Toni Kroos has warned his Real Madrid team-mates they are in for a rough ride against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Kroos knows better than most what it means to face an opponent coached by Klopp, having gone up against Borussia Dortmund seven times during his time at Bayern Munich.
The midfielder won only one of those meetings and while Real did beat Liverpool twice in the Champions League in 2014, Kroos is expecting another draining encounter this weekend.
“My experience of him is it is always tough to play his teams.
“When we played against his team, it was difficult. We always had a lot of problems against Dortmund. Always.
“That is what I expect on Saturday also. His teams are always aggressive, they press you a lot – for 90 minutes. They are highly motivated.
“I expect a very tough game for us but with opportunities to win. I am sure it will be difficult but I am also sure it is going to be difficult for Liverpool.”
Klopp’s record in cups, however, is less impressive, with the German reaching five finals as a manager and losing them all.
“I hope his record doesn’t change,” Kroos said. “I didn’t know that fact but to reach a final is difficult enough.”
Mohamed Salah could prove the key to a different outcome in Kiev as the Egyptian hopes to round off his sparkling season in style.
Salah has scored 45 goals in 53 games this term and won England’s Golden Boot award after hitting 32 goals, a new record for a 38-game campaign in the Premier League.
“I have been very impressed by his numbers,” Kroos said. “I have not seen him that much but also, he has scored in important games in the Champions League, for example in the semi-final.
“So I think he is a very good player who could give us some difficult situations but we have to find a solution for him and the rest of the players. It is not only Salah.”
While Liverpool have made it to their first Champions League final since 2007, Real are chasing a fourth European triumph in five years and third in a row.
“This is what you work for,” Real captain Sergio Ramos said. “It is why you sacrifice and make all the effort.
“It is the reward for all the hours that you take away from your family and friends.
“You want to reach an elite level because you have to give up many things and there is no better reward than the Champions League.”
© Agence France-Presse