Champions League final: 2018 Liverpool better than 2005 winners, says Benitez

Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminio
Liverpool beat Roma 7-6 on aggregate in the semi-final - they have scored 40 goals in this season's campaign

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says the current Reds squad is better than the side he won the Champions League with.

Liverpool, who face Real Madrid in this year's final on Saturday, beat AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul in 2005, having trailed 3-0 at half-time.

Benitez said: "We achieved what we achieved - they talk about the Miracle of Istanbul - but this team is better."

The 58-year-old Newcastle boss was manager at Liverpool from 2004-2010.

And the Spaniard said that despite his Reds side having boasted the likes of Steven Gerrard, Spain international Xabi Alonso and Germany star Dietmar Hamann, Jurgen Klopp's front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane gave the current team the edge.

Salah (10), Firmino (10) and Mane (nine) have scored 29 goals between them in the Champions League this season, making them the highest scoring trio in a single campaign in the competition.

"We had Stevie, of course, also some players with experience and quality, Alonso and Hamann. We had players who worked very hard, we had a good balance," he said.

"This team also has good balance, but the front three can make a difference on their own. We had one player who maybe could make a difference on his own, and here they have three.

"If we talk about the money spent, my budget was £20m. The value of this team is so much higher."

Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher with the Champions League trophy
Liverpool's comeback triumph in 2005 was their fifth victory in Europe's premier club competition

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