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Champions League final preview: Will Liverpool claim their revenge?

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Roar Rookie
28th May, 2022
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The biggest day in the European football calendar is here, it’s the Champions League final, Liverpool versus Real Madrid. It’s set to be a blockbuster in Paris as two European juggernauts go head-to-head; who will come out victorious?

Going into the game, one question is whether Jürgen Klopp has been able to fire his side up for the final, or if they are still thinking about the Premier League final day, where at one point they surely thought they were going to win the title.

A major deciding factor is simply who will want it more, and I think it will be Real. After storming to the La Liga title, Los Blancos will be desperate for the trophy to cap off a season full of extraordinary comebacks.

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Liverpool have been accused of having an easy run to the final, which is the truth, but you must play the games in front of you. So what that they had to play Inter Milan, Benfica, and Villarreal whilst Real faced PSG, Chelsea and pre-season favourites Manchester City?

Real have not dominated a single one of their Champions League knockout games this season, instead relying on their fiery front three when it matters most. This will give them confidence when, on paper, they must be underdogs if you compare the teams.

Where the game could be won is in the midfield, where Real will be expected to win the battle. You could not ask for more experience in the form of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and former Ballon d’Or winner, Luka Modric. They know how to win a Champions League final and will be key in finding balls for Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema.

Vini Jr. and Karim Benzema, players of Real Madrid, are celebrating the goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on April 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

(Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

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A physical three, the midfielders should be able to outmuscle Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson – especially when Thiago is an injury doubt – and give a big helping hand to their team.

If any of the Liverpool players will be looking for revenge for their final defeat in 2018, it will be Mohamed Salah.

Injured by Sergio Ramos in that game, he will be intent on wreaking havoc on the left flank, exposing what I think is a weakness in Ferland Mendy. However, and this could backfire massively, I think Salah will be quiet tonight.

He has not been himself since he returned from the African Cup of Nations and was substituted early in the FA Cup final. My prediction is that this will be Sadio Mané’s final, as he has looked great in the Champions League so far, and will score at least one, like he did in 2018, or maybe even more.

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Selection will be a big question for Klopp. Does he play Ibrahim Konaté, an ever-present in Europe this season, or Joel Matip, who has been massive next to Virgil van Dijk in the league? The obvious choice, it seems, is the Frenchman. He should be wary of Vinicius’ rapid pace, and the more mobile Konaté is better suited to thwart Real’s plan to give the ball the top assister in the Champions League so far and just watch him run.

Or will Klopp be fearless and pick Matip?

My prediction for the game is 3-2 to Liverpool. This is because they are great at game-management and will be able to deal with any late burst better than any of Real’s opponents since the last 16. For the goal scorers, I think Benzema will get two, whilst Mané, Luis Díaz and unlikely hero Konaté will score for Liverpool.

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