Mark Lawrenson: Underdog Klopp shouldn’t curb attacking style

European Cup winner Mark Lawrenson gave us his thoughts on Saturday's big match, and he doesn't think Liverpool need to compromise their offensive approach...

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Klopp’s lost his last five finals but in almost every one he’s been an underdog. That’s because in general his teams haven’t been as good as the teams they were playing. His Dortmund side against Munich in his previous Champions League final were unlucky on the night and could’ve won it with a break here or there.

I wouldn’t have a problem with his finals record at all. It’s more important how well he has done getting his teams that far.

People will talk about how he hasn’t won these games, but my God, he’ll have won three “finals” in the earlier rounds just to get to the real final!

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And they’ve made it this far playing their best team and setting them up to play open, attacking football, so there’s no need to change that now.

Sometimes they come unstuck playing this way – it happens to even the best teams. Look at Barcelona against Roma, Real Madrid in the home game against Juventus. That happens because you’re playing the top teams in the world.

But his style of play, especially in the Premier League, would make Liverpool, along with Man City, every neutral’s dream team to watch.

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (C) celebrates with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) and ings at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between AS Roma and Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on May 2, 2018. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

And they generally win playing that way too.

Liverpool have done so well to get here, and they’d obviously love to win it now, but they’re up against serial winners going for three in a row.

The magnitude of the task is huge. They’re not favourites, but I don’t think the result matters that much for Liverpool longer term.

I know people will say they’ll have to sell Salah if they lose, but that won’t hinge on the result here. It’s ultimately a personal decision for a player to make.

It would be absolutely fabulous for Liverpool to win it, but would it change the football club if they didn’t? I don’t think so.

The club is on the up either way. You look at the new stand, the investment in Van Dijk, Naby Keita is coming in the summer, and they may make a few more signings.

Klopp is very good at handling the transfer issues too. There isn’t much messing about with rumours, they just announce signings, and that’s the way the club has always been.

It’s very difficult these days to keep anything quiet, but generally if Liverpool want a player, they make the decision and do the deal.

When you look at the business side of the club as well, they’re cash rich at the moment. They were well-placed before the Coutinho money came in, but that has helped.

And they’ve been spending the money wisely too.

People will say the fee for Van Dijk is a lot of money, but is it really that much these days? The money Liverpool will make from the Champions League this season – I’ve seen figures of £70m being mentioned – you wonder whether it is or not, especially as Van Dijk’s been a big part of this run.

If someone comes in for one of their players with a huge offer they won’t want the player to go, but if he does, the owners will give money to the manager and say “keep doing what you’re doing”, because he’s going out and buying players and making them better.

There aren’t many players who Klopp’s worked with who haven’t improved thanks to him. That’s the sign of a really good manager.

Look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season. He’s been at a top club before, been an international, and Klopp’s thought he can improve him, so if Liverpool pay £30m for him, in the end, he could be worth double that. That signing was a no-brainer for Klopp because he knows he can make him better.

And that’ll continue, whatever happens on Saturday night.

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