The biggest club competition in world football comes to a close on Saturday. As Kiev hosts the Champions League Final between two European giants. Liverpool will be hoping to collect their sixth European trophy, stopping Real Madrid, a.k.a ‘Los Blancos’ from making history by winning it three years in a row.
Can Liverpool Make The Dream Real?
Champions League Final Form
Liverpool – LWWWDW
Liverpool have been one of the stand-out teams this season. Losing only one game in the whole competition against Roma, they fairly sealed their place in Kiev. The Reds have been scoring goals for fun in Europe, netting 40 goals in this competition. That’s 10 more than anyone else.
Real Madrid – DWLWWW
Compared to their last campaign, the current holders struggled to get to the final. They were beaten soundly by Spurs in the group stages, and looked far away from their best. After a controversial decision in the 2nd Leg tie with Juventus gifted Ronaldo a 96th minute winner, they scraped through to their third final. An uninspiring performance against Bayern in the semi-final to boot has led to doubts over their prospects. However, Los Blancos are experienced winners of this competition, and will be hoping to make it three in a row for Ronaldo and Co.
Jurgen Klopp would have been sweating the whole journey to Ukraine after a midfield crisis. But the German has been handed a boost as the injury list shortens with three midfielders back in full training. Adam Lallana, James Milner, and Emre Can be worries and doubts about the upcoming game but are now fit for selection. Joel Mateo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Joe Gomez are all on the sidelines.
Predicted Line-Up: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovern, Van Djik, Roberston; Wjinaldum, Henderson, Milner; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Zinedine Zidane has some big decisions to make with a fully fit squad to face Liverpool. The Frenchman has been under a lot of pressure this season and now needs to pick a squad that will lift the trophy in Kiev. Cristiano Ronaldo missed the last few weeks but is fully fit and raring to go. The Real Madrid defence selects itself but the attack could be different on Saturday. Gareth Bale’s terrific goalscoring has put him back in contention along with Karim Benzema.
Predicted Line-Up: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo
Salah or Ronaldo – Both managers were asked in their press conference who they would rather have. Jurgen Klopp refused to answer but the Real Madrid boss opted for his player, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has been the best scoring forward in the competition with 15 goals. Salah wins best individual player of the season. Scoring 44 goals in all competitions, 10 in UCL. Real Madrid revolves around Ronaldo, whereas Salah’s teammates are just as important than the Egyptian himself.
Goals Guaranteed – Liverpool are the competiton’s top goal-scorers with 40 goals, excluding six in the playoff.
Despite Ronaldo leading the charts on 15 goals, Real Madrid find themselves 10 goals adrift on Liverpool’s 40.
However, The Reds top the scoreboard with Salah (Ten), Firmino (Ten) and Mane (Nine). The Premier League side also have two top assisters with James Milner on nine, and Firmino eight. How will the two defences hold up against the best two attacking trio’s in the Champions League Final.
Marcelo vs Salah – The Egyptian king will go against one of the world’s best left-backs. Mohamed Salah has been influential to Liverpool’s European journey, he’s thus now facing task to deliver that on the big stage. Brazilian veteran, Marcelo, will have one of busiest nights of his career. Facing the challenge of keeping Salah quiet in a Champions League Final will be a gargantuan effort. Marcelo will be wary of Liverpool‘s quick counter and the possibility of a lock-in by The Reds’ front three.
Ronaldo vs Lovren – Football’s biggest Superstar, Ronaldo, will be facing Liverpool scapegoat, Lovren. The Croatian struggled in the first part of the season but since partnering with Van Dijk, forming a formidable defence. Lovren’s confidence will thus be high. Ronaldo has once again collected his shooting boots, currently top goalscorer in the competition with 15. Real Madrid might be looking at Lovren as weak-link, and there is no better player to punish him.