Real Madrid v Liverpool Preview & Tips: Los Blancos to complete hat-trick in Kiev

Real and Ronaldo' Champions League stranglehold to continue
Karim Benzema scored three goals in two games against Liverpool in 2014. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Karim Benzema scored three goals in two games against Liverpool in 2014. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Real Madrid v Liverpool Preview & Tips


Real Madrid take on Liverpool at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev with a chance to secure their 13th European Cup. After winning three of the last four Champions League titles, it would be quite an achievement for Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Real Madrid


Real Madrid wrote off their domestic ambitions some time ago, but despite their struggles have remained on target for another Champions League title. Los Blancos got past Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage before accounting for Paris St Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in the knockout rounds. 

Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo didn’t feature against Celta Vigo in a recent 6-0 thrashing, but manager Zinedine Zidane picked a strong team for their final La Liga match at Villareal that ended 2-2. Gareth Bale scored the first two goals against Celta and bagged the opener at Villareal to come into contention for the Champions League final.

Dani Carvajal is expected to reclaim his right-back position with Zidane's only real concern who starts up front with Ronaldo. Karim Benzema, Bale and Isco are in line but one will miss out. Ronaldo had a slow start to the season but now has 43 goals for Real Madrid in all competitions including 15 in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo can add another trophy to his collection with victory in Kiev. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool


Jurgen Klopp’s side finished fourth in the Premier League and fought their way to the Champions League final with some exhilarating performances. The January sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona threatened to derail their season, but they stepped up with Mohamed Salah a key contributor.

Salah returned to the Premier League with a point to prove and has done it in style. The Egyptian has 43 goals and 14 assists in all competitions this season, forming a lethal attacking trio alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.

The Reds got past Hoffenheim in the playoffs before topping their group which included Sevilla and Spartak Moscow. Porto were no match in the knockout rounds before Klopp masterminded a way past Manchester City. A 5-2 home win against Roma in the semi-final first leg was almost squandered as Liverpool advanced 7-6 on aggregate.

Jurgen Klopp is unable to call upon Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez for the Champions League final. Emre Can and James Milner are back in training and Milner could start as he is vital to the Reds chances. Adam Lallana played 16 minutes against Brighton in the 4-0 win on the final day of the Premier League season and could feature off the bench if required. 

Mohamed Salah deservedly won the Premier League Golden Boot Award after a sensational season. (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Match Up


These clubs met in the 2008/09 Champions League Round of 16, Liverpool winning 1-0 in Spain and 4-0 at Anfield. The Spanish side got their revenge in 2014/15, winning 3-0 in England before a 1-0 win in Madrid as Ronaldo scored once and Karim Benzema bagged three.

This match puts two highly effective attacks up against each other, but questions remain about their defensive abilities against top quality opposition. A high scoring game is expected but it could be a cagy affair with so much at stake.

Key Statistics


  • There has been over 2.5 goals scored in Real Madrid's last 9 matches (Champions League).
  • Real Madrid have kept 1 clean sheet in their last 10 matches (All competitions).
  • Real Madrid have scored at least 2 goals in their last 6 matches (All competitions).
  • There has been over 2.5 goals scored in 9 of Liverpool’s last 10 matches (Champions League).
  • There has been over 4.5 goals scored in 5 of Liverpool’s last 10 matches (Champions League).

Verdict


Real Madrid appear destined for their third straight Champions League title. After humbling Juventus 4-1 in last season’s final, Ronaldo and his teammates will have no fear.

Five time champions Liverpool won’t forget the 2005 final where they came back from 3-0 down at half-time to win on penalties. Their attack is enviable but they are outclassed by Real in midfield, defence and the goalkeeper position.

With goals expected in Kiev, over 3.5 goals at 2.30 is in play alongside Real Madrid to win. Liverpool have defied the odds to reach the final, but most of their players lack experience at this level. 

Best Bet: Real Madrid win @ 2.27
Total Goals: Over 3.5 @ 2.30
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Matthew Marshall 24 May 2018

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