Thiago and Fabinho fit and ready for Champions League final, says Klopp

Liverpool's Fabinho (left) and Thiago Alcantara share a joke during a training session in Paris ahead of the Champions League final. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Liverpool midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho are fit and ready to feature in the Champions League final against Real Madrid, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday (May 27).

Thiago was substituted with a muscle issue in the first half of Sunday’s final Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fabinho has not played since hobbling off with a hamstring tweak during the 2-1 win over Aston Villa on May 10.

Klopp, who last week was pessimistic about Thiago and said he would likely miss the clash in Paris on Saturday, broke the good news to Liverpool fans at a news conference at the Stade de France.

“It looks good for both Thiago and Fabinho,” Klopp said.

“Fabinho has trained normal, Thiago trained with the team yesterday and will train today and then we’ll go from there. Mood is very good, very excited about being here. Getting a feeling for the stadium and the location.”

A new pitch was installed at the Stade de France earlier in the week and Klopp had some concerns. There has been a rush to get the stadium ready for the final after St Petersburg was stripped of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Usually when the pitch looks new, it’s good news. But not in this case as it is new since yesterday,” Klopp said.

“We will have a normal training session and will see. I watched the referees with their session and the ball looked to drop normal.

“Somebody thought it would be a good idea to bring a new pitch the day before the game, but didn’t kill my mood. Both teams have the same circumstances so I’m fine with it.”

Klopp thinks Real Madrid will have a small advantage in terms of their experience having reached their fifth Champions League final in nine seasons.

“If you look at the way Real Madrid celebrate those comebacks, then I would say they are the favourites,” Klopp said, referring to Real’s fightbacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the earlier rounds.

“I want us to be on the same level in these kind of things. I want us to be completely ourselves in this game – if we are on the top of our game we are difficult to play (against). My main concern is for us to be ourselves and be confident.”

The German believes his team have “grown” since their 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final and that match will have no bearing on Saturday’s game.

“We delivered that night and circumstances hit us. We couldn’t react and arrived on three wheels. Key players came back from injured. Mo (Salah) got injured. Our goalie had a concussion," Klopp said.

“Things happened. You have to learn to win. The boys developed in the last few years enormously. We are part of a massive club. What happened in 2018 was important but (winning the title in) 2019 was more important.” 

Liverpool have won the Champions League six times, while Real have 13 titles. The two teams have met eight times in the European Cup, with Real winning four times and Liverpool three.

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