Last year we had an EPL only final with Chelsea facing Manchester City, this time we barely did again except City decided to shit the bed in the most agonizing fashion. Anyway, here we are this time with Liverpool against Real Madrid in
Russia Paris. Lets see how we got here
An incomplete list of who we lost
Last year they were embarrassed by PSG in the knockout stages, this time they decided to save themselves the trouble and got eliminated in the group stages instead. Then they were eliminated by Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarterfinals, which included an invasion of Camp Nou by their rivals. I don’t see things changing for them next year
Bayern breezed thru the group stage and then crushed Leipzig in the round of 16, the next rival was Villarreal and most people didn’t think much about that, including the Bayern coach.
Things didn’t go as planned
Next year they’ll probably lose Lewandoski, not sure if he’ll go to Barcelona as they might not be able to afford him.
This year was going to be different for PSG, they had Messi now, surely they wouldn’t choke again. Well they did, and how. After an Mbappe goal and dominating the first half, including some costly misses, they were cruising and then Donnaruma did this and everything changed
Benzema scored two more and that was that. Well, at least PSG will still have Mbappe next year
So remember how I said PSG choked against Real Madrid, well City did a supercharged version of it, conceding two goals after the 90th minute and then a third one in extra time to get kicked out in disgrace. At least they did seem to learn the lesson as during their match against Villa they finally realized that keeping the ball in the corner looks awful, it’s not sportsmanlike or whatever but it wins fucking games. Anyway, congrats on winning the league, City, not sure if that’s enough to keep Pep.
Los Merengues are Champions League royalty, not only because they have won it the most of any team at 13 times (almost double than the second place AC Milan with 7), but they always seem to prevail even when things look dire. You must kill them, as they can always find a way to come back. This campaign they have proved it, twice. Liverpool must make sure they’re not the third casualty
As per their team, Real has an interesting mix of youth and experience. At the back they have Courtois as GK, a fairly solid line of four with Carvajal, Militao, Alaba and Mendy (Alaba appears to be healthy now), a great midfield with Casemiro on recovery that leaves the eternal Modric and Kroos to control the strings and up top either Rodrygo or Valverde and Vini Jr and Benzema who have been lethal together.
The Reds still remember the last time they faced Real Madrid in a Champions Final, and while Ramos is no longer on the team (and might retire altogether after an atrocious season at PSG) revenge is still in their minds and with good reason, that was indeed a dirty play and while whether Karius was concussed or not is still up for debate what is true is that this match completely destroyed his career.
Anyway, unlike Real, Liverpool had a way more chill Champions League path not facing many problems. Inter, Benfica and a surprising Villarreal where their matches in the knockout stages, this might play against them as they haven’t been tested yet. Well, at least not in this competition, they have already played and won two finals this season (FA and Carabao Cups) and while they missed the quadruple, they are still up for a respectable treble.
As per their team, Liverpool will probably start with Alisson at GK, a line of four with TAA and Robertson on the wings with either Matip or Konate partnering with Van Dijk, a midfield of Keita, Fabinho and Henderson due to Thiago’s injury against Wolves, and up top Salah, Mane and either Jota or Luis Díaz
Who will win?
The bookies say Liverpool and I’d say I agree. Besides the revenge factor, Klopp’s side looks like the better one although Thiago’s injury might be important given the midfield battle. On the other hand, Real has demonstrated that they thrive in adversity, Carletto might have the experience needed, we know he has the attitude already