Rafa Benitez has claimed Liverpool’s current crop of European champions are better than the side he led to the trophy in 2005.
The Spaniard won the Champions League in his first season as boss at Anfield in 2005 after the memorable final in Istanbul.
Liverpool battled back from 3-0 down at half-time before beating AC Milan on penalties in the miraculous turnaround.
But Benitez has revealed two key reasons why Jurgen Klopp’s charges trump his old side.
Speaking to the Athletic, via the Star , Benitez said: “I have to say that the 2019 team is stronger already.
“The team that we had, what we had at this time was great team effort and a lot of character, as well as commitment on the pitch.
“This team have the intensity and the quality that can make the difference in games.”
Milan were considered one of Europe’s best teams when Liverpool overturned them at the Ataturk Stadium.
The Reds had beaten Juventus and Chelsea en route to the final, with a squad including the likes of Milan Baros and Djimi Traore.
Klopp’s side produced a miracle comeback of their own to lift the trophy last season, beating Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate, having been 3-0 down from the opening leg in Spain.
They also amassed Liverpool’s greatest ever points total of the Premier League era, yet still narrowly missed out on the title.
Benitez also came close to the title during his tenure, leading Liverpool to second in the 2008/09 season, just four points behind rival winners Man Utd.
But the 59-year-old is adamant he would not give back his Champions League winners medal in exchange for ending Liverpool’s wait for a Premier League title.
“I think you have to accept things as they come,” he added.
“It was a great achievement to win the Champions League after 21 years without Liverpool winning that trophy.
“You cannot choose one or the other one, you just have to enjoy the ones you do win.”