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Liverpool’s latest band of misfits on the verge of another unlikely European Cup

Jurgen Klopp was considering the reality of facing Real Madrid. “They are more experienced,” the Liverpool manager said Monday. “It’s a fact.” As Real have become the first team to retain the Champions League in its current incarnation, that is undeniable. But Liverpool have different experience.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal They go to Kiev with a collection of personal tales that makes them both improbable winners and a team in keeping with the club’s European history. Once again, Liverpool have assembled the unlikely lads.

They are the relegated and the rejected, the unwanted and the underestimated. It is mentioned with increasing frequency that Andrew Robertson was a part-time player just six years ago and that his Hull City team were demoted in 2015 and 2017. What is referenced less often is that Georginio Wijnaldum was part of the Newcastle United team that went to the championship in 2016. At that point, Trent Alexander-Arnold had yet to make his first-team debut. A player who had been described as a No. 6, a holding midfielder, in Steven Gerrard’s 2015 autobiography did not make his senior bow until October 2016; it came against Tottenham, whose manager, Mauricio Pochettino, thought the teenager should have been sent off. He did not start a league game until 2017. In 2018, he will begin a Champions League final and go to a World Cup.287

Loris Karius did not begin 2018 in the Liverpool goal. If others are more established, it is easy to envisage situations in which their careers took very different paths, sliding-door moments that could have taken them to mid-table, to obscurity, to anywhere other than a Champions League final.

Jordan Henderson has recently recounted how Brendan Rodgers told him he could go to Fulham as part of an exchange for Clint Dempsey in 2012. Instead, he could join Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard in the ranks of Liverpool’s European Cup-winning captains. If a late injury rules Henderson out, nike cheap nfl jerseys that mantle could instead pass to James Milner; the same Milner some of the club’s power brokers were willing to let sign for Newcastle last summer, the same one who spent last season playing left-back and has not merely been reinvented as a midfielder but has recorded more assists in a single season than any other player in Champions League history. That, to even the biggest fan of the versatile, selfless, perennially underrated Milner, still feels illogical.