By News Team
24th May 2022
So, here we are then. The finale of this season’s Champions League and what a cracking contest we’ve got with Spanish champions taking on Premier League runners-up Liverpool in a rematch of the 2018 final.
Madrid, via some interesting goalkeeping from Loris Karius and Gareth Bale’s spectacular bicycle kick, emerged victorious that day, but they are the outsiders this time around.
Here’s our big game preview.
Liverpool hoping to go one better than in Premier League
It was a case of so close yet so far for Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Premier League. The Reds got the job done against Wolves and looked to be heading for the title before Manchester City’s remarkable comeback against Aston Villa wrenched the trophy back to the Etihad. To finish on 92 points and not win it would have been a bitter pill to swallow, but the Premier League was always the trophy that looked most unlikely and let’s not forget Liverpool have already bagged both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this campaign.
Liverpool have been pretty much note perfect in this season’s Champions League, having become the first English side to win all six of their group stage matches, and have then gone on to dispatch Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal with a minimum of fuss. Many might argue their draw has been favourable but we all know Klopp’s team have the ability to beat anyone on their day and few would argue that alongside Manchester City, they are the benchmark for everyone else in Europe. They are the 21/20 favourites to win in 90 minutes are just 4/7 to lift the trophy.
Klopp certainly has a few selection headaches ahead of this one with key midfielder Thiago an injury doubt after limping off against Wolves on Sunday. The Reds looked lacking in ideas without him during the second half and Klopp will be really hoping he’s able to play here. If he does make it, he’s 8/1 to score anytime. Another integral player in the middle of the park is Fabinho, who has been out of action since suffering a muscle problem against Aston Villa. He’s become a mainstay of Liverpool’s midfield and if the reports are to be believed, he’s winning his race to be fit to face Madrid.
The other selection conundrum for Klopp is who will start up front, but if recent selections are anything to go by, then it will be Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz either side of Sadio Mane. The Senegalese forward, who is 11/2 to open the scoring and 9/5 to score anytime, has found the back of the net in both his recent appearances.
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Madrid showing European pedigree again
While Liverpool have enjoyed a somewhat fortuitous path to the final, Real Madrid have had anything but. They came from 2-0 on aggregate to beat PSG 3-2 and then saw off Chelsea after extra-time in the quarter-finals. They then pulled off a remarkable comeback against Manchester City to go from 2-0 on aggregate to winning 3-2, which was further evidence that whatever challenge they seem to face in Europe this season, they find a way to deal with it.
They have a brilliant manager in Carlo Ancelotti who knows how to get the job done in this competition and with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior up front, they are a match for anyone. Benzema, in particular, has been superb in the Champions League this season scoring 15 times, with 10 of them coming in the knockout stage, equalling Cristiano Ronaldo’s record. Liverpool will know they need to keep the Frenchman quiet in Paris to have any chance here and he’s 7/2 to score first and 21/20 to score anytime.
Real are the 9/4 outsiders to win the game in 90 minutes, while they are 11/8 to lift the trophy. Many will fancy them given their European pedigree as well as the fact that plenty of their side know how to get it done on the big stage. They also have the added positive of having not played for eight days prior to the final, with their last game being a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis.