By William Hill
Last Updated: 17th July 2018
News.williamhill.com is committed to delivering cutting-edge sports media coverage, so we bring you this Real Madrid v Liverpool Champions League final match report in the bang up to date as-it-happened format.
Nothing so new there you may think, but before you scoff your “the zeitgeist was yesterday”, “time is an illusion” Generation Y spiel, you’d do well to refer to its timestamp.
That’s right, this is a Champions League final match report filed before the game has even begun; an as-it-happened recounting, mapped out long before any ‘it’ has happened, by a top-secret arbitrarily-weighted-statistics algorithm (patent pending) too complex for the human mind to understand.
If you’re interested in betting on the game, for which Real Madrid are 8/11 to lift the trophy at the expense of 11/5 outsiders Liverpool, it’s hoped such ahead-of-the-curve insight proves invaluable.
REAL MADRID V LIVERPOOL AS IT HAPPENED
Liverpool have very much taken the bull by the horns in the opening stages, as befits a side that have struck seven goals inside the opening 15 minutes in the competition this season, but they’ve yet to seriously trouble Real.
Having conceded the first goal in five of their last eight outings, it’s equally understandable that Los Blancos are keeping their cards close to their chest.
Yellow card – a naughty one…
That’s a late one from Dani Carvajal on Sadio Mane. The Senegalese striker is ok, but wincing angrily at his assailant.
Carvajal had been yellow carded 15 times across La Liga (11) and Champions League games (4) this season before the final, making him comfortably the most booked player on either side in 2017/18.
Not only that, but Mane, his direct opponent, has been fouled 18 times in the competition this term, making him Liverpool’s most transgressed against player.
It’s in, Mohamed Salah gives Liverpool the lead!
Roberto Firmino, reprising his role as Salah supplier in chief, provides his fifth assist for the former Roma man in this season’s tournament.
The Egyptian King draws first blood in the Champions League final with the trusty left boot that notched 27 of his 34 Premier League goals this season, rewarding first goalscorer odds of 9/2 in the process.
Sure, Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged three Champions League first goals this term, but Salah had too and he’d had netted more first-half strikes (7), than the man from Madeira (5).
Now he takes an outright lead in the opener-scoring stakes.
Real will be lucky to get to half-time with just the one goal deficit here
Liverpool have outscored their Champions League opponents 15-1 in minutes 16-45 this season and their onslaught continues, with Los Blancos’ weathering the storm.
Half-time: it’s Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool
Five of the previous six editions of the Champions League final had seen one first-half goal or fewer. Thankfully for a water-treading Real, the 2018 edition was a follower of fashion.
Will Liverpool be made to regret not having a second goal to show for their first-half dominance?
The second half of the Champions League final begins…
Substitution for Real Madrid
Not for the first time in this competition this season, a dominant Liverpool performance has forced the opposition manager into an early change.
This is the fifth time that their opponents have made a substitution in the 57th minute or earlier across the seven knockout ties.
Straight out of ‘La Fabrica’ (The Factory), Real Madrid’s footballer production line, Marco Asensio is the man entering the Champions League final fray. Nine of his 12 continental outings this term have come as a sub.
Isco is the man departing the field, in what has become a familiar re-jig – the youngster has replaced him in two of Real’s last four European matches.
Oh no, Liverpool concede a penalty!
A rampaging Ronaldo is clipped by Loris Karius as he surges after a through ball, collapsing in a modestly-convincing fashion. There’s no prizes for guessing who fancies this spot kick.
The Reds’ stopper was lucky not to concede a penalty when bringing down Edin Dzeko in the semi-final second leg and he was also at fault for two pens in the Premier League this season. It seems his luck has run out.
It has to be said, the 12/5 about a penalty being awarded to Real Madrid looked a gem among the more exotic betting opportunities at William Hill pre-game and it’s come good.
Real were the beneficiaries of more penalty kicks (four) than any other side in the Champions League this term en route to the final, while only Benfica conceded more than Liverpool (three).
Converted with authority by Ronaldo… Real equalise from the spot
All five previous meetings between these two great clubs have ended up wins to nil (three for Liverpool, the two most recent for Real), but this one isn’t following suit.
The opening goal has now been equalised in the last eight Champions League finals, so Liverpool would’ve been lucky to have stretched their lead.
Instead, it’s all square thanks to that man Ronaldo, who was a 4/5 anytime goalscorer bet pre-match.
Real Madrid have outscored UCL opponents 7-0 in minutes 76-90; Liverpool have conceded more UCL goals (5) in this 15-minute period than any other.
Both teams to score was a 4/9-rated formality before kick-off and so it has proven, copping for the tenth time in Los Blancos’ last 12 continental outings – it’s also the eighth successive final in which both sides have found the net.
A concern for Liverpool – the Reds look shell-shocked…
The last seven English sides to contest a Champions League Final all scored once or less. History suggests that another goal from Real would prove fatal to the Reds’ European dreams.
Equalisers haven’t been much of a speciality for Jurgen Klopp’s men in 2018 either– they’ve cancelled out an opposition lead just twice since the turn of the year.
The final whistle blows – extra time awaits…
Did you really expect anything different? Three of the last six finals went to an additional half-hour, including two of the last three featuring Real.
Champions League Final extra time begins
Nervy stuff from both sides
Liverpool’s fingers will be crossed for penalties here. Bizarrely given the national team’s horrendous record in them, English sides have prevailed in the last three Champions League shootouts they’ve contested against foreign opposition.
Half-time in extra time
The tension is almost unbearable inside the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, as this Saturday night in Kiev awaits a definitive final act. Both sides seem fearful of each other’s attacking might.
The second half of extra time begins
Real take the lead! It’s 2-1 Real Madrid with minutes of extra time remaining.
Ronaldo does it again, incredible.
If anyone was going to break the deadlock it was CR7, who has now notched his fourth Champions League extra time goal in his last four helpings of an extra 30 minutes in the competition.
It’s all over, Real Madrid win their third successive Champions League final
That’s it. Shrewdies who foresaw a Real win after extra time can collect their 10/1 wagers.
It’s tough on Liverpool but, with the respective records of their managers in finals, you always fancied the Spanish side.
Zidane has won all three he’s taken part in during his managerial career, whereas this defeat consigns Klopp to his sixth straight defeat in a knockout decider.
That’s now the fourth successive Spanish-English Champions League final to have gone the way of the Spanish protagonists too, but Liverpool can hold their heads up high after being the better team for much of the 90 minutes, before the game descended into extreme pragmatism in extra time.