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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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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