Rafa Benitez has given an honest comparison between his Liverpool side in 2005 and Jurgen Klopp’s in 2018.
13 years ago, the Spaniard won Liverpool the Champions League with an XI that started the game like this: Dudek; Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore; Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Riise; Kewell, Baros
On Saturday, Klopp’s Reds will take the field looking to do the same, with the starting XI picking itself: Karius; Trent, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner; Mane, Salah, Firmino
According to Benitez, Klopp’s side is superior, primarily because of the offensive options at the German’s disposal.
He does however say the heart and fight of both is similar.
Benitez told Sky Sports: “I think this one is better. We achieved what we achieved – they talk about the Miracle of Istanbul – but this team is better.
“If we talk about the money spent, my budget was £20m. The value of this team is so much higher.
“We had Stevie, of course, also some players with experience and quality, (Xabi) Alonso and (Didi) Hamann. We had players who worked very hard, we had a good balance.
“This team also has good balance but the three players up front can make a difference on their own. We had one player who maybe could make a difference on his own, and here they have three.
“The team spirit, the intensity could be more or less the same because it’s the Liverpool way, but what they have today is more quality, especially up front.
“Real Madrid has the experience and the quality to match them but Liverpool can do it. They have the intensity and the quality, the passion, the desire.”
We hope Rafa is right…
When looking at the two sides fielded in 2005 and 2018 (barring a late injury), we agree with Benitez that we’re stronger – but there’s still a number of players from Istanbul who’d make our team now.
A combined XI, in fact, may look something like this: Dudek; Carra, Hyypia, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Alonso, Gerrard; Mane, Salah, Firmino
That’s five Reds from the past, and six from the present!
Not a bad side, to be fair…
What would your combined XI be, Reds?