SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: Two ‘failures’ to contest the Champions League final

Gareth Bale (centre) celebrates another Real Madrid goal.
Gareth Bale (centre) celebrates another Real Madrid goal.
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So the Champions League final will be between the fourth best team in England and the third best team in Spain.

Two sides who have failed their biggest test this season, that of winning a major league title, which is the only true way of measuring a club’s strength and progress.

I want Jurgen Klopp to be a success.

I want Jurgen Klopp to be a success.

Despite its clumsy title, the Champions League is a cup competition. Teams can get lucky and be successful. The winners on Saturday night in Kiev will not be the best team in Europe.

They will not be the true champions of a continent as that would be Manchester City, Barcelona or Bayern Munich, the clear winners of the big three league competitions in Europe.

I don’t agree that the pressure is all on Real Madrid this weekend either. They are the warmest of favourites, but they win trophies pretty much every season. Liverpool don’t. In fact they rarely win anything, nothing in fact since Jurgen Klopp was appointed as manager.

I know Klopp is about to complete just his second season at Anfield, but he’s not exactly a serial winner. He is a serial runner-up with a terrible record in finals.

Liverpool star Mo Salah.

Liverpool star Mo Salah.

The pressure is all on Liverpool, particularly Klopp. Sure Liverpool play entertaining football under their charismatic German, but they haven’t won anything.

Liverpool really need to beat Real Madrid to turn a relatively average season into an unforgettable one.

In 2016-17 Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League with 76 points.

They have again finished fourth in 2017-18, but with one fewer point.

Dejan Lovren is not a Liverpool star.

Dejan Lovren is not a Liverpool star.

Yes I know they had no Champions League football to contend with the season before last, but they also didn’t have Mo Salah (right) either.

They’ve stalled despite non-stop goals from a prolific striker, one with a decent shout of making the prestigious Ballon d’Or a three-horse race for a change, as long as the Reds are successful in Kiev on Saturday night.

I believe they will win in Kiev and I hope they do. I’m not one of those who place club tribalism ahead of supporting English teams against foreign opposition. Most Manchester United and Everton fans will be wearing Madrid white on Saturday.

Madrid didn’t impress me against Paris Saint Germain, Juventus or Bayern Munich, but they obviously know how to win the biggest games.

But the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo, the recent resurgence of Gareth Bale and the presence of Dejan Lovren and Loris Karius in the Liverpool defence will make Madrid over-confident and Klopp’s men have the attacking threat to take advantage.

Luck has been on LIverpool’s side with refereeing decisions as well. If that continues they will win.

I like Klopp and his team and I hope they are celebrating hard on Saturday night, but Liverpool would still be the fourth best team in England.