Jurgen Klopp revelled in the biggest night of his managerial career on Saturday after winning Liverpool’s sixth European Cup, ending his own run of six straight losses in finals.
Klopp had lost his two previous Champions League finals, against Bayern Munich as Borussia Dortmund boss in 2013 and last year against Real Madrid, as well as the 2016 Europa League final and three domestic cup finals in Germany and England.
“I’m so happy for the boys, I’m so happy for my family, they suffer every year when we go to a final … they deserve it more than anybody,” Klopp said to BT Sport after the Anfield side defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid.
“It’s maybe the best night of my life.”
Liverpool clinched their first European trophy since 2005 thanks to Mohamed Salah’s early penalty and a late Divock Origi goal. Klopp hailed his side’s guts to win the trophy despite obvious tiredness.
“Did you ever see a team like this, fighting with no fuel in the tank any more?”
“This is great for our development because it’s always like we’d be doing good steps but people say ‘so what you didn’t win anything’.”
Managers in Germany are usually doused in beer after winning a trophy but when asked about that tradition, Klopp laughed: “Usually 20 minutes after the game I’m already half pissed, and here I didn’t even get a water!”
The German came in for high praise from defender Virgil van Dijk, who was named man of the match after another outstanding display.
“He’s a fantastic manager, first and foremost, but he’s a fantastic human being as well,” said the Dutchman.
“It’s a pleasure to work with him, but also with the rest of the coaching staff, all the people that work at Melwood (training ground).
“It’s an amazing environment to be in, and I’m very glad and very proud that he wanted me to play for this beautiful club.”
Van Dijk will have little time to rest as he heads off to Portugal for the Nations League, with the Netherlands facing England on Thursday.
But before that he will return to Merseyside to celebrate with the rest of the Liverpool squad.
“It’s going to be a tough two nights, but I don’t care, I will just enjoy every bit of it,” he said.