Jurgen Klopp was understandably delighted after he led his Liverpool side past Villarreal to reach the Champions League final for the third time in five years.
While he has overseen some incredible nights during his time at Anfield, the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss rates the win at Villarreal as highly as some of his most famous in the job.
“I think tonight is on par with other comebacks like the one against Dortmund or Barcelona,” Klopp said after the match.
“It was incredible to come back from 2-0 down when it looked like a third goal for them was more likely.
“When the second half started I saw that we were doing well, but we had to score.
“I’ve seen a lot of games but reacting how we’ve reacted here was incredible.”
In making it to the European final, Klopp became the first coach to ever reach the FA Cup, League Cup, and Champions League finals all in the same season.
“One only team can win a final,” Klopp said. “We’ve been through all the other rounds and we’re happy with what’s happening to us.
“We have reached three finals and we know how difficult that is. When they arrive we will be ready to face them. We’ll see how we prepare for them.”
Klopp‘s decision to withdraw Diogo Jota at half time came as a surprise, but his replacement Luis Diaz went on to be named player of the match.
??”[Luis Diaz had] a massive impact but I don’t like this because the next story is Diogo Jota was the problem,” Klopp said. “Not true. We had 11 problems in the first half but we needed fresh legs.
“I wanted Mo [Salah] and Sadio [Mane] high and wide but not in open play situations. We were not ourselves.
“But we were in the end. Luis, what a goal. He could have scored with the bicycle kick if he took it down but what a performance from him.”
Beyond the substitution, Klopp‘s words at the break appeared to spark a change in his players.
“We knew that in the first half they were very much on top of us man to man, but we didn’t comment on the physical aspect at the break,” Klopp said.
“I can’t tell you exactly what I told them. We talked about how we had to play football, to move look for spaces.”
Despite the win, the German showed no hesitation in paying Villarreal credit for their performance. The Yellow Submarine gave the Reds a real scare on the night.
“Such respect to Villarreal, a wonderful stadium,” Klopp said. “Unai [Emery] is doing an incredible job. It feels so special to us.
“We deserved it in the end. It was massive from the boys.”