Our Preview and Tips for the Season Ending Champions League Final
This Saturday in Kyiv, Real Madrid will attempt to set a new benchmark for winning the Champions League as they seek to land their 13th title, and their third in succession. If they can achieve this then they will be the first team since the great Bayern Munich side of the mid-1970s to win the most prestigious club competition three times in a row.
Standing in their way are one of the surprises of the current Champions League campaign, Liverpool whose fantastic attacking football has seen them not only reach the final in style, but also score a record 46 goals along the way, eclipsing the previous record (held by Barcelona) and all with still one game in the tournament left to play.
Punters are going to be very excited at the prospect of a final containing two teams that certainly don’t have a primary focus on defending and this could provide us with one of the most attack-minded finals in many years, especially when you consider you have the top scoring Champions League player on one team and the top scoring Champions League team on the other.
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So how do we see the Champions League going? Read on for our preview of the game together with our tips on how we see the final panning out and who will be lifting the most coveted trophy in club football.
Liverpool v Real Madrid Preview
The final takes place on Saturday 26th May kicking off at 7.45pm UK time at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev (70,050 capacity). Real Madrid are the designated home team for the final, with Liverpool as the designated away team.
- 79 teams competed in the competition this season
- 124 Matches Played
- 397 Goals
- 5,760,112 cumulative attendance
- Cristiano Ronaldo is the leading scorer with 15 goals in the tournament. Mo Salah is second with 10 for Liverpool with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino both in third with nine apiece, also for the Reds.
- James Milner leads the assist table with 9 assists
- Liverpool have set the record for the most goals ever in a Champions League campaign this season with 46 as of the end of the semi-finals, eclipsing Barcelona’s record of 45 set in 2000/2001.
- The Referee for the final is Serbian Milorad Mazic
- Real Madrid have competed in 15 finals (winning 12, losing 3)
- Liverpool have reached 7 finals (winning 5, losing 2)
- Both teams have already qualified for next season’s Champions League competition by virtue of their domestic league finishing position. However, a win here for Liverpool would mean they would enter at the Group Stage rather than the Playoff stage.
- The teams have met in the final once before, in Paris in 1981, when an 81st minute strike from Liverpool left back Alan Kennedy was enough to give the Reds the victory.
- Manager – Jurgen Klopp
|4||Virgil Van Dijk||Dc|
|12||Joe Gomez (Injured)||Drc|
|14||Jordan Henderson (Captain)||Mc|
|21||Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Injured)||Mlc|
|23||Emre Can (doubtful)||DMc|
|32||Joel Matip (Injured)||Dc|
Probable Liverpool XI – (4-3-3) – Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Mane, Firmino, Salah
Real Madrid Squad
- Manager – Zinedine Zidane
|2||Dani Carvajal (doubtful)||Dr|
|3||Jesus Vallejo (doubtful)||Dlc|
|4||Sergio Ramos (Captain)||Dc|
Probable Real Madrid XI (4-4-2) – Navas, Vasquez, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
How Liverpool Reached Kyiv
Champions League Performance
Liverpool’s started their campaign in the Champions League playoff stage.
- V Hoffenheim – Away won 2-1, Home won 4-2
Champions League Group Stage
- V Sevilla – Home drew 2-2, Away drew 3-3
- V Spartak Moscow –Away drew 1-1, Home won 7-0
- V Maribor Branik – Away won 7-0, Home won 3-0
Liverpool finished top of their group with 12 points to qualify for the knockout stage as a seeded team.
- Round of 16 – V FC Porto – Away won 5-0, Home drew 0-0 – (5-0 on aggregate)
- Quarterfinal – V Manchester City – Home won 3-0, Away won 2-1 – (5-1 on aggregate)
- Semifinal – V AS Roma – Home won 5-2, Away lost 2-4 – (7-6 on aggregate)
Top Goalscorers – Mo Salah – 10, Roberto Firmino & Sadio Mane – 9 each
Top Assists – James Milner 9, Roberto Firmino 8, Mohamed Salah 4
How Real Madrid Reached Kyiv
Champions League Performance
Real Madrid earned an automatic place in the Group Stage as holders of the trophy.
Champions League Group Stage
- V APOEL FC – Home won 3-0, Away won 6-0
- V Borussia Dortmund – Away won 3-1, Home won 3-2
- V Tottenham – Home drew 1-1, Away lost 1-3
Real finished second in Group H behind Tottenham Hotspurs to qualify for the knockout stage as an unseeded team.
- Round of 16 – V Paris St Germain – Home won 3-1, Away won 2-1 (5-2 on aggregate)
- Quarterfinal – V Juventus – Away won 3-0, Home Lost 1-3 (4-3 on aggregate)
- Semifinal – V Bayern Munich – Away won 2-1, Home Drew 2-2 (4-3 on aggregate)
Top Goalscorers – Cristiano Ronaldo -15, Karim Benzema – 4, Marcelo – 3
Top Assists – Dani Carvajal – 3, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo – 2 each
Match Analysis – Liverpool v Real Madrid
This promises to be an intriguing clash and both sides have a formidable attacking line up, while both have also shown defensive weaknesses at times this season. Liverpool’s propensity towards giving away late goals has caused them a few uneasy moments, but Jurgen Klopp’s men will be well rested for this game and will be aware of the need for concentration across the full 90 minutes.
Similarly, Real Madrid’s problems defensively in the full-back areas are a real concern with Liverpool’s pacy attack liable to cause them real problems unless Zinedine Zidane’s men can gain a foothold of the game in the Red’s half. The battle between the two sets of three in midfield, Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum against Kroos, Modric and either Isco or Casemiro, is likely to be a key factor in deciding who wins this one.
For me, Real are too reliant on Ronaldo and if Liverpool can keep him quiet, they stand a chance. That is easier said than done though but I do feel that the Reds line up better against Real’s strengths, than Real do against Liverpool. However the key thing for me is experience and that is where Real massively outrank Liverpool and that could be the key thing to decide this.
I think this will be a close one and it may well require a last gasp goal to win it, but I am backing Real to just about come out on top, and there to be a fair few goals too.
My tips are as follows –
- Match Result Tip – Real Madrid to win – 6/5 with Coral Sport
- First Goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo – 14/5 with Coral Sport
- Correct Score – Real Madrid 3-2 Liverpool – 16/1 with Coral Sport
- Anytime Goalscorer – Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – 19/10 with Coral Sport