Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal hoping to be back for Liverpool final

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Dani Carvajal is dealing with an injured hamstring.

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal is keen to play make his return and play in the Champions League final on May 26.

The right-back injured his hamstring during Los Blancos’ first leg tie against Bayern Munich but says he has resumed to light training now.

“I have already started to play with the ball and I feel fantastic,” he told an audience at Francisco de Vitoria University, as quoted by Marca.

The 26-year old though is in no rush to push recovery and believes that could be risky.

“I have been without pain for days and I have my mind set on Kiev.

“I won’t take even the smallest risk.”

Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool will be Real’s opponents in the final as the Whites aim for a third consecutive European crown.

Mohamed Salah celebrates in Rome.

Carvajal though believes the Reds are not just a one-man team dependent on Mohamed Salah.

“No team reaches a Champions League final with only one player.

“They have done very well and their path has not been easy, they are there on their own merits and it will be a very exciting final.”

Zinedine Zidane‘s men will be bringing a 13th Champions League trophy to the club, if they manage to get past Liverpool and the Spaniard is proud to be part of Real’s recent successes.

“It is clear that this is a wonderful cycle for us,” said Carvajal.

“It isn’t easy to reach the final of the Champions League and it is clear that the club have been managed very well.

“We have had fantastic squads and we are in a winning team, hopefully claiming the 13th.”

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Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool have no option but to be ready for Chelsea

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident his players can cope with the emotional effects of qualifying for the Champions League final.

The 7-6 aggregate win over Roma in midweek, after a chaotic 4-2 defeat in the Stadio Olimpico, booked their place in Kiev to face Real Madrid on May 26.

Now Klopp’s players, who went back out to celebrate with fans being held back long after the semi-final second leg, have to raise themselves again for a crucial trip to face Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

“I have not a little bit of doubt about the mindset of my boys,” he said.

“It was a really nice thing to go to the final. The crowd were still in the stadium and the boys went there.

“That gave them a real boost. Before that they were exhausted. Done. Happy, yes, but Chelsea on Sunday.

“This little ‘mind holiday’ was really cool. We have to use the little gaps you have. We did that in Rome and then the flight back.

“It’s not a question of ‘are we recovered?’ – we have to be recovered.

“We don’t ask these questions ‘How do you feel?’ after that. It is all the process we are in.

“We have to do ‘that’, and then ‘that, and then ‘that’ – always in the right moment 100 per cent.

“We have times in between the games for the boys to switch off and it is only important we switch on at the right moment and everything can be fine.”

Sunday’s match is one Liverpool cannot afford to lose if they want to secure a top-four spot. A draw would effectively see them qualify for the Champions League again next season as their goal difference is far superior to their fifth-placed opponents.

After drawing their last two league matches, anything other than a point at Stamford Bridge and they face the prospect of having to win their last league match at home to Brighton, who by then may be safe themselves, or failing that the last resort is the final in Kiev.

It is why Klopp is so keen to get a good result this weekend.

“Chelsea is a really good game. When you go there you know it’s an intense game but it is always very important,” he added.

“If you can get points at Chelsea it is always a sign for the season, and that’s clear.

LIVERPOOL celebrate 1

“But we didn’t lose the last 12 games and now we go to Chelsea and have to win the next one. We are in a good moment. Intense, but good.

“In the Premier League, there are not many teams playing for nothing right now. Maybe Everton, Newcastle, Leicester?

“We had two teams with West Brom and Stoke, who were happy for a draw. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck.

“It’s intense, we have to play these teams. We had Everton too, which is always intense.

“A point there, and against West Brom and Stoke, is not exactly what we wanted. Chelsea is a different game, but we have to be ready. Hopefully we are.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Steven Gerrard will succeed in management, says former Liverpool team-mate Hamann

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Hamann and Gerrard celebrate FA Cup glory in 2006.

Steven Gerrard will be a “success” in management after being confirmed the new boss of Rangers, according to his former Liverpool team-mate Dietmar Hamann.

The Kop icon, who has been coaching Liverpool’s under-18 and under-19 sides in various leagues and tournaments since January 2017, now has the task of taking on his former manager at Anfield, Celtic’s Brendan Rodgers, and restoring the blue half of Glasgow to their former glories.

According to Hamann, a man who came off the bench at half-time to partner Gerrard in central midfield and unleash the Reds’ famous comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul, feels the 37-year-old has what it takes to step into the dugout in the first-team environment.

“I think he will become a very good manager,” German star Hamann told Sport360° on the sidelines of the Swing Against Cancer golf event at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

“I saw him and spoke to him after he started working with the youth teams at Liverpool and I could hear and feel that spark in his voice. I could see it in his eyes, it was the same as he had as a player.”

Having played alongside Gerrard in the Reds’ engine room for the best part of seven seasons, few people knew the former England captain, on the pitch at least, better than Hamann.

Indeed, he feels Gers fans will see that same commitment and passion, of which Gerrard was famed for, throughout next season and the coming years of his four-year agreement with the Scottish giants.

“I think he will be a success because he is such a driven person and if he wants something he usually gets it. Whether Rangers is a good first step or not, is not for me to say or not for me to judge.”

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: James Milner of Liverpool talks with Jordan Henderson of Liverpool after the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns on April 21, 2018 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Lynchpins: Jordan Henderson and James Milner.

Meanwhile, ahead of this season’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, Hamann insists the current Liverpool side is not comparable to the Rafael Benitez team he was part of that won the competition over a decade ago.

He said: “I think we were the exact opposite because we were a defensive-minded team and didn’t concede many goals.

“But, we didn’t score many either. Jurgen Klopp’s team are completely different and are better in defence now since Virgil van Dijk’s arrival and more free-scoring.

“Still, they are prone to the odd mistake at the back which is something we didn’t do in 2005.”

He also praised the work of experienced midfielders, Jordan Henderson and James Milner, for their role in helping to provide the buffer and assurance for attacking trio Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, allowing them to do the business at the top of the pitch.

“You’ve got to compliment and give the front three the freedom and security to do what they do. For that, you need defensive-minded players who keep the balance of the team and defend when they need to.

“I think Henderson and Milner have done a fantastic job because although we all talk about the front three, we also have to acknowledge the fact that you need a functioning team for them to prosper and that’s what they help provide.

“I wouldn’t want to put a Mane or a Salah over a Henderson or Milner or even a Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andrew Robertson because I think they all do a fantastic job for this team. The make-up of the side at the moment works really well.”

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