Has Jurgen Klopp built a Champions League winning side?
By Joe Harker
Liverpool beat Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League semi final. If they can do that against the side that Reds manager Jurgen Klopp describes as the "best team in the world" then they shouldn't have anything to fear from the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, one of whom they will face in the final if they can overcome Roma.
However, beating Man City doesn't mean Liverpool will go all the way and win the Champions League.
Liverpool have been drawn against Roma, arguably the team everyone else wanted to draw at this stage in the competition. Their passage to the final is not guaranteed though, as their opponents took out Barcelona and are no pushovers. Still, from the perspective of Klopp's team it is a favourable draw that will see Real Madrid and Bayern face off. Having to beat both clubs to claim the Champions League trophy would likely be the most difficult way to do it.
Louis Van Gaal, former Manchester United manager, believes Liverpool aren't favourites for the Champions League. He suggested they would struggle against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, and is backing the latter to win this season. He said: "In comparison to the other teams, especially Real and Bayern, Liverpool and Roma have less individual quality.
"If I have to bet now, I would put my money on Bayern Munich, which in my opinion has the best defence and a coach that adapts his team to the opponent, but who also assumes his own qualities, which is the key to success."
However, there are plenty who believe Liverpool can win this season and re-establish themselves among the top sides in Europe. Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph believes Liverpool aren't punching above their weight against the top sides in Europe. They are a big team killer, ideally set up to do well against opponents who like to attack, and arguably deserve their place in the final four of the Champions League. Scoring 39 goals in 12 games also helps as even the meanest defences in Europe may struggle to shut out Liverpool.
Things have changed in the decade since the club was last in a Champions League semi final. They have new owners and a bigger stadium but the most important factor is likely the manager. Klopp has instilled his side with a certain style of play and transformed Liverpool from a team that struggled to make top four in the Premier League to one that can go toe-to-toe with the best around and come out victorious. Perhaps they'll need a bit of luck but what team doesn't?