Preview Champions League Final: Liverpool vs Real Madrid
It will be the clash of the titans at Stade de France on Saturday night as Liverpool and Real Madrid battle it out to be crowned the Champions of Europe.
32 teams, 124 matches, 379 goals, and it all comes down to this. Saint-Denis in France will provide the setting for the last game of the 2021/22 European football season on Saturday night as English Cup double winners Liverpool square off against La Liga champions Real Madrid in the final of the UEFA Champions League.
It has been a long and arduous journey to this showpiece event for both teams with their own set of challenges. For Liverpool, it has been the case of playing every game possible throughout the season as they have made it to three cup finals, winning two already, and they also ran Manchester City close in the Premier League title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s men overcame the group of death containing Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and FC Porto to make it to the knockout stages, where they first saw off Inter Milan. Liverpool then defeated Benfica in the quarter-finals despite a nervy finish in the second leg, before seeing off the challenge from a spirited Villarreal side in the semi-finals, who made life difficult for the Reds in the second leg in Spain.
As for Real Madrid, they might have wrapped up the La Liga title race fairly early. But the Spanish heavyweights have been on the brink of elimination from Europe on multiple occasions, only to showcase a tremendous spirit and mental strength to claw their back into contests and will their way to the finals of the competition.
Having topped their group containing Sheriff Tiraspol, Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan, Real Madrid faced PSG in the Round of 16. After losing the first leg in France, they bounced back to eliminate them before seeing off current holders Chelsea in a thrilling quarter-final tie. But the creme de la creme of their triumphs came in the semi-finals as they pulled off a comeback for the ages to oust Manchester City.
Liverpool come into the game on the back of an 18-game unbeaten run across all competitions. Real Madrid, meanwhile, have lost four of their last 15 matches in all competitions. However, the recent form will count for little when the whistle blows at Stade de France on Saturday night. Ahead of what will be a rematch of the 2017/18 Champions League final, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
This will be the ninth meeting between Liverpool and Real Madrid in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League. After winning the first three contests between 1981 and 2009, the Reds are winless in the last five meetings (D1 L4), losing the final in 2018.
Liverpool are looking to win the European Cup/UEFA Champions League for the seventh time in their history. A victory in France will take them level with AC Milan as the joint-second most successful team in the competition behind Real Madrid (13).
Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior has been directly involved in nine goals in the UEFA Champions League this season (three goals, six assists). The last South American footballer to be directly involved in 10+ goals in a single campaign in the competition while 21 or younger was Lionel Messi in 2008/09.
Since the start of the 2017/18 season, Mohamed Salah has scored 33 goals and assisted 11 more for Liverpool in the Champions League. Only Robert Lewandowski (55) and Kylian Mbappe (47) have been involved in more goals during this period.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has lifted the trophy in three of his previous four UEFA Champions League finals. The only time he failed to do so was against Liverpool in 2004/05, when he was in charge of AC Milan.
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