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HARTE OF THE MATTER: On the Champions League Final

Last Saturday night's game exposed Liverpool's frailties

Jimmy Harte

Reporter:

Jimmy Harte

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Sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Heart of the Matter

Mo Salah is helped from the pitch on Saturday night

The last time Liverpool won a Champions League Final was against AC Milan in very dramatic fashion. This time they lost in dramatic fashion.

Last Saturday's game was to be a defining moment for the current English Premiership and it was down to Klopp, who had assembled a team based on attack, belief and loyalty. 

This wasn’t the Liverpool underdogs of 2005, this was meant to be more akin to the old days again.

Liverpool's appearance in a European Cup Final brings back many memories of the ‘70s and ‘80s when they dominated domestic and European competitions.

The winning days of Emlyn Hughes, Kevin Keegan and our own Steve Heighway were common place and they were unstoppable. Bob Paisley was the man who started it all. Now it was Klopp who had the chance to achieve their former glory for the sixth time. 

I thought they were all set, as Real stuttered to the final whereas Liverpool had a great campaign.  

Their presence in the final is always watched by many Irish throughout the world. Liverpool is almost a city of Ireland and travelling in a taxi in Liverpool it is odd if the driver hasn't Irish connections. 

And so to the final on Saturday in Kiev. Zinedine Zidane's side were looking for a 13th European Cup win, and an unbelievable third successive victory under the Frenchman's guidance. Klopp's Reds have been winning praise all season for their attacking play, and were hoping the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane would get them to a sixth.  However the result on Saturday night exposed the frailties that exist in Liverpool. 

I watched the game in the Central Bar in Letterkenny where it was packed with excited Liverpool fans of all ages, only for disappointment to surface.

Liverpool had the edge over the Spaniards in the first half until disaster struck.  Klopp, admirably, has, through thick and thin stood by his players all year, particularly Lovern and Karius.

His loyalty seemed to have paid off. Ironically Lovern had one of his best nights in a Liverpool shirt, Karius had his worst.  A game he will want to forget, but never will. Where he goes from here is a good question, backwards I fear. 

I'll say one thing for Klopp, as he signed Mo Salah when he was just a good player not a great player, he has built a team with great potential. But his next real test is how he reacts to this goalkeeping situation. Where does his loyalty lie now?