How Liverpool can stop Real Madrid to claim historic Champions League final triumph

How Liverpool can stop Real Madrid to claim historic Champions League final triumph


It’s the biggest club match in European football, so it’s only right that two of the continent’s greatest clubs will fight it out. 

We’re not just talking history. Although, if we were, Liverpool can become the joint-second most successful Champions League club in history alongside AC Milan with victory on Saturday night in Paris – live on takSPORT.

Two of the world’s most famous clubs face off for club football’s biggest prize

AFP

Two of the world’s most famous clubs face off for club football’s biggest prize

Klopp travels to France in search of history

AFP

Klopp travels to France in search of history

Guess who will remain top? Real Madrid. With 19 European titles between them, either the Reds will claim their seventh or the Spanish giants will do it for the 14th time. 

But forget about history for a minute. Here and now, these are two of the best teams on the planet. 

Jurgen Klopp’s men, who will play in every possible match this season, can claim an astonishing 50th win of the campaign. 

Despite missing out on the Premier League title by one point, a historic treble remains possible for Liverpool after their Carabao Cup and FA Cup triumphs. 

Carlo Ancelotti’s side, meanwhile, took care of their domestic league, wrapping up the LaLiga title with time to spare. 

In this clash of the titans, talkSPORT.com takes a look at where the match could be won and lost, with the help of ex-Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann and former England winger Trevor Sinclair… 

It’s a match full of intriguing battles

Getty

It’s a match full of intriguing battles

Real Madrid’s ‘physical edge’ vs Liverpool’s momentum

Liverpool have had six days to recover for the showpiece event at the Stade de France, which is more than most games this season. 

But Madrid are fresh of the back of a three-week break. 

Judging by Klopp’s endless ranting about fixture congestion, the Spanish side might just see that as an advantage. 

Sinclair said: “Sometimes when you’ve had a bit of a break, you can be lethargic and sluggish.

“Other times, when it’s been a tough season, it can be a nice rest, especially if you’ve got a few injuries. 

“The experience the manager has got, he’ll keep them in tip-top condition. So it might work in Madrid’s favour.”

Hamann added: “The break doesn’t have to be an advantage, when you win games and have momentum, you can’t wait to play. 

“When they were paired together in the final, I thought Madrid can’t live with Liverpool, but the longer I think about it, Madrid might have a better chance than I want them to have.”

There has been little for Madrid to stress about in recent weeks

AFP

There has been little for Madrid to stress about in recent weeks

Real Madrid riding a tougher route to the final? 

There are no easy matches in the Champions League, but in that elite context, Liverpool got a favourable route to the final. 

Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal are not among the very best teams in Europe. But you know who are? Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City. 

That’s who Madrid overcame to reach the final – and that might put them in pretty good stead for another mammoth test. 

Hamann added: “Somebody said Liverpool had a bye into the knockout stages. They had AC Milan, the Italian champions, Porto and Atletico Madrid – that’s a tough group.

“They were the first English team to win all six games. Everybody knew what they were capable of. 

“They had a bad game against Villarreal but the way they came back in the second-half was exceptional.

“Madrid, they’ve probably been all-but out in every round they’ve played. But they still found a way. It’s a tremendous character and will power, you can’t take them lightly.” 

Madrid have been underdogs on numerous occasions this season

Getty

Madrid have been underdogs on numerous occasions this season

Liverpool sweating on midfield

Finals are so often cagey affairs, with both teams desperate to avoid defeat. 

That’s why the midfield is so important – and Liverpool have some big worries. 

Fabinho and Thiago are both doubts for the match, although the pair have been included in the squad traveling to France. 

Hamann said: “Madrid will probably play with Modric, Kroos and Casemiro. Camavinga made a big difference when he came on in the earlier games.

“For Liverpool, I just think that when Fabinho and Henderson play, the dynamics of the team change. 

“Fabinho wants to play with two offensive midfielders next to him. It would be a boost if Thiago could play, then maybe Keita or Jones next to him.”

Thiago would be a huge miss for Liverpool

Getty

Thiago would be a huge miss for Liverpool

Stopping Modric and Benzema 

Chelsea could have been in the final if they found a way to do this. 

Modric and Benzema have combined to bail Madrid out of numerous sticky situations in the Champions League this season, with both showing their enduring quality, no matter what defence they come up against. 

Sinclair said: “Modric, on the ball, if you let him have time, you know Benzema will be moving. 

“That’s a combination we’ve seen time after time, you have to stop it at source.

“The two centre-backs, whether it’s Matip or Konate with Van Dijk, they’ve got to be switched on. 

“Benzema looks like he’s not bothered, a bit like Messi in his pomp, you see him just walking around.

“The next minute, they get the ball and come alive. They’ve got these little patterns of play that they understand really well.”

These two hold the key for Madrid

AFP

These two hold the key for Madrid

Vinicius Jr vs Trent Alexander-Arnold 

But that’s not the only battle Liverpool must win in defence. 

Chelsea defender Reece James largely kept Vinicius Jr quiet as the Blues threatened to come back and beat Madrid, while Kyle Walker struggled to keep track. 

Now it’s over to another England right-back to have a crack at containing the lively Brazilian…

Sinclair added: “Vinicius has got unbelievable pace, that’ll be a tough task for Alexander-Arnold. 

“That’s a battle I’ll look at and think, ‘If he can subdue him a bit down Madrid’s left-hand side, that’ll be key’.”

Tune into talkSPORT on Saturday for all the build up and LIVE commentary of Liverpool vs Real Madrid in the Champions League final





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