Real Madrid vs Liverpool Preview

Real Madrid vs Liverpool UCL Final

The world will come to a standstill this Saturday when the battleground unfolds in Kyiv as Real Madrid and Liverpool take to the stage in the final of the UEFA Champions League.

Two teams with plenty of great history in the competition, but, it’s the present that counts the most. Both Real Madrid and Liverpool deserve to be where they are, and judging by the way they managed to get into the final quite comfortably, we’re in for a cracking finale. The Reds and Los Blancos boast one of the best attacking trios in world football, but in both sets of attacking forces, Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo stand out. Ronaldo seems to have an agenda against left-footed maestros, and their rivalry will probably go on into this year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony. Of course, the player who guides his team to Champions League glory will have a massive say when it’s time to hand out the awards, but for now, it’s a team effort, and there can only be one winner, so for one last time this season, let’s get straight into it!

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UEFA Champions League Final 
Saturday 26 May 
NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium 
(20:45)

To Win (90 mins)
Real Madrid 23/20
Draw 26/10
Liverpool 2/1

To Lift Cup
Real Madrid 7/10
Liverpool 11/10

Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be looking to break even more records should they win Europe’s elite trophy for a third consecutive year. Los Blancos became the first club in history to win the UEFA Champions League trophy twice in a row – in doing so, Zinedine Zidane made his mark as a manager, winning the prestigious cup in back-to-back years.

That alone was a tall order for ‘Zizou’, but the French tactician showed that he could overcome any difficulty standing in his way. There’s been a few whispers going around that Zidane might face the boot after Madrid failed to challenge Barcelona all the way in the league title race, but should he win a third successive Champions League trophy, surely that would squash any negative talk around the Frenchman’s future.

Madrid finished their season in a positive way, not by getting the results they needed, but by the players they welcomed back from injury. Dani Carvajal and Mr. Fantastic, Cristiano Ronaldo, shrugged off injuries to return last weekend, and will be fully fit in Kyiv.

Gareth Bale also returned to the fold a couple of weeks ago for Madrid, and there’s been question marks over whether the Welshman is back to his best. Bale’s form suggests that he deserves a starting berth in Madrid’s final line-up of the season, but coach Zidane has refused to give out any names that will start in Kyiv.

I haven’t got my starting XI for the Champions League final in my head. We’re ready,” he said.

Speaking on Bale, Zidane gave nothing but positive comments ahead of the final.

At no point has Bale thrown the towel in. He’s training well and the only thing that’s changed is that he’s now scoring goals, as he has done in the last few games. I’m pleased with his performance and what he brings to the team. Nothing has changed,” he concluded.

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid forward


No matter what type of Bale you get on the day, it’s the big man you want at his best. Ronaldo is known as the man for the big occasion, and personally, I feel there isn’t a better footballer on the planet.

The current Ballon d’Or holder has 15 goals in the Champions League this season, five ahead of Liverpool duo, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. The Portuguese superstar also has 15 goals in major finals whilst playing for Madrid, so should Ronaldo make an impact in Kyiv, fans and pundits alike should not be surprised at all. Not anybody scores 105 goals in just 100 games.

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Liverpool

It’s been a bittersweet season for Liverpool, with the Reds finishing fourth in the Premier League, but playing some of the best football the club have played in years. As a result of that, Jurgen Klopp’s men find themselves in the final of the UEFA Champions League.

When Klopp first arrived on the scene, many questioned whether the German is the right man for the job, but after reaching the final in both European competitions, the ‘Klopp Out’ brigade can surely take their seat in the shadows.

Klopp does, however, have an unhealthy habit of losing in major finals, going down in his last five. That doesn’t bode well against a club on a hat-trick of Champions League wins, and against a king of finals in Ronaldo.

But like the Reds boss said, “if you want guarantees, then don’t qualify for a final, stay at home or go on holiday.”

What Liverpool do have, though, is a front three that can make you forget about all recent history. The combination of Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane is officially the most prolific trio in Champions League history, scoring 29 goals and counting this season.

In fact, it was Real Madrid’s ‘BBC’ record they broke, set in the 2013/14 season. Liverpool have also scored the most goals in a Champions League campaign, netting 46 so far. Say what you want about this Liverpool side, but boy are they special.

Klopp has brought a sense of optimism back into the club, and the fans and players feel that they can beat any team in world football right now. Real Madrid are firm favourites to lift the cup, but Mane reiterates that the Reds are not afraid of any club.

I have big respect for Real Madrid and we are not the best team in the world but we have a great team,” the Senegalese said.

We are Liverpool, we are strong, and we can beat any team in the world,” Mane continued.

Like Real Madrid, Liverpool also have one superstar that stands out amongst the rest. Salah narrowly missed out on the Golden Shoe award, finishing on 32 goals – just two behind Lionel Messi. The Egyptian has had a season to remember in his first year as a Red, but despite all the hype, Salah refuses to be drawn into talk of Liverpool being a one-man team.

It’s not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo,” said the 25-year-old.

“I’m playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying to the final came with great teamwork that I cannot do alone,”

Mohamed Salah Liverpool striker


I know all of Arab people wish the best for me and they are happy every time I win, but now, at the moment, I am only thinking about the final and to bring the trophy to Anfield. We have to be aware of their quality, but they have to be aware of ours,” the Egyptian concluded.

It will take something unheard of in football to stop Liverpool’s front three, and against the two-time consecutive winners, this will be a massive test for the Reds – and certainly their toughest test yet.

Routes to the final

Group Stage
Real Madrid finished second in Group H on 13 points – three behind Tottenham.
Liverpool topped Group E on 12 points – three ahead of Sevilla.
Last 16
First leg: 
Real Madrid 3-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Porto 0-5 Liverpool
Second leg:
Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Real Madrid
Liverpool 0-0 Porto
Quarter-Finals
First leg:
Juventus 0-3 Real Madrid
Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City
Second leg:

Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus
Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool
Semi-Finals
First leg:
Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid
Liverpool 5-2 Roma
Second leg:
Real Madrid 2-2 Bayern
Roma 4-2 Liverpool


Probable line-ups:

Real Madrid: 4-3-3
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.

Liverpool: 4-3-3
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Prediction: Ronaldo To Score First And Real Madrid Win (5/1)

At the biggest stage in the biggest tournament, I can only see one possible outcome. Ronaldo is made for Champions League finals, and despite Liverpool’s defence finding their feet together as a combination, you simply cannot stop the big man in finals. Mane said that Liverpool can beat any team in the world, but Madrid are not just any team. That’s why I’m backing Ronaldo to Score First and Real Madrid to Win at 5/1. The man for the big occasion strikes again.

Written by Jesse Nagel

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