Sadio Mane says Liverpool are ready to right the wrongs of last year and bring the Champions League trophy back to Merseyside.
The Reds will head into Saturday’s final against Tottenham in Madrid as favourites, understandably given they finished 26 points ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the Premier League, beating the Londoners both home and away in the process.
Liverpool, of course, suffered heartache in Kiev 12 months ago, beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid on a night best remembered for Loris Karius’ errors, Mohamed Salah’s injury and Gareth Bale’s magic.
Mane scored that night, and has followed that up with a superb campaign this time around.
And speaking at Liverpool’s media day at Melwood ahead of the final, the Senegal star had a message for those who doubt his side.
“Everybody’s ready,” he said. “Especially you guys [the media]! I hope you are Liverpool fans! Everybody’s ready to win.
“Yeah, of course [last season’s experience] will help with this one because we wanted to win it and it was not the case. That’s part of football. At the same time I think it’s positive because many people, even you, didn’t expect us to play this final. We did it [and] I think we learned a lot from this.
“Now we can use our experience this season to get what we want.”Goal
Mane was in relaxed mood as he and his team-mates faced questions from a raft of media organisations on Tuesday.
He smiled when asked by one Spanish reporter about persistent rumours linking him with Real Madrid.
“Always this is part of football so we have to deal with it,” he said. “But for me the most important thing is Liverpool and I’m happy here.
“I’m preparing for one of the biggest games for the club and the fans and the players as well so let’s focus on this one first and win it.
“It’s always a pleasure that this kind of team wants you but don’t forget Liverpool. They are a big team as well. They beat big teams!”
With the exception of Naby Keita, who is ruled out with a groin injury, Liverpool should have a full squad to choose from in Madrid. Roberto Firmino trained away from the main group on Tuesday but is expected to be fit to start against Spurs.
It has been three weeks since either side played a competitive game, though Liverpool did beat Benfica’s B team in a behind-closed-doors friendly in Marbella on Saturday, and Mane believes the break will not be an issue.
“It refreshed everyone,” he said. “We would have loved to have kept going straight but that is not the case and we understand how this goes in football with different competitions.
“But we know how to deal with this kind of situation now. We had a few weeks to prepare the game and we are fresh again and go there with fresh legs.”
He added: “I think it’s just incredible and I’m so positive. We know we have targets - we want to win the league and the Champions League. We didn’t win the league but we still have one trophy to play for so we are going to try to give everything to win it.
“Hopefully we are going to win it.”