Jurgen Klopp has thrown the Anfield welcome mat down to Wolves ahead of the Premier League title decider.
The Liverpool manager says Wolves’ achievements are ‘pretty special’ while he reckons head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is doing an ‘incredible’ job.
The Reds must beat Wolves if they are to have any chance of ending their 29-year wait to be crowned as champions, and hope leaders Manchester City slip up at Brighton.
While it seems the nation have already decided Liverpool have won the game, a happy Klopp cleverly used his press conference yesterday to expose the strengths of the team standing in their way of history.
“We think about Wolves. You get millions of messages and nobody speaks about the weekend,” said the German. “It’s all ‘unbelievable!’ and ‘all the best in the final’ but we play Wolves now.
“In this situation it looks like Wolves and Brighton are only there (already beaten), that City will win and we will win. But we have a game to play, and Wolves showed the whole year they have ambitions and can enjoy their football.
“They are seventh in an unbelievably competitive league, from getting promoted last year. It’s pretty special.
“They have played wonderful football, they have had good defending, sensational counter-attacking, they have scored in the right moments, stayed calm and composed. Nuno is doing an incredible job there, which makes our job pretty difficult.
“And on the other side, Brighton. It’s their last home game of the season, and I know this team are full of joyful footballers. They will try everything.”
Wolves excel against the big-name teams, having taken 16 points off the top six on their return to the Premier League, as well as knocking Manchester United and an inexperienced Liverpool out of the FA Cup this season.
Klopp has also been impressed with Nuno’s midfield and their defence.
“They are a talented team. It’s a big challenge when you create one style of play and then you realise in the Premier League you need another,” said Klopp.
“But they are not bad at creating and passing as well. They have (Ruben) Neves, (Joao) Moutinho, (Leander) Dendoncker in midfield – it’s quality. They created a style of play that all the players want to be part of.
“Apart from two or three games, they played exactly the same three players in the last line. That’s unbelievable, and pretty rare.
“They have good spirit, good match plan. This is not the first time we played a good counter-attacking team. We will be prepared I’m sure.”
Liverpool provided one of the biggest shocks the football world has known on Tuesday night, defying all the odds to reach the Champions League final by beating Barcelona 4-0 to miraculously overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit.
Klopp then knows only too well how games can change in an instant, and admits tomorrow could be no exception. But he says they must focus on simply playing the game.
“If you respect an opponent, strange things can happen,” he added. “Our last game was decided with a header from a free-kick; if you see the bunch of players and one head is in the right spot – and thank God it is one of ours – then City decides the game the next day with a shot from Vincent Kompany from outside the stadium. These things can happen.
“Wolves can score, Brighton can score and then everyone has to deal with the situation.
“I didn’t need any other signs that things like these are possible because they are.
“We don’t have to hope, we only have to play the game. Somebody else wants to hope for another result at a different ground – they can do that – but we only have to play the game because that is the most decisive thing.”