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Euro glory would make Liverpool the best ever: McManaman


London (AFP) – Former Liverpool star Steve McManaman says his old club deserve to be hailed as English football’s greatest ever team if they beat Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.

Having already won the FA Cup and League Cup, Jurgen Klopp’s side face Spanish champions Real in Paris with a treble in their sights.

Liverpool narrowly missed out on a potential quadruple when Manchester City pipped them to the Premier League title by a single point on the last day of the season.

But the Reds can still cap an incredible season by winning the club’s seventh European Cup at the Stade de France.

McManaman, who starred for Liverpool in the 1990s and also won two Champions Leagues with Real Madrid, believes that would lift Klopp’s men into rarified air as the finest English side of all-time.

“For Liverpool to get three trophies and accumulate 92 points, having played every single game possible. I think that would be the greatest achievement, I really do,” McManaman told AFP.

“I think they should be ranked as the top. To get 92 points, in any other season, that effectively wins you the league. If Liverpool had got 50 points I wouldn’t be making this statement.”

McManaman is well aware of the rival claims to be considered the best ever, but he insists none would surpass Liverpool if they emerge from a marathon 63-game campaign with three pieces of silverware.

“Of the teams that have done the treble, everyone considers Man United in 1999 to be the best because they won the Champions League and the Premier League,” he said.

“It is a marvellous achievement. But when you look at it, they got knocked out in the League Cup quarter-finals.

“When Manchester City did it in 2019, they got knocked out in the Champions League quarter-finals. Even when Liverpool did it in the 80s, with that incredible team, they got knocked out in the FA Cup fourth round by Brighton.

“You will have Man United fans saying ‘he’s talking rubbish’. But when you put it all into context, I think it’s the best.”

– ‘They are like machines’ –

Klopp has dubbed his players “mentality monsters” and McManaman sees that unwavering focus as the defining characteristic of their success.

“That relentless nature. They just keep marching forward. They are like machines and that’s hard to do in modern-day football,” he said.

While McManaman talks up Liverpool’s place in the history books, the 50-year-old concedes there will be frustration in Klopp’s squad if they finish such a remarkable season with only two trophies.

Liverpool also have revenge on their minds after losing 3-1 to Real in the 2018 Champions League final, as well as being eliminated by them in last season’s quarter-finals.

“They need to win this game otherwise there will be a tinge of disappointment,” said McManaman before unveiling a street art mural outside the Stade de France.

The mural, on behalf of FedEx, showcases the defining moments of this season’s UEFA Champions League, a journey McManaman expects to end in Liverpool glory.

“It won’t be a failure but they will have missed an opportunity to win this incredible trophy,” he said.

“In 2018 Madrid were probably favourites because of their experience. They had been there and won these type of games. But Liverpool now are so successful, they are favourites for this game.

“We all know they have their tour around the city on Sunday. It is an occasion to be proud of but, god bless them, you would want to go on that tour with the Champions League in your hands wouldn’t you?”

Saturday’s clash stirs emotional feelings for Liverpool-born McManaman, who scored for Madrid in their 2000 Champions League final against Valencia in Paris.

“It brings back some lovely memories. I scored a goal, which is nice, but particularly when you win the game. It was quite surreal,” he said.

“I have divided loyalties of course. I’ve got too many friends in both camps and you want them to be happy. But I feel Liverpool are the better team. I think they will win and I want them to win.”

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