Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised Champions League final opponents Real Madrid and dismissed any notion that the Spanish giants have a weakness – but did hint that they may be able to find some space for Mohamed Salah to exploit.
Klopp was speaking to Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler for The Mirror when Fowler asked him about Madrid left back Marcelo possibly being a weakness for the Reds to attack.
Klopp was keen to underline the Brazilian’s quality, saying: “You saw it, everybody saw it, seems obvious: ‘Marcelo, what an offensive player, but…he can’t defend’.”
He did however go on to say: “Real need four chances to score twice. Bayern needed eight to score one. They are experienced from head to toe. There is no weakness. Football is not so easy that you can say, ‘If Marcelo (right) makes that run, and we leave Mo Salah there in that space, Salah gets in against Ramos’.
The German also insisted that this final would be different to the Europa League Final defeat to Sevilla in 2016, saying: “This time it is completely different. The game in Basel (against Sevilla) we were ‘dead legs’, no energy any more. We couldn’t strike back. The road to Basel and Kiev was similar, but we are now a better football team of course.”
Whilst Klopp may not publicly be stating that Marcelo is a weakness, Liverpool will be well aware of his tendency to push forward too far and abandon his defensive responsibilities. Especially considering they have one of Europe’s most potent wingers in their side in Mohamed Salah.
In what could be a high scoring final, the space left for Salah to attack could be key.