2018 UEFA Champions League Final Preview – Real Madrid v Liverpool
Liverpool’s date with destiny is very nearly here as they head to Kiev to take on Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League Final.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have electrified the competition this season, but can they put in one last performance to take a sixth title home to Merseyside?
The routes to the final
Group H – Runners-up
Round of 16 – W 5-2 on aggregate vs Paris St Germain
Quarter-Finals – W 4-3 on aggregate vs Juventus
Semi-Finals – W 4-3 on aggregate vs Bayern Munich
Group E – Winners
Round of 16 – W 5-0 on aggregate vs FC Porto
Quarter-Finals – W 5-1 on aggregate vs Manchester City
Semi-Finals – W 7-6 on aggregate vs AS Roma
Most memorable games
Juventus 0-3 Real Madrid
Real Madrid have been far from their best in this competition, but this Quarter-Final first leg was a brutal reminder at just how clinical they can be even if they are a fraction off their game.
The game will be best remembered for Cristiano Ronaldo’s extraordinary bicycle kick that stunned every fan watching in Turin, and caused a shell-shocked home fanbase to applaud a moment of pure individual brilliance that tilted the tie firmly in Real’s favour. Whilst Liverpool have shown that they can blow away any opposition in the right frame of mind, this game demonstrated that Madrid remain the masters of taking their chances at just the right moment.
Liverpool 3-0 Man City
Pure perfection for Jurgen Klopp as he left the Anfield faithful in dreamland and dealt a crushing blow to Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a rare treble. Everything that Klopp touched turned to gold on one of the Reds’ most memorable European nights as his charges started the game in rampant mood, racing to a 3-0 lead after just 31 minutes.
With question marks all season over Liverpool’s defensive frailties, the second half was perhaps even more impressive for the fact the Reds held firm to keep out a costly away goal.
The key details
Where? NSC Olimpiyskiy, Kiev, Ukraine
When? Saturday 26th May 2018, 19:45 BST
Referee: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)
Verdict: Both teams have shown throughout this competition that attack is the best form of defence, so this promises to be one of the liveliest Champions League finals in years.
Real Madrid undoubtedly have the edge when it comes to big game experience, and a player in Ronaldo who can change the narrative in any game, but much will depend on how they cope with Liverpool’s vibrancy in attack as they look to close in on a record 13th trophy.
Klopp’s burning ambition to claim his first European title surely rests on how quickly his Reds side can settle in to their attacking rhythm on Saturday night. If they can blitz Madrid early, the biggest prize in European football could well be returning to English soil.