Klopp warns Europe: 'This is still only the start'

Jürgen Klopp wants his European champions to "make the next step now and leave a big mark".

Jürgen Klopp is hoisted aloft by his players after Liverpool's final victory in Madrid
Jürgen Klopp is hoisted aloft by his players after Liverpool's final victory in Madrid ©Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp's pre-match prediction proved to be spot on – all good things do come in threes.

FINAL AS IT HAPPENED

Having gone agonisingly close to UEFA Champions League glory with Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and in Kyiv 12 months ago, the German finally got his hands on the European Cup at the third time of asking at the Estadio Metropolitano on Saturday evening.

Jürgen Klopp on Liverpool's Madrid glory
Jürgen Klopp on Liverpool's Madrid glory

Twenty-four hours previously, Klopp had joked about being the world-record holder at winning semi-finals. Needless to say, those last-four triumphs – however dramatic – pale in comparison to the sweet taste of victory on the grandest European stage.

"Unbelievable! Finally! Finally we've been able to do it," he told UEFA.com. "[Winning it feels] much better than passing it by a few inches. I'm very, very happy for all my players, our fans, our owners, for my family. It was an intense season, with the most beautiful finish I ever could have imagined."

Granted, this was not the type of relentless, 'heavy-metal' display we've come to expect from Klopp's charges in recent campaigns. Having taken an early lead through Mohamed Salah's penalty, the Reds had to dig deep to survive a second-half Tottenham onslaught before Divock Origi's clinical finish sealed the win late on, laying to rest those painful memories of the 2018 final.

Highlights: Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool
Highlights: Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool

"I couldn't be more proud," said Klopp. "[The players] deserve so much credit. They are all Champions League winners. Whatever happens in the future, nobody can take that away from them.

"[After last season] we were brave enough to try it again, to get [to the final]. We had all these difficult questions to answer in the last couple of weeks and we were cool enough to do the job tonight. So I'm really happy."

Captain Jordan Henderson – who shed tears of joy at full time following a typically selfless performance – paid tribute to his boss after the victory, admitting that this latest chapter in the club's illustrious European history would have been "impossible" without the Stuttgart-born tactician.

Jürgen Klopp has finally got his hands on the trophy
Jürgen Klopp has finally got his hands on the trophy©AFP/Getty Images

"You go through tough times in a season, but what he has done since coming in is unbelievable," said Henderson. "There's such a togetherness; he has created a special dressing room. All the praise goes to the manager.

"It's the best moment of my life. This is what I've dreamed of since I was a kid. Now we must keep going and kick on."

Klopp echoed his skipper's sentiments, emphasising the need for Liverpool to bring more silverware to Anfield in the coming years.

"It's like this is still only the start," he said. "This club is about winning. [This triumph is] very important, as you can imagine. It helps our development a lot. So we can make the next step now and leave a big mark. It's brilliant."

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