In a season in which former Jurgen Klopp player Ilkay Gundogan snatched the Premier League title from him, it could be a player he let slip his most damaging grip.
Brazilian sensation Rodrygo has really come of age this season and was Real Madrid’s man for the big occasion.
The 21-year-old has scored seven goals in his last 10 games to help Real seal another La Liga title, but his biggest contribution has been in Europe.
Rodrygo came off the bench to force extra time against Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals and then came the game of his life.
His two dramatic late goals saved Madrid from Manchester City in the last four and sealed a place in Paris’ showpiece game at the weekend.
And it should be normal for Rodrygo to line up against Liverpool given that if things had been different he would have played for them.
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During Klopp’s first full season in charge of the Reds, he tried to sign Rodrygo when he was just a teenager.
The flying winger was still plying his trade in his homeland but captivated Klopp so much that he personally traveled to Sao Paulo to further check on his development.
His agent, Nick Arcuri, told Canal do Nicola: “When Rodrygo went to sign his first professional contract with 16-year-old Santos, a director from Liverpool called me saying that Klopp already knew the player, had seen the material, had already come to see Rodrygo personally.
“He had gone on YouTube, searched for ‘talent from Brazil’, Rodrygo had appeared and he was very young.
“He came to Brazil and liked it. They contacted me, the Liverpool manager wanted him to be his first signing, Rodrygo.
Former City midfielder Elano was working as an assistant coach at Santos at the start of 2017 when he caught wind of Liverpool’s cut-price deal.
“I went to the board and said, ‘No, no, we can’t let him go for that,'” he told BBC Sport.
“It was an offer of only 3 million euros and the talks were already at an advanced stage. It was pretty much done. They had a verbal agreement but I insisted: ‘We cannot not do that”.
“He was only 16 at the time and, although the team had high hopes for him, it was not yet clear when he would play for the senior team. So I went to see Rodrygo and I I said, ‘We’ll be promoting you soon. You have my word.’
“Shortly after, I ended up taking the reins as caretaker manager and so, much sooner than expected, I was able to do what I had promised him.
“I brought him to train with us and gave him his first minutes as a professional footballer.”
Rodrygo ended up spending another season at Santos but a year later he was at Anfield signing for a new club… only it wasn’t Liverpool!
Most Kop eyes were on Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and former hero Philippe Coutinho when Brazil beat Croatia 2-0 at Anfield in a World Cup warm-up match in June 2018.
Yet, just yards off the pitch in a box at Liverpool’s historic ground, Rodrygo was putting the finishing touches on a move to Madrid.
On the eve of the match, Santos president Jose Carlos Peres met Real sporting director Juni Calafat at a cafe next to the Brazilian team’s hotel in Liverpool.
“Our conversation did not last more than 30 minutes. They had come to Liverpool to complete a deal and were unwilling to leave the table without one,” Peres told Bleacher Report.
At the time, Rodrygo had also attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, but he had Madrid at heart.
A few weeks earlier, the £40m star watched Los Blancos beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Champions League final.
Madrid haven’t won Europe’s biggest prize since, but if they have to beat Klopp’s Reds again, you can bet Rodrygo will have something to say about it…
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