Liverpool Real Madrid Live: Having not featured for Liverpool since sustaining a back injury in mid-March, Emre Can’s return to training means the midfielder is in contention for a place in the matchday squad.
“He’s a nice option and that’s why he is with us,” the manager explained to Liverpoolfc.com on board the flight to Kiev, while also confirming that James Milner is fully fit again.
As injuries mounted for the Reds in the final weeks of the season and they balanced their European adventure with Premier League commitments, Klopp was unable to make significant changes to his team.
In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final.
Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman’s double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate.
Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez – who is on loan at the German club from Real – set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track.
A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane’s 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum’s first away goal in almost three years.
A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko’s strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan – including a penalty with the last kick of the game – came too late for Roma.
But with Adam Lallana another notable returnee with several weeks of training under his belt, the boss expects to name the strongest substitutes’ bench for ‘weeks or months’.
“We are as fresh as we can be after this two weeks; fitness will not be an issue,” the German told reporters at his pre-match press conference inside the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
It is a similar story for Real coach Zinedine Zidane.
The ankle injury suffered by Cristiano Ronaldo against FC Barcelona earlier this month has fully cleared, leaving the Frenchman with the luxury of a selection headache.
“Cristiano is good, if he’s not at 150 per cent, he’s at 140 per cent and that’s not bad! Tomorrow it’s the last game of the season – he lives to play games like this,” said Zidane at his own media briefing on Friday.
On the difficulty of selecting a XI, he continued: “I have to take decisions. All our players are good players and there’ll be a lot left out and on the bench.
“We think as a team. A player can be disappointed, but when the game starts, he’s with the team and we need to continue to do that. We’re a squad, a group.”