Rio Ferdinand accused Michael Owen of disrespecting Real Madrid after the former England striker claimed Liverpool still deserve to be considered the best team in Europe despite losing Saturday’s Champions League final.
After a season which promised so much, Jurgen Klopp’s side were left to console themselves with a domestic cup double after a painful night in Paris.
The Reds dominated for long spells but failed to find a way past an inspired Thibaut Courtois, who made nine saves on his way to claiming a deserved man of the match award.
A week after missing out on the Premier League title by the narrowest of margins, Liverpool, ultimately were left to count the cost of some less than clinical finishing as Vinicius Junior’s solitary goal gave Real their 14th Champions League crown.
Despite missing out on the two biggest prizes in English and European football, Owen believes Liverpool still merit the moniker of the best team on the continent.
He told BT Sport: ‘I don’t think he’d (Jurgen Klopp) change much about how he approached the game, that just happens some times in football.
‘I still think they are the best team in Europe I really do. On other occasions Liverpool would be having their name etched on the trophy this time.
‘The season they’ve had they are still the team to beat. Yes, Real Madrid have beaten them but you know as well as anyone a one-off game is a one-off game it’s exactly that.
‘I still think they are the most fearsome team in Europe and they’ve not got any of the big two trophies to show for that and that will be the biggest pill to swallow.’
Owen’s former Manchester United and international teammate, Ferdinand, however, argued that for all of their superlative football this season, Liverpool have fallen short of expectations.
He said: ‘I don’t think they are the best team, you’ve got to win the big trophies to be considered that. I think they are an unbelievably exciting team, their intensity, the points tally they’ve got this year, the consistency.
‘They’ve competed in every single game available to them but you’ve got to get your hands on the trophies to be called outright the best team in Europe.
‘I don’t think they can be considered that and that would be disrespectful to a team like Madrid who have done what they’ve done to the other best teams in Europe.
‘They beat all our top three teams in our league they got rid of them and got their hands on the trophy.’
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