Wijnaldum: Last season is in the past - we want to reach the Champions League final again

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The Netherlands midfielder admits that lifting the trophy last year was a great memory, but is now looking ahead to making new ones this campaign

Gini Wijnaldum insists Liverpool are ready to send their fans on another Champions League rollercoaster ride.

The Reds resume their European campaign on Wednesday night, welcoming Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg to Anfield for their Group E clash.

It will be the first Champions League game Jurgen Klopp’s side have played at home since they were crowned European kings in June, and a carnival atmosphere, naturally, is anticipated.

For Wijnaldum and his team-mates, though, there will be no time for reflection. Having been beaten by Napoli in their opening group game, Liverpool need the points. The fact that they have reached the final in each of the last two seasons is, he says, irrelevant.

“What happened in the past is always in the past,” the midfielder told reporters. “We created great memories for ourselves [last season] but it is not something we should think about. 

“Of course it gives us confidence if you are in a situation like that but it is a totally different Champions League campaign: different games, different situations, different teams. We just have to make sure we are ready and not think about last season. 

“Yes, that is a great memory but we have to look forward to making it even greater and reach the final again. Not looking back but looking forward."

Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

The last time Liverpool played a European game at Anfield, of course, Wijnaldum lit up the night. His two goals were key as Klopp’s team produced a monumental fightback to beat Barcelona 4-0 in their semi-final, second-leg tie back in May. It could well be the famous old stadium’s greatest night.

Now, though, it is about taking care of business, and after four successive away games – at Napoli, Chelsea, MK Dons and Sheffield United – Liverpool are ready to enjoy some home comforts once more.

“It will be nice,” Wijnaldum said. “We all know how Champions League nights are so we will look forward to that. 

“I didn't know it was four away games, us players must be busy! We just see the fixture and think: 'We have to play there!’”

Liverpool hope to welcome goalkeeper Alisson Becker back into team training this week. 

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The Brazilian has not played since tearing his calf muscle in the opening Premier League game of the season back in August, but is hoping to take a significant step forward in his recovery.

Alisson has been working with goalkeeping coaches John Achterberg and Jack Robinson in recent weeks, and has made good progress. Liverpool, though, will take a cautious approach with their No.1.

Alisson will not be considered for the Salzburg game, or Saturday’s league clash at home to Leicester. The trip to Manchester United on October 20 has been pencilled in as a possible return date for the 26-year-old.

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