When you talk about soccer royalty in Europe, especially when it comes to the UEFA Champions League tournament, there is a very, very small group of teams that can brag about being in the Olympus of said tournament’s winner’s circle. Two of the main teams in said circle are none other than the two finalists of this year’s UCL tournament, Spanish La Liga Champions Real Madrid and English powerhouse Liverpool FC.
From wherever you look at this matchup, there is parity all over between both teams. But what makes this matchup and this final so special. Will this be the game in which Mo Salah finally gets his revenge on Real Madrid and what happened the last time both teams met for the UCL title? Who honestly has the upper hand in the matchup? Let’s dive right into our preview of what promises to be a very good UCL finals game in Paris come May 28th.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and Champions League betting odds for Liverpool vs Real Madrid. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider for the final of Champions League odds.
Liverpool And the 2018 Ghost
If you’re a soccer fan then you probably remember the 2018 UCL title game between Real Madrid and Liverpool. The game had two very important factors that ended up tipping the scale in Real Madrid’s favor. One was that now former Liverpool goalkeeper Loras Karius had one of the worst games in recent history of not only the finals but the tournament itself. The other was how Mo Salah’s playing time was brutally cut short because of having to leave the pitch with a shoulder injury after a nasty hit from a certain Madrid defender we’re about to mention. The question here is, what did these two factors have in common? Yes, Sergio Ramos. The former Madrid captain and central defender took to the match in Kyiv as if it was an MMA brawl and proceeded to not only sideline Salah but also injure Karius with a vicious elbow to the head.
Liverpool did go on to lose that game and the title, but they got their well-deserved revenge in a way the year after when they took the title back home to Anfield after beating Tottenham. Still though, for Liverpool this rematch against Real Madrid has an added spice that could only mean one thing, Liverpool will be out for payback and a commanding win from the get go in Paris. But how did they get to the finals this season?
At first Liverpool dominated Group B of the competition, a group with the likes of AC Milan, Atlético de Madrid and Porto, scoring a perfect six-win record and cruising comfortably into the next round of competition. Once in the round of 16, it was Inter Milan’s turn to get a taste of what Jurgen Klopp’s team was bringing to the competition and after a swift win on the road in Milan and a 1-0 loss in Anfield, Liverpool marched on. The quarterfinals came around and now it was Portuguese giants Benfica who were next in the chopping block. After two thrilling games that saw both teams score a combined 10 goals, Liverpool once again moved on. Lastly it was Villarreal’s turn to face the music and even after a valiant effort from the surprisingly feisty Spanish side, Liverpool moved on and waited for either Real Madrid or Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp’s team has been solid all season, in all competitions they have played with some brilliant moments coming from their bonafide stars up front, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané. For Liverpool the chance to once again show why they are considered one of the most important clubs in European soccer history is one thing, to be able to take out Real Madrid, especially after the 2018 debacle, well that just makes everything that much better.
Learn More About The UEFA Champions League Semi & Final Matchups
Don’t Call It a Comeback For Real Madrid, But Actually Do
When you talk about a team like Real Madrid, picturing them as a squad who thrives on heroic comebacks is not necessarily where one would put them. Yet here we are, here they are, that’s the story and we’re all sticking to it. Real Madrid’s road in the UCL this season was anything but smooth riding, and if you take into consideration that we’re talking about a team that is known for being the most dominant unit in the history of the UCL tournament, seeing them scramble so much throughout the season was a sight that needed to be seen to be believed.
After an initial group stage that saw the team be all over the table but finally finishing first ahead of Inter Milan, for Madrid the road to Paris was one where the phrase “catch me if you can” became synonymous with their playing, but not because they were being chased. It was because they were the team doing the chasing. Their first victims were PSG, Sergio Ramos’ new team. They were able to take down Messi, Neymar Jr. M’Bappe and company, so what could go wrong after this? Chelsea came around next, and after a first leg that saw “Los Blancos” lead the series by 3-1, a valiant 3-2 win from Chelsea almost kicked them out of the tournament, emphasis on almost.
Then, in true heroic fashion, Real Madrid stepped up from an adverse 4-3 result in Manchester to take down Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team with two games in stoppage time and one more in extra-time from who else? Yes, of course, Karim Benzema, a man that deserves a statue made after him in Madrid after all he has given this team, all while playing in the shadows of others.
For Real Madrid this is probably the hardest road they’ve had to face in all of their quests to win the UCL title, but if there is one coach that can get the job done and guide this team, it’s none other than Italian soccer mastermind Carlo Ancelotti. While this team hasn’t played his usual, best, commanding soccer, they have played with the heart of warriors, something that Ancelotti is known for pushing into his players.
So, Who Will Take It?
Given that this is a 90-minute match and not a series, and because of how consistent and good the team has played throughout the whole tournament, Liverpool should get the nod here to win the UCL title and finally get their payback for 2018. Fans should expect a thrilling game with a performance by Mo Sallah and Sadio Mané that could end up blowing Real Madrid out of the water. But, Liverpool should definitely be cautious of what a top-shape Benzema can do while leading Madrid’s offense. Still, as of right now, it’s Liverpool all the way.