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Liverpool announce 23-man squad for Champions League final against Tottenham

FOOTBALL By Mirror | May 31st 2019
Jurgen Klopp departing at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport [Courtesy]

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has named his 23-man travelling party for their mouthwatering Champions League final against Tottenham.

The Reds are preparing for their huge clash against their fierce Premier League rivals in Madrid on Saturday night.

Klopp and his players arrived at Liverpool ’s John Lennon Airport ahead of their trip to the Spanish capital on Friday, and there no notable surprises among the squad.

Teenaged striker Rhian Brewster was among the squad, while Roberto Firmino, who has been struggling with a knock and last played against Barcelona in the semi-final on May 1, has also been included.

Georginio Wijnaldum is another who is set to play on Saturday, and he admitted he never dreamt as a child of playing in a Champions League final.

The Holland international, unlike so many at a young age, did not grow up as a football-obsessed little boy.

Gymnastics was his preferred sport and, although he showed enough promise at football to join for Sparta Rotterdam's academy at the age of six, it still did not spark his interest.

The club gave their youngsters season tickets to watch the senior side but Wijnaldum passed them on to friends as he had no interest in watching.

Only when Sparta increased the number of weekly training sessions when Wijnaldum turned 10 did he finally realise it was something he should probably pay more attention to.

"I was interested in football but not like the younger kids who breathe football every day. I was interested in gymnastics," the Dutchman, who admits he cannot remember which Champions League final was the first he watched properly and only recalls viewing highlights of Liverpool's famous 2005 victory in Istanbul, told Press Association Sport.

"Yeah, that's why I don't know a lot of players! I didn't even go to the games. When I was at Sparta Rotterdam, they gave us season tickets, but I always gave them away to my friends so they could go with their families.

"Even now, I don't watch a lot of football. I was always a fan, but it wasn't my number one priority.

"When I was young I only did two days' training and one game a week. It wasn't really professional.

"That was OK for me, but then I started having to train four times a week, and so your focus becomes football, football, football. That was OK, because I liked it."

Liverpool squad: Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Brewster, Fabinho, Firmino, Gomez, Henderson, Kelleher, Lallana, Lovren, Mane, Matip, Mignolet, Milner, Moreno, Origi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robertson, Salah, Shaqiri, Sturridge, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum.


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