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By Leonardo Burgueño, @LeoBurgueno
“If Barcelona had been the team I had seen for the first time at four years … I would have dedicated myself to tennis.”
A phrase to begin to understand Jürgen Klopp (50 years). A statement of principles from the German, which came to Liverpool in October 2015. He does not like possession very much. He loves vertigo.
With the English cast he achieved a transformation and, in these 31 months, he will play the second final of the Old Continent (the previous one was a 3-1 loss to Sevilla for the ] Europa League in 2016).
The European press is going crazy with Klopp's “Gegenpressing”. What is this? The answer to those fundamentals of the German and that can be translated as press, steal and run. A seal. A registered trademark of this Liverpool. That leaves from its center forward (Firmino), going through the ends (Salah and Mané), although it clearly becomes more intense in the three ruffles (the Milner and Wijnaldum interiors next to the midfielder Henderson), so that the back ones receive more calm the rivals
Because the “Reds” show a 4-3-3 that becomes a 4-1-4-1 when defending its goalkeeper.
And just the arc was the most controversial issue, because the coach made a change at a key moment of the season. On January 14, he received the undefeated Manchester City on Anfield Road and, that day, “Klopo” chose his compatriot Loris Karius on the Belgian Simon Mignolet. From that triumph 4-3 on the box of Guardiola, Karius never left the portico again (he did not receive goals in 10 of the 19 games).
Although, without a doubt, the key is in his star: Mohamed Salah . The Egyptian has 43 goals in the season (31 in Premier, 11 in Champions and 1 in FA Cup).
Lefty, skillful, fast, good one on one and with explosion that starts from the right to hook for your skillful leg. The Golden Ball candidate was Liverpool's second reinforcement for the season and came from Roma in exchange for 47 million dollars. “I had been following him from Basel,” Klopp said.
The winger was the author of the goal that returned his country to a World Cup after 28 years and, therefore, received a million votes in the presidential elections in his country in protest against the candidates who showed up.
Another point that improved in the transfer market, but in January, was the arrival of the most expensive defender in history: Virgil Van Dijk, who landed in exchange of 100 million dollars. A fact in favor of the Dutchman is that in 50 percent of the games he has played, Karius has not scored (10 percent improvement).
“I love fighting football. heavy courts and see the football players with dirty faces, not wanting to play for the next four weeks “, says Klopp, and hopes to take that mud to Real Madrid next May 26
In Kiev, he wants to erase that Champions League final he lost in 2013, when – on the bench of Borussia Dortmund – he lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich.
The formula is clear: “Gegenpressing”. Press, steal and run. A formula that took him to the Champions League final from the previous phase and elevated him as the tournament's top scorer.