Champions League Final preview: Liverpool vs Real Madrid

2022 Champions League final preview: Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Liverpool fans celebrating.
Photo: Tommy Lister

Liverpool and Real Madrid both travel to Paris for the Champions League final this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp’s side head into this fixture after beating Villarreal 5-2 on aggregate in the semi-final just over three weeks ago.

Real pulled off an outstanding last-minute comeback against Manchester City in their semi-final, scoring twice in the dying embers of the game before Karim Benzema slotted home a penalty in extra time to seal their fate.

Both sides have had very positive league campaigns this year with Liverpool finishing the season on a high after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 and Real finishing as La Liga Champions on 86 points.

Team News:

Three of Liverpool’s main men, Mohammed Salah, Fabinho and Virgil Van Dijk were carrying knocks, but all have been cleared by Klopp and look set to feature at some point on Saturday.

Joe Gomez is the only confirmed absentee after he left Liverpool’s game with Southampton just over a week ago with a protective boot on.

Salah will be desperate to get revenge and feature having come off early in Liverpool’s last Champions League final with Real Madrid when a collision with Sergio Ramos injured the Egyptians shoulder.

As for Real Madrid, Gareth Bale’s fitness was a doubt in their last La Liga game against Real Betis, but he is expected to make the bench on Saturday.

David Alaba and Miguel Gutierrez and major doubts with Nacho Fernandez expected to start in his place at centre-back.

Aside from these players, Carlo Ancelotti has a fully fit squad to choose from with many fans calling for Rodrygo to start after his brilliance against Man City in the semi-final.

Predicted Line-ups:

Liverpool: (4-3-3)

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Thiago, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Mane, Diaz.

Klopp will look to start his strongest possible XI available. Liverpool will play in their usual 4-3-3 formation with Sadio Mane expected to play down the middle with Salah and Diaz either side of him.

Real Madrid: (4-3-3)

Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Modric, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Junior.

Ancelotti will also set up in a 4-3-3 formation and so it will be a straight match-up for the players on the pitch. Rodrygo is expected to come in after some good form in recent weeks.

Latest meetings:

These two sides met in the knockout stages of this competition last season, and it was Madrid who came out on top winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Liverpool was without any senior centre-backs for the fixtures but two goals from Vinicius and another from Marco Asensio cancelled out a Salah goal in the first leg.

The second leg ended 0-0 meaning Real progressed to the semi-finals of the 2020/2021 competition.

Before that, these two met in the 2018 Champions League final but it was again Real Madrid who came out on top winning 3-1 after two goals from Gareth Bale and one from Benzema cancelled out Mane’s equaliser.

Ones to watch:

Salah has been immense for Liverpool this season. He’s the top scorer in the Premier League with 22 goals and he has also notched 13 assists.

He’s also scored another eight in the Champions League this season and he could be pivotal for Liverpool on Saturday if they are to be successful.

Benzema has had calls to receive the Ballon D’or for 2022 after some outstanding performances across the season.

He’s scored 27 league goals and made 12 assists in La Liga.

The 34-year-old is the top scorer in this season’s Champions League having scored 15 goals including a handful of very important ones including that hattrick against Chelsea and the penalty against City.

Where to watch:

The game will be shown live on BT Sport on Saturday, May 28.

The kick-off is at 8:00pm GMT with coverage starting at 7:00pm.