Georginio Wijnaldum doesn’t sense Liverpool are feeling any additional pressure ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final, but dismissed any notion of a ‘favourites’ tag for the clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

After a week-long training camp in Marbella concluded on Sunday, the Reds have returned to Melwood to continue to gear up for this weekend’s encounter with Spurs in Madrid.

Wijnaldum reports the squad are feeling relaxed as they maintain their preparations for a consecutive Champions League final appearance.

However, the midfielder does not subscribe to the view Liverpool head into the contest at Estadio Metropolitano with any kind of edge over Tottenham, based on their respective Premier League positions in the table, as he highlighted just what a difficult opponent Mauricio Pochettino’s men have proven.

The No.5 was speaking at a press conference as Melwood played host to a media day on Tuesday – read on for a transcript of what Wijnaldum had to say to the assembled media as he tackled questions at the top table, or watch the briefing in full in our YouTube video below.

On whether he’d play in an advanced role once again in the final if asked…

I prefer to play in midfield, but if the manager needs me there I will play anywhere. That’s a difficult position to play - and I think Divock or Sturridge are a better option [than me]! - but as I said, the manager decides where I play and if he needs me there, then I will play there.

On the importance of having Roberto Firmino fit for the final…

Really important. He sets the pressing from the front and we just try to follow him. Also, when we have the ball, he is like an extra midfielder. He is really important in both ways. Even when the [opposition] midfielders have the ball, he is trying to come from behind to take the ball off them. He’s an extra defender, but also a striker.

On whether he feels any pressure ahead of the game…

Personally, I don’t really have pressure. For me, it is just an opportunity to win a title. We just have to see how we’re going to react as a team. It’s always easier to speak for yourself because I control my performance and everything, but I can’t control the performance of the whole team. We have to make sure we are ready and give everything to win this game. If we have pressure, you will see on Saturday, but until now everything has gone well, everyone is relaxed. I don’t have the feeling we have pressure.

On what enabled Liverpool to stage their stunning comeback against Barcelona in the semi-final…

I think it’s the belief. I think after the 3-0 defeat in Spain [against Barcelona], if you don’t have the belief to change it at Anfield then it’s already impossible. We had the belief we could change it – and also because we were playing at Anfield. We know Champions League nights are special nights at Anfield and we can beat everyone, even with big numbers. We did it against Roma, against [Manchester] City – City are one of the best teams in the world and we still managed to win the home game 3-0. It was different circumstances, but even against Barcelona the belief was there to win the game 4-0.

On how he reacted to being left out of the starting line-up for the second leg against Barcelona…

First of all, it is a really disappointing thing for the player himself but in the end it’s a team sport. When you come on you don’t only play for yourself, you play for a team, you play for the supporters, you play for the club. At that moment, you have to forget the disappointment you have and just try to give everything for the team – that’s what I did. When you come on, you forget you are angry because you are playing, you’re trying to enjoy and you’re trying to succeed, which we did. In the end, I think even as a player, you forget you were sitting on the bench and the disappointment you had. I think that’s the best way to react.

On whether Liverpool are ‘favourites’ for the final…

To be fair, I don’t really think about favourites or something [like that] because in a game anything can happen. 90 minutes, or even 95 minutes, two teams will make a chance to win the game. I think everyone makes us favourites because we finished higher than them in the league and we won twice against them, but I think if you especially look at the second game we played against them, in the second half it was very difficult. For a long time, it was looking like the game would end 1-1, but with a little bit of luck, we got the second goal. If you compare the teams to each other, it is 50/50 and both teams can win the game. That’s why it is important for us to start the game well, focus and give everything we have.

On how Jürgen Klopp has been preparing the players…

From the first day we came back together, he was quite straight and said that the focus had to be on the Champions League now and we had to train hard. In Spain, we had a good training week, it was harder than normal because we’d had a few days off, so it was like a small pre-season. In everything he is trying to prepare us for the final; even with the boxes [rondos] he wants us to be 100 per cent concentrated with everything we do on the pitch. It is not different to all the other weeks we had, but we had a few days off, so we trained a little bit harder during the week in Spain. Also, because you have a few weeks before the final, you train differently, you try to train harder because you don’t have two games in between the games. We had a rhythm, we were training physically less and playing a lot of games, but we don’t have the games now, so you train slightly harder than normal.

On his relationship with Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko…

To be fair, with Moussa I have quite a good relationship from Newcastle. When I went there, he was the first player who brought me to eat something, so it was not even a Dutch player, even though there was a lot of Dutch players there! Since that moment, I have had a really good relationship with him. He came to my house a lot of times in Newcastle and even when we split, when he went to Tottenham and I went to Liverpool, we have still continued to speak to each other. We congratulated each other about [reaching] the final, but in the final we will not be friends for 95 minutes – and afterwards we will speak again. He is a special friend because, as I said, when I came to Newcastle he was one of the players who helped me to settle in.

On his and Divock Origi’s roles in the win over Barcelona…

Personally, I think everyone is the key in the final because you do it as a team. The better your teammates perform, it makes it easier for yourself to perform. Everyone is a hero in this case [against Barcelona]. A lot of people speak about Divock and I because we scored the goals, but the defenders defended Messi quite well, the midfielders did quite well and so did the attackers. Divock and I also got assists to score the goals, so also the people who gave the assists are heroes. As a collective, it was a good team performance and that’s why we have to praise everyone – not only the players who scored. A lot of times, not only now but in a lot of games, they only speak about the players who score goals, but you have also other players on the pitch. Against Barcelona, there were a lot of players who did their work - Alisson made a few really good saves, the full-backs were good, the midfield was good, everyone was good. But because Divock and I scored, everyone will praise us. I don’t think that is fair to the whole team because it was a team performance to achieve a comeback from a 3-0 defeat and win 4-0, I think that we did it altogether.

On whether Liverpool can use the experience of last year’s final or whether it’ll play on the players’ minds…

Everything can happen. I think what happened to us last year will help us this year. We experienced one final more, we played the final and we take that experience to this final. Hopefully we can bring this final to a better end. Everything can happen in a final, but I don’t think we are nervous or think that things can happen to us, to be honest. We take it more as an experience and that it’s something [making mistakes] we shouldn’t be scared of.

On his message to Liverpool fans…

A message to the fans? Thank you, for your support! Because of the fans, they make it happen, they make it possible to win that game at Anfield 4-0. I think it would be way more difficult if we’d played that game somewhere else. During the whole season they supported us quite good, even after bad results we had they were still there to support us. It’s a compliment to the fans. I don’t know what to say to the fans that don’t have a ticket, it is difficult and what can you tell them? That you feel sorry [for them], or something? I do feel sorry [for them], everyone deserves to be there, especially if you support your team during the whole season, but that’s something we cannot control. If there is an amount of tickets, I think UEFA decide where the tickets will go, so it’s not up to us that everyone can have a ticket. I would if I had them, but unfortunately I don’t have them.

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