Champions League

Benitez: Klopp's team better than mine

2018-05-23 16:29
Rafael Benitez (AFP)

Cape Town - Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says the current squad is better than his 2005 Champions League winning side.

Liverpool, who will play reigning champions Real Madrid in Saturday’s final, beat AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul after coming back from a 3-0 half-time deficit.

"I always say Istanbul will be the most emotional Champions League final ever because of the way we came back," said Benitez.

"We achieved what we achieved - they talk about the Miracle of Istanbul - but this team is better."

The 58-year-old, currently in charge at Newcastle, said that despite his Liverpool side boasting names such as Steven Gerrard, Dietmar Hamann, and Xabi Alonso, current manager Jurgen Klopp's attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane mean the present-day squad is better.

Salah (10), Firmino (10) and Mane (nine) have scored 29 goals between them in the competition this season, a Champions League record.

"We had Stevie, of course, also some players with experience and quality, Alonso and Hamann. We had players who worked very hard, we had a good balance," he said.

"This team also has good balance, but the front three can make a difference on their own. We had one player who maybe could make a difference on his own, and here they have three.

"If we talk about the money spent, my budget was £20m. The value of this team is so much higher.

"Liverpool’s intensity can hurt you but Real Madrid have the experience and quality to match them.

"Liverpool can do it. They have the quality. But sometimes in these kinds of games you pay for one mistake.

"It’s how you manage the pressure. Real Madrid have been managing this kind of pressure for a while and Liverpool are in a new situation, so it’s a fine balance."

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, Stadion Luzhniki 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Galatasaray v Porto, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 19:55
Schalke 04 v Lokomotiv Moskva, Veltins-Arena 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur, Camp Nou 22:00
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid, Jan Breydelstadion 22:00
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund, Stade Louis II 22:00
Internazionale v PSV, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Crvena Zvezda v PSG, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Viktoria Plzen v Roma, Doosan Arena 19:55
Real Madrid v CSKA Moskva, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 19:55
Valencia v Manchester United, Estadio de Mestalla 22:00
Benfica v AEK Athens, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Hoffenheim, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Ajax v Bayern Munchen, Johan Cruijff ArenA 22:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Olympique Lyonnais, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 22:00
Young Boys v Juventus, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 22:00
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