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Jurgen Klopp has insisted he is not an unlucky manager as he attempts to end a run of six straight defeats in major finals by guiding Liverpool to Champions League glory against Tottenham in Madrid.
Last season’s beaten finalists — Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev 12 months ago — are attempting to win their sixth European Cup by defeating Premier League rivals Spurs, who are contesting their first Champions League final on Saturday.
But despite going into the game as favourites, Klopp’s losing streak in finals is perhaps the only negative hanging over Liverpool.
The German has failed to win a major final since overseeing Borussia Dortmund’s 5-2 German Cup win against Bayern Munich in May 2012, with subsequent defeats in the Champions League final (twice), Europa League, EFL Cup and two German Cups.
But when asked in Madrid whether he was an unlucky manager, Klopp insisted his record in semifinals proves that he is not.
“My career so far was not unlucky, but my problems are that, since 2012, apart from 2017, I was with my team in a final,” Klopp said. “In the last seven years I am world-record holder in winning semifinals — I could write a book about it, but nobody would read it.
“I’m a normal human being. There can be moments that are unlucky and lucky, but I cannot change that. I understand luck as if you work for it, then you get it from time to time. The silverware is why we are here. There can be moments when you are lucky and unlucky, and there have been finals when we have not been on the lucky side, but that’s luck.
“I have not had an unlucky career and it’s not over yet. Could have been better, could have been worse. But if I will be the reason for losing six finals in a row, then everybody has to worry.”
Aside from Klopp’s poor return in major finals, Liverpool have also struggled to win honours in recent years, with the club securing just one cup this decade.
Last season’s Champions League final defeat against Real was their third successive loss in a European final, but Klopp claims that there is little to learn from what happened in the past.
“From last year [what have I learned?], a bicycle kick from 18 metres can be a goal as well,” Klopp said. “From the other finals, nothing really — the circumstances and the opponent are different. It was three strange goals last year. A goal of the year and two strange goals. But you accept it and go home.
“We are a completely different side from last year. The final was a starting point again for the next step, but from the game, there’s not a lot to learn. We are much more mature. We are getting older, we are a year older, players like Trent [Alexander-Arnold] have 50 more games in their legs.
“We’re really looking forward to a proper game, I’m sure.”
Klopp also confirmed that striker Roberto Firmino, who had missed Liverpool’s last three matches with a thigh injury, is fit for the final.