triumphs | 

Rival fans laughing at Liverpool are a million miles behind Jurgen Klopp's winners

Liverpool were clearly the better team and showed much more attacking ambition
Liverpool players on an open-top bus during the trophy parade in Liverpool.

Liverpool players on an open-top bus during the trophy parade in Liverpool.

John Aldridge

LIVERPOOL fans were mugged outside the Stade de France by horrible local thugs last Saturday - and then their team were mugged on the pitch by Real Madrid.

The 2022 Champions League final proved to be a night to forget for everyone associated with Liverpool, as the club's immaculately behaved fans were treated like dogs by the French authorities ahead of kick-off - and then Jurgen Klopp's side were turned over by a side that knew how to nullify their threat in clinical fashion.

I've given my views on the madness outside the Stade de France on another page of the Sunday World today, so let's focus on the football here and what was a painful watch for all with red-tinted glasses.

From my seat in the commentary box last weekend, I could sense things were going against Liverpool as they had all the big chances in the first half of the game, and failed to take any of them.

When that happens in a big game, history tells us it is invariably a bad sign for the team that does not take advantage of their domination - and so it proved.

The final analysis confirmed that Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois had a 10 out of 10 performance and the defensive line in front of him all had 9 out of 10 displays.

Liverpool were clearly the better team, showed more attacking ambition - and could have won comfortably if they were more clinical in front of goal.

Yet Real Madrid rode their luck and then got the goal they needed on a breakaway, with Liverpool unable to break them down once they got their noses in front.

Liverpool's assistant manager Pepikn Lijnders holds the FA cup Trophy and Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp holds the League cup Trophy as they celebrate from an open-top bus during a parade through the streets of Liverpool

Liverpool's assistant manager Pepikn Lijnders holds the FA cup Trophy and Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp holds the League cup Trophy as they celebrate from an open-top bus during a parade through the streets of Liverpool

As Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game, the difference between the two sides is they scored and we didn't.

That's hard to take when you are in a Champions League final, but Liverpool have to go away, lick their wounds and accept that this can happen at the highest level of the game.

Real Madrid have always been a pretty arrogant club that believes the world revolves around them, but I give their head coach Carlo Ancelotti credit for executing a perfect game plan and winning the biggest trophy of them all once again.

If you beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in one competition, you deserve to win it, so well done to them.

Inevitably, I had Manchester United and even some Everton fans tweeting abuse in my direction after the game and in the days since, but let's apply some perspective here.

United have put in their worst season in living memory and Everton had a pitch invasion and celebrations like that had won three Champions League finals just for staying in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, this was the campaign when Liverpool became the first English team to take their trophy wins past the 50 mark, with Manchester City needing another £5 billion of transfer spending and at least a decade to get near that total.

So you can laugh at Liverpool's expense lads, but it might be worth worrying about the mess your own clubs are in before focusing on a team who finished a million miles behind this season.

Aside from Manchester City, every English club would have swapped the season they have just experienced for the one Liverpool enjoyed.

They went closer to any time in history to winning the quadruple, won the League Cup and FA Cup and finished just a point behind City in an epic title race.

Klopp and his team served up some wonderful moments of magic, played a brand of football that is impossible not to love - and yet it was hard not to feel a sense of anti-climax at the end of it all.

Losing the Premier League title on the final day of the season after it seemed like City were going to bottle it again was tough to take.

Throw in the Champions League final defeat and you could understand why Liverpool fans fell flat when the team jumped on board an open top bus for a trophy parade on Sunday afternoon.

Yet this football club has always had special fans and they proved that again, lifting their own spirits to get out and cheer on the team as they returned from Paris and celebrating what was still a magnificent season.

More people showed up in the first mile of Liverpool's open-top bus parade than Manchester City attracted for their own badly attended parade to toast their Premier League win.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane holds the League Cup Trophy as he celebrates with temmates on an open-top bus

Liverpool's Sadio Mane holds the League Cup Trophy as he celebrates with temmates on an open-top bus

And we need to remember that while the last week of the season was tough for Liverpool, this club is in a wonderful place, being led by the best manager in the game.

The global reach of Liverpool is bigger than it has ever been and that will only grow so long as they continue to compete for all the big trophies year after year.

Honestly, if you offered me the same result for Liverpool next season, I'd sign up for it here and now as winning two major trophies is always a success.

Obviously, the trophies any top team would prefer to win are the Premier League and Champions League, but they are the hardest to lift and Liverpool were reminded of that in a tough end to the season.

What comes next is now on the minds of all supporters, as it looks like Sadio Mane is keen to move on for some reason.

There are also these ongoing doubts over Mohamed Salah's Liverpool future, and that all needs to be resolved in the next few weeks.

Yet this is a moment for Liverpool and Klopp and take stock of what they achieved over the last few months and celebrate their success.

Never forget that this is a great time to be a Liverpool fan and anyone who doesn't appreciate as much needs to wake up and smell the red roses.


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