Jurgen Klopp believes his current Liverpool side is the best squad he’s ever taken to a Champions League final, surpassing his title-winning Borussia Dortmund squad.
The German boss is no stranger to Champions League finals, with Saturday’s decider against Tottenham the third he will have managed.
The first saw him take Dortmund, who had won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in the preceding two seasons, to face off against domestic rivals Bayern Munich in 2012-13.
Klopp's side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Bayern, who also ended Dortmund’s title streak that season.
With the domestic success of that Dortmund squad, it may surprise some for Klopp to declare this Liverpool squad superior, but the Reds boss explained why he believes that is the case.
“The proof of that was last season,” Klopp said when asked why he considers his current side better. “I had wonderful teams as you know, but since i came to England it was the best team I had here, all the boys together.
“Borussia Dortmund were a brilliant, brilliant team, even younger than the side here, but it was not that mature. We won the league and so that sounds little a bit strange, but this team showed all the maturity you need for being a big team over the season.
“It is just a description. It doesn’t lead to anything. It just gives me a good feeling.”
One thing this Liverpool side will posses over last year’s team, and that Dortmund squad, is the experience of having been to the final before.
It was something Klopp found lacking last year when compared to Real Madrid, who were in their third straight Champions League final.
Madrid would go on to win their third straight European crown with a 3-1 win over the Reds.
And Klopp believes the playing field is a bit more even this time around against a Tottenham squad playing in their first Champions League final.
When asked if that Madrid side had more quality, Klopp said: “Not potential but quality, and experienced like hell having won it three times in a row and so for them it was very simple to deal with all the circumstances around the game.
“It is 20 minutes after you leave the pitch before you can enter it again, all the party is going on around and you are sitting in the dressing room. It is a lot of time to think.
“That was a different level. This time the level is much more equal. That is how it is. That is why we feel different but we don’t feel halfway through.”
Despite that experience advantage, and the fact Liverpool were 26 points better than Spurs in the Premier League, Klopp is wary of labeling his side favourites.
“In England, I think people know how tight the game will be because it is Tottenham and us,” he said. “We won twice 2-1 and we were really good in both games and I think we deserved to win but the second game at home, especially, we were lucky as well.
“In Germany, they only look at the table and see that we had 26 more points than them and so we are clear favourites. It is different.”