Jürgen Klopp addressed the world's press at Melwood on Friday afternoon at a UEFA media day for next week's Europa League final with Sevilla. Here's the best of what the boss had to say...
When you first arrived here at Liverpool, if somebody had said the club would be playing a Europa League final at the end of the season would you have believed it was possible?
Yes, of course - we were in the tournament at that moment, so of course it was possible. I told the boys in the beginning, the first time we played in the Europa League, that there were something like 148 teams that started this tournament, and only around about 10 or 15 can win it - and Liverpool are one of these teams, so let's try it. That's why you are a part of this tournament, it's not about something else, it's only about winning. Now we are in the final and we have the same aim and the same target.
Is this an indication of how things have changed and developed since you've been here?
Yes, maybe the most obvious, but I've seen a lot of small things which you have not. Yesterday it was the Players' Night [awards] and there were difficult decisions to make for the fans and all the people who make these decisions because maybe for each award you could have named five or six players. That's nice and means something has happened this year, so that's good, it's very good. Obviously we've not had a chance to be champion of the league, but we could have had a chance to get to the top four but because of the number of games, injuries and things like this we couldn't get enough points, and sometimes because of performance of course. We have still the chance to go there, so that's what we'll try. If you cannot be number one, if you cannot be one of the best four teams, then you still have to develop - and that's what we did. The Premier League goes on next year and we will play again in this wonderful league, so we can use each experience from this year for next year, each sign we've made. That's what we'll try to do and that's what we will do. In this moment, as I said before the last game, it's a good atmosphere around Liverpool FC and we're really optimistic.
How difficult is it going to be to select your team for this game because everybody would love to play in the final, but some players are going to have to be disappointed?
Being disappointed is about the players. When they started playing football, they knew there is a number where the line-up ends - it's 11 or 18 or whatever. I only have to make decisions. I don't want to disappoint any person but maybe in this case it is possible. To be honest, I can do a lot of things in this job but I cannot do what everybody wants, not even for my players 100 per cent. In the end, it's all about LFC, it's all about the best performance, it's all about finding the best line-up and if it is the best line-up, we most of the time see that after the game. But we came to this final all together so if you can't feel this - that you were an important part in the whole way getting to the final - then I can't change [that], to be honest. Hopefully I have to make a few difficult decisions because that would mean we have a lot of players involved in training in the days before the game. That's what I hope at this moment and I don't think about difficult decisions.
You have a Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion first to think about, so how much prominence in your thinking will that take? How important is this match to you?
It's very important because we can step up two positions in the table. We don't have it in our hands, but the only way to climb the table is to win the game at West Brom, which will be difficult enough. Maybe they have not been in the best run in the last few weeks in the league, but they secured safety early in the season so they've never been in doubt about being relegated. That was quite a successful season for West Brom. They will [want to] have a good finish, 100 per cent. We will try to find the line-up to win at West Brom, that's my job and we will see what happens. For us at the moment, it's the most important thing in the world because it's the only thing we have to do. Sunday afternoon, playing at West Brom and, if possible, winning the game.
With the drama of the last three rounds – Manchester United, Dortmund and Villarreal – do you expect this final to be straightforward or will there be a few twists and turns on the night?
In all these games we were quite good and we need to be good in the final. We need to be good - there is no chance to win a final with 60 per cent of your quality. It showed us what we are capable of and what we have to do, minimum. That's what we will try for sure. It's an outstanding opportunity for us and we will be ready 100 per cent. We have to create an atmosphere in the team that everybody is able to enjoy this. That's very important because if you only feel the pressure - and there is pressure of course - then you have no chance. It's about playing the game and even the final is a game, so that's what we'll try to do.
How much have you felt the sense of anticipation grow as you've progressed through the Europa League that you might be about to deliver another trophy?
We had great atmospheres, wonderful atmospheres, the best atmospheres maybe in the world in this moment. Nobody else in the world was having something in this moment like the things that happened in our game against Dortmund. To strike back against Villarreal was quite good, the performance against Manchester United was quite good, from all of us, and that's what I like. When we adapt to the atmosphere, or the atmosphere adapts to our performance, that's what football atmospheres should be like. It's a development in all parts, and for a lot of people it was a little bit more difficult to enjoy Liverpool football in the last two years. Everybody was waiting for the moment when there was something to enjoy again and this team gave these moments back. That's nice, it's one of the signs of what we want, and we can use it next season.
How big of a factor is the fact Sevilla have won the trophy the past two seasons - do you feel that's a big advantage for them?
I don't think it's relevant but we will see. They are very experienced, not only because of winning finals in the last two years, but because they are a strong side, they defend well, they [have a] brilliant counter-attacking game, they have good footballers. They are strong, that's how it is. But we are strong, too. If we play our best, then it's a really open game, and open games you can win. If we don't play our best, then it will be quite difficult. Sevilla are not better than we are, we are not better than Sevilla, it's not about this. It's about doing the right things in the right moment, that's what's always important in football and we know the importance of these decisions. We are prepared but, in the end, we have to do and that's special.
Compared to the Champions League final of Dortmund v Bayern, how are your feelings for this European final?
I feel good to be honest. I know I lost the Champions League final but I know, too, that we were quite good in this game and that's all I need. It's football and I'm used to the situation that even when you play really good it's not sure that you will win. That's how it was in this final and everybody who saw the final will know that it was quite a close game against maybe the best team in the world in this moment. So I'm really confident about our performance because I know all the teams I was in finals with played really good so were always competitive and that's all that you need. I'm looking forward to this final and even though we lost the Champions League final it's not important.
Realistically, could you have asked any more from your first few months as Liverpool manager?
I'm not sure that it could be better in the case of the relationship with the club, the fans, the players. That's better than I could imagine, of course. But we could have more points. I remember still a few games where it didn't make sense that we lost and when I see now the table and how close it is you can see where we would be with a few more points. Other teams could say the same but I only think about us. On the Premier League side it could be better, but it's okay for the moment and we are even then still in the race. We will try our best again, see where it ends, and go to the final. We created a quite nice relationship in seven months.