The big Champions League final is here as the European season draws the curtain to a close. A big game is on the cards and we have all the important details for you as Liverpool take on Real Madrid.
The Reds have a seventh title in Europe’s primary competition in their sights this weekend, while continental veterans Los Blancos aim to get their hands on the trophy for a record-extending 14th time.
Inter Milan, Benfica, and Villarreal have been sent packing by Jurgen Klopp’s side en route to the Stade de France, while Carlo Ancelotti’s men have dumped out a trio of heavyweights in Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester City.
Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from disappointment last weekend when they were pipped to the Premier League title by Man City. They have though already won two trophies (the FA Cup and League Cup) and will be confident they can complete a remarkable treble here on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp’s men have enjoyed a phenomenal season and have seemingly got better as the campaign has gone on. Some may say they’ve had an easier than usual route to the final, but the Reds have been relatively comfortable in swatting Inter Milan, Benfica, and Villarreal aside in the knock-out stages.
Real Madrid is the competition’s most decorated club and indeed the last team to beat the Merseysiders in a Champions League final. Los Blancos have already enjoyed some success this season too, securing the La Liga title with games to spare a couple of weeks ago.
It’s been a dramatic Champions League campaign under Carlo Ancelotti, with Madrid needing to come from behind against PSG, Chelsea, and Manchester City in the knock-out stages.
Form Guide: Liverpool
Liverpool may not be able to complete the quadruple but a treble is the next best thing. They travel to Paris to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final. The Reds have already won the EFL Cup and FA Cup this season. Both those finals ended in goalless draws after 120 minutes.
The chances of that happening in Paris don’t look high at all. Backing both teams to score looks like a much better option. Liverpool kept a clean sheet against Chelsea in the FA Cup final but that’s the only time in their last six matches they have not conceded. Not just that but in those six games, they have conceded the first goal.
The Reds have had a smoother run to the final than their opponents. All six of their group games were won with Milan, Atletico Madrid, and Porto beaten In 12 Champions League games, they have scored at least twice aside from a 1-0 home loss to Inter. They have beaten two teams each from Italy, Portugal, and Spain on their way to the final with Villarreal and Benfica also defeated. They have had Salah and Van Dijk on the bench of late but it looks certain that both of those players will be starting the final on Saturday.
Form Guide: Real Madrid
Real Madrid have had a much more challenging route to the final. It has seen them lose four games, including one in each of the knockout rounds. Early on in the group stages, they were beaten at home by Sheriff but won their other five group matches with Inter and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The last 16 saw them up against PSG and they lost the away leg 1-0. They trailed 1-0 in the home second leg before a Benzema hat-trick put them in the last eight. The quarter-final tie with defending champions Chelsea looked to be going well when winning the away first leg 3-1 with Benzema again hitting a hat-trick. The second leg saw Real in trouble again as they went 3-0 and 4-3 down in the tie but late goals (one in extra time) got them through.
It was another struggle in the semi-finals, losing the away first leg 4-3 and then going a goal down at home in the second leg. More late goals got them back into the tie and the final. The La Liga champions now bid to make it wins against all of the top three teams in the Premier League.
How the game could go
Liverpool come into this game in good form and that’s even with a lot of squad rotation. It was enough to win the FA Cup but just fail to catch Manchester City in the Premier League. A feature of their recent games has been falling behind in games but coming back to get a win. Real Madrid confirmed their winning of La Liga with a few games to go.
Since then, they have been resting players and that has seen them draw their final two league fixtures. Talk about a tough game to call. Keeping the likes of Benzema, Vinicius, Salah, and Mane at bay over 90 or 120 minutes is nigh on impossible, and the Reds attackers in particular should feel confident about bagging a couple of strikes against a shaky Blancos backline.
However, Benzema only needs one half-chance to restore parity for Real, and Liverpool’s risky defensive strategy will always leave them vulnerable to the pace and trickery of Ancelotti’s two Brazilian star boys.
Having Thiago and Fabinho fit to start the game would be a mammoth boost for Klopp, whose side may be taken all the way to spot-kicks again, and we believe that Liverpool’s recent experience from 12 yards will help them get their hands on Europe’s biggest prize for the seventh time and end the Real fairytale.
Real Madrid to win
Nobody has won the Champions League/European Cup more times than Real Madrid (13) and we’re backing Ancelotti’s men to do the business once again this weekend, despite Liverpool being the favorites with the bookmakers. Real have won each of their last four meetings with Liverpool, all of which have been in the Champions League, securing a 3-1 aggregate win over the Reds last year. Real Madrid also won the La Liga title, beating Barcelona by 13pts, and in Benzema, they have the Champions League (15) and La Liga (27) top goal scorers this season. Bet9ja have 3.40, 1xbet have 3.64 and Paripesa have 3.64 odds.
Over 2.5 Goals
The betting markets also project plenty of goals in this match, with both teams expected to score, and the over 2.5 total goals the favorite. That would mark a break from recent trends, as the Champions League final often proves to be a cagey affair between two teams looking to avoid committing a big mistake. The last three Champions League finals have seen just four total goals scored, and one side has been held scoreless in all three. The games played by both teams leading to the final have produced lots of goals and we don’t see it stopping here. Bet9ja have 1.74 odds, Paripesa have 1.79, and 1xbet have 1.79 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Liverpool)
Mohamed Salah shared the Premier League lead with Son Heung-min of Tottenham this season with 23, and he led the EPL in assists with 13. He has eight goals in Champions League matches, Mo Salah picked up an injury in the FA Cup final and hasn’t started a game since. He is bound to start on Saturday though and Liverpool’s strong attack will cause Real problems. Bet9ja have 2.45 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.00.
The Senegalese forward has had an amazing turn of the year winning three trophies already for club and country and could add the biggest one of all on Saturday. He has scored over 15 goals since the turn of the year and his return from the Nations Cup for Liverpool. He can be the main man for this Liverpool side here today scoring the vital goal to seal the win. He scored the last time these two sides met but it wasn’t enough to see them win that day. Bet9ja have 3.00 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.50.
Anytime Goalscorer (Real Madrid)
At the age of 34, Karim Benzema is having his best-ever goal scoring season and Real Madrid will be hoping he can fire them to European glory this weekend. The French international striker scored 27-goals in La Liga to win the Spanish Golden Boot award and has 15-goals in the Champions League this season, which will earn him the top goalscorer award in that competition as well, and with 7-goals in his last nine appearances for the Spanish giants, you can see just why we’re backing Real Madrid’s main man to score against Liverpool on Saturday. Bet9ja have 2.45 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.20.
Vinicius Junior meanwhile could prove a bit of a difference-maker for the Spanish champions. He has created more chances than any other player in the Champions League this season (31), while no player has provided more assists (six) or been fouled more times (24) than him. He is sure to start right up top for Madrid alongside Benzema to provide a formidable goal scoring threat. Bet9ja have 3.60 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.10.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.