Liverpool UCL Winner: Reds “Immature” In 2018 Real Madrid Final Defeat
Liverpool Champions League winner Vladimir Smicer says his former club are in a much better place to beat Real Madrid on Saturday than 2018.
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Jurgen Klopp’s men face the newly crowned La Liga champions in Paris on Saturday night four years after their 3-1 defeat in Kyiv, but the former midfielder has warned Madrid the Reds are much better equipped this time round.
“I was there in 2018 and I think we were a little bit immature,” Smicer told BoyleSports, who is celebrating his 49th birthday today (Tuesday).
“We were still a young team in comparison to Real Madrid. Now four years later, I think our squad is much better than it was. We’ve got Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker and are a much better team than then.
“Both Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior have shown a lot of quality. They are their decisive players who can make a difference. I hope we prepared for them, but defensively, we have great players. Van Dijk, Robertson, Trent, Alisson in goal, I hope we can cope with them.
“Who to start in the front three is a very difficult question, but I’d choose Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. These three are the best options at the moment and have the best form of all the attackers.”
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Smicer, who scored in the 2005 final, also revealed what Rafa Benitez said at half-time to help Liverpool overturn a 3-0 deficit to beat AC Milan on penalties.
“Rafa believed we could still win it,” he added.
“He believed it wasn’t over as we still had 45 minutes. All the players were down because we knew it was a once in a lifetime chance to win the Champions League.
“He was calm though and he said we had to change the system and some players. Everything he did was right and everything in the second half worked.
“In the dressing room afterwards, we weren’t even celebrating, we were just thinking: Did this really happen? We actually won? It was definitely the highlight of my career.”
Happy Birthday @VladiSmicer11
— BoyleSports (@BoyleSports) May 24, 2022
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