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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)
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 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.
Zidane is understandably being cautious with his team selections before the final. Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo didn’t feature against Celta Vigo on Saturday as Real ran away with a 6-0 thrashing. Gareth Bale scored the first two goals and Isco produced a strong performance alongside Karim Benzema.
It gives Zidane selection headaches before the final. Dani Carvajal is the only concern but it expected to recover in time. Ronaldo had a slow start to the season but now has 42 goals for Real Madrid including 15 in the Champions League.
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 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.
Joel Matip, Emre Can, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez are injured but Adam Lallana came off the bench in the 4-0 home win against Brighton and could feature off the bench.
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.
- 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).
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