Liverpool: Champions League win can spark new era, says Ian Rush

Ian Rush
Ian Rush also played for Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United and Newcastle United
Champions League final
Venue: Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Madrid Date: 1 June 2019 Time: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Liverpool icon Ian Rush believes winning the Champions League can spark another Anfield era of success.

Rush - part of the side that dominated English football in the 1980s - says current boss Jurgen Klopp is close to the standards set by past glories.

Liverpool's record scorer said: "Bill Shankly started the foundations off, Bob Paisley took them to a different level.

"They are the levels everybody's been striving to get to since."

Rush added: "The fans won't be happy until they get to their standards but they're close now, 100%. If they can win the Champions League it will be a big sign that Liverpool are back."

The Welshman scored 346 goals for the Merseyside club over a 15 year spell that saw him win five league titles as well as the 1984 European Cup.

Liverpool face Tottenham in Saturday's final in Madrid, their second successive appearance in European football's showpiece under Klopp.

It comes in a season where they missed out on the Premier League title to Manchester City on the final day.

And Rush, who also played in Liverpool's European Cup winning-run in 1981, credits the former Borussia Dortmund boss and his personality for the way the club are back challenging at home and in Europe.

"He's a great man-manager, a great motivator and knows how to coach," the former Wales striker told BBC Sport Wales.

Georginio Wijnaldum with Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold
Liverpool beat Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals to reach their ninth final

"You can't take anything away from Manchester City - they've got an incredible squad, won the league, the FA Cup, EFL Cup, but Jurgen has given something a bit different; they haven't spent as much as Manchester City.

"It won't be easy to knock them off the top - if they cap the finances it may be a bit different - but we came to Manchester city's standards this year.

"I never thought we'd be so many points ahead of Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, but Jurgen's done that.

"Next season will be harder but if they can end the season with a trophy all Liverpool fans will be very happy because they love the manager.

"He gets on really well with the supporters, the players and the owners. Every time he sees you he gives you a big hug, so the next thing you want to do is give the next person a hug. He produces this positive energy to everyone around him.

"I remember him saying last year in Kiev that we probably over-achieved (to get to the final) but we're here now and that's the standards that's been set, standards you have to maintain and they've done that."

Rush admits there will be pressure on the side to beat Tottenham, adding: "To get to 97 points on not win the league and to get to the final of the Champions League….to have such a fantastic season and win nothing would be a bit of a disappointment."

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