Liverpool head to Paris to take on Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League  final tomorrow. These two sides contested the 2018 final, with Los Blancos coming out on top. It is sure to be another blockbuster affair. We preview the game.

For a look at six key battles that could decide the outcome of the game, you can head over here.

For a recap of Liverpool’s journey to the final, you can head over here.

It’s been a successful season for Carlo Ancelotti’s side so far, after clinching the La Liga title by finishing a whopping 13 points clear of arch rivals Barcelona. Los Blancos are aiming to add European Cup/Champions League number 14 to the haul to top off a fantastic campaign.

The title was Real’s 35th and it was just reward for an excellent campaign. In the Champions League, Los Blancos overcame a shaky start after suffering defeat to FC Sheriff, to power their way through the group stages with five wins from six.

They then went through an incredibly difficult route to reach their 16th final. Ancelotti’s charges showcased their mental fortitude to produce comebacks in every single knockout tie. They went down 2-0 on aggregate in the second leg against PSG before blowing them away with a second half surge.

The talismanic Benzema netted a hat trick to seal a place in the quarter finals against Chelsea. An impressive 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge followed. The return leg once again provided fireworks. The Blues stunned the Bernabeu into silence by going 3-0 up on the night to edge ahead on aggregate.

That was before an otherworldly pass by Modric set Rodrygo up to send the tie to extra time. Benzema once again proved the difference as he headed Real into the semis. The semi final tie against Manchester City provided even greater drama.

Los Blancos somehow escaped with just a one goal deficit after being outclassed at the Etihad. Then when Mahrez put City 5-3 up on aggregate late on in the second leg, it seemed for all intents and purposes that Real’s race was run.

This side’s history in the competition doesn’t allow them to give up however, and two Rodrygo goals in stoppage time sent the tie to extra time where Benzema once again proved the difference. This fighting spirit has seen Real win four of the last seven editions of the Champions League.

They are very experienced at this level and will pose a unique threat to Jürgen Klopp’s side. They’ve not lost a final since the rebranding of the competition in 92, going on to lift the trophy in each of their last seven appearances in the final.

Liverpool are no novices at this level either. For most of the squad, this will be a third appearance in the showpiece final. For others like Thiago, it’s a fourth. The Reds enjoy a similar romance with this competition and will not be overawed.

After agonisingly missing out on the league title by a single point, this squad is determined to clinch their third trophy of the season. The Reds’ tally of 92 points would have been enough to be crowned champions in Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

It is desperately unlucky to have finished second on two occasions with 90+ points. They will take solace in clinching the League Cup and FA Cup this season. Both of those finals went to extra time and you’d hope it’s not the same scenario tomorrow night.

This is the Reds’ 63rd game of a marathon season and you worry for the energy levels if it indeeds goes beyond ninety minutes. Signs of fatigue have been evident in the last few games but this squad have one more push in them. Whether that’ll be enough to lift number 7 will be seen.

Real have enjoyed the better of the recent clashes between the two. In the last five meetings, they’ve won four and drawn one. Liverpool’s last victory over the Spanish champions was way back in 2009 in a 5-1 quarter final aggregate win.

There’s also the famous 1-0 win in the 1981 final (also held in Paris). There’s a feeling we owe Real one. A Salah injury and two gaffes by Loris Karius ruined the 2018 final, whilst a centre back injury crisis meant we couldn’t show our best in last season’s quarter final clash.

There are no excuses this time round. Hopefully both sets of players stay fit and play to the best of their ability tomorrow night. That would serve up a real treat of a final and the better side will walk out as champions of Europe.

Team News

For Liverpool, Thiago seems to have recovered from an achilles injury picked up against Wolves last week. Fabinho has also returned to training following a hamstring strain. The duo have both been included in the squad but Divock Origi misses out with a muscle injury.

For Real, it’s a fully fit squad available for Carlo Ancelotti. That’s after David Alaba returned to training after spending a month on the sidelines with an injury he picked up at the Etihad in the semi final.



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