the German who never says he dies has no hope that his team will honor this hotel reservation in three months.
“I think Carl [Ancelotti] think the draw is over and I think so at the moment too,” Klopp said after the game.
“But three weeks from now…that’s how it is in those times, the closer you get to the game, the bigger our chances become and the less likely it is that the tie will be over.
“Tonight when you see the game they are pretty good on the counter-attack and we need to score three goals. So taking a risk which could be tricky.
“But it’s really not on my mind…we’re going to try and win the game. Whether it’s possible or not, I don’t know now, but that’s what we’ll try and from there we’ll see.