Alisson vows Liverpool won’t look back at last year’s Champions League final heartbreak


Paris in May is a memory that is proving hard to shift for Liverpool.

The club’s 10th European Cup final was a wretched affair from start to finish, with the frustration of losing to Real Madrid exacerbated by the horrific events outside the Stade de France.

For all that Liverpool dazzled last season, there is a nagging feeling that they didn’t show their true selves against Real and the UEFA technical report, published last month, argued that the impact of a long campaign caught up with them in match No 63.

Jurgen Klopp said after that 1-0 defeat that supporters should ‘book their hotels’ for Istanbul next June, so determined was he to put things right, but for one of his squad no extra motivation is required as they return to European action in Naples.

Alisson Becker arrived at Anfield in the aftermath of a Champions League final defeat in 2018 and he can sense the same level of focus to go one better. True, it is early to be making such declarations — not least as Liverpool’s form has been erratic — but the goalkeeper is positive.

‘The day after the final was really difficult because you are frustrated about the result and that you didn’t get your trophy, the main goal,’ said Alisson. ‘But in the end, we are footballers, we are professional players. We have to deal with that.

‘It’s really hard but I’ve learned to deal with it since I was a young boy. It is part of competition, win or lose. As a player you have to give a response straight after. I went to the Brazil national team and after the first match I wasn’t thinking any more about the final.

‘We can try to use that as an extra motivation, but we don’t need that. Being here, playing in the Champions League against a big club like Napoli in a really difficult groups stage is motivation enough for us.’

Liverpool certainly won’t be thinking about next year’s final yet, either. They face Napoli having struggled to find a rhythm domestically, but perhaps things will start to improve now Klopp is getting reinforcements back.

Thiago Alcantara is fit for the first time in four weeks, and new signing Arthur Melo is pushing for inclusion after being an unused substitute in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Everton.

Klopp, who will be without skipper Jordan Henderson until after the international break due to the hamstring damage he sustained against Newcastle, was playfully looking for omens last night and smiled when saying that being drawn with Napoli usually ends with his sides reaching the final.

His mood turned when a local reporter asked him if he felt Naples was a dangerous city — Liverpool’s advice for travelling fans has been to remain close to their hotels — and argued the question was impossible for him to answer as he has never visited as a tourist.

One thing he does know, however, is that his team have failed to properly turn up each time they have played here. That is something, he concedes, that needs to change.

‘Playing better than my previous three times here would be helpful,’ he said. ‘But I am a late bloomer. Let’s see.’


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here