Real Madrid faces Liverpool for the UCL Final in Kiev. The defending 12-time Champions will enter the pitch with odds in their favor. The stats of teams, coaches and players slant towards the experienced ‘Los Blancos’ side.
Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)
The UCL Final is now nearer than ever with less than 10 days left. The teams have some serious talent which might be enough for either one of them who’ll win the competition.
We look at the key factors which might affect the result. Experience will be one big key factor in the game. Both teams have previously won the UEFA Champions League but Real Madrid have the numbers favoring them.
Titles in European top-flight competition:-
Liverpool: 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005 (in total 5).
Real Madrid: 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960,1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017 (in total 12).
The English club has a respectable number, same as Bayern Munchen and Barcelona. Though the number in total falls short to that of Real Madrid. The last title won by Liverpool was in 2005 which is 13 years ago and the present squad of Liverpool hasn’t tasted any success in the competition whereas Real Madrid has been playing in UCL Semi-Finals for past 7 years and have won 3 UCL titles in last 4 years.
The squad of Real Madrid which is most likely to play in the Final is the same which lifted the last two titles consecutively. Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Bale, Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo. Even if the changes are made the bench which would feature has also played in major games of the competition against tough opponents. Likes of Kovacic, Asensio, Isco, Nacho, Vazquez.
On the other hand, one of the stars of Liverpool side who has been absolutely phenomenal for the Merseyside club is Mohammed Salah. This has been his first season with the reds and he has already led them to the UCL Final. The Egyptian has Managed to play 37 games and scoring 17 goals in his UCL career so far. 10 of those goals have been in this season with Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp puts it all very well with his quote:
“It’s Real Madrid,so you don’t have to talk about many things.You can’t be more experience in this competition than Real Madrid.I think pretty much 80% of this Real Madrid team played all these finals, four times in last five years & they still together.If we talk about experience they are experienced,we are not but we will be really on fire.”
Last time Salah faced Real Madrid was with AS Roma in 2016 and his performance was not the most outstanding one though he attracted appreciation for his swift runs on the right flank. The fixture ended 4-0 on aggregate in favor of Real Madrid who went on to lift the title. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two and one goals each for James and Jese.
The most experienced UCL player for Real Madrid is currently Cristiano Ronaldo with 4 titles so far and a record number of 121 goals in the competition with 156 appearances. The Portuguese leads all the possible charts in the competition. He is the top assister and goalscorer, he has the most freekicks, and goals in KO stages, he is tied with Lionel Messi in the most number of UCL goals in group stages. The five time Ballon De Ore winner has 15 goals this season. He is the only player to score in 3 separate UCL finals and has the most number of goals in the finals too i.e. 4
Moving aside from big names and the club record. The record of the two coaches is also interesting.
The German coach started his managerial career in 2001 from a humble club in Germany Mainz. He worked there for 7 years and earned them a promotion to the top flight league Bundesliga. He later joined Borussia Dortmund in 2008 and reconstructed the club and left them far well off than they were when he arrived. The 50-year-old now manages the English club, Liverpool which he joined in 2015. He hasn’t tasted much success in Finals but has an elite reputation of beating stronger sides. His record in finals is as follows:
Finals – 6
Won – 1
Lost – 5
- German Cup Final 2012, Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munchen (Klopp’s Dortmund won 5-2)
- UCL Final 2013, Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munchen (Klopp’s Dortmund lost 2-1)
- German Cup Final 2014, Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munchen (Klopp’s Dortmund lost 2-0)
- German Cup Final 2015, Borussia Dortmund vs Wolfsburg (Klopp’s Dortmund lost 3-1)
- League Cup Final 2016, Liverpool vs Manchester City (Klopp’s Liverpool lost on penalties)
- Europa League Final 2016, Liverpool vs Sevilla (Klopp’s Liverpool lost 3-1)
The French manager has been ridiculed for having a golden hand. The 45-year-old is on a run of turning every final into success. Though he started his managerial career in mid-season of 2016 as Rafael Benitez was sacked by Madrid for drifting the club into crisis. Zinedine Zidane stepped up and turned the hopeless season into massive success and ever since he’s continued to bring silverware to Santiago Bernabeu. His record is as follows.
Finals – 7
Won – 7
Lost – 0
- UEFA Champions League 2016, Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (Zidane’s Madrid won on penalties)
- UEFA Super Cup 2016, Real Madrid vs Sevilla (Zidane’s Madrid won 3-2)
- FIFA Club World Cup 2016, Real Madrid vs Kashima Antlers (Zidane’s Madrid won 4-2)
- UEFA Champions League 2017, Real Madrid vs Juventus (Zidane’s Madrid won 4-1)
- UEFA Super Cup 2017, Real Madrid vs Manchester United (Zidane’s Madrid won 2-1)
- Spanish Super Cup 2017, Real Madrid vs Barcelona (Zidane’s Madrid won 5-1 on agg.)
- FIFA Club World Cup 2017, Real Madrid vs Gremio (Zidane’s Madrid won 1-0)
Now we look at the Journey to the Final both the teams had.
Real Madrid were the ones with lesser odds favoring them this season in almost every fixture.
Borussia Dortmund (Madrid won on 6-3 agg.)
Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs won on 4-2 agg.)
Apoel (Madrid won on 9-0 agg.)
Round of 16:
PSG (Madrid won on 5-2 agg.)
Round of 8:
Juventus (Madird won on 4-3 agg.)
Round of 4:
Bayern Munchen (Madrid won on 4-3 agg.)
Liverpool had an interesting journey too as they also were not the favorites of each round they played. They also had to participate in UCL playoffs before qualifying for the group stage.
Hoffenheim (Liverpool won on 6-3 agg.)
Sevilla (Draw on 5-5 agg.)
Maribor (Liverpool won on 10-0 agg.)
Spartak Moskva (Liverpool won on 8-1 agg.)
Round of 16:
Porto (Liverpool won on 5-0 agg.)
Round of 8:
Manchester City (Liverpool won on 5-1 agg.)
Round of 4:
AS Roma (Liverpool won on 6-7 agg.)
Real Madrid (TBD)
Apart from all these stats if there was a starting XI made of both the teams combined. Arguably the only Red jersey would be of Mo Salah. This says a lot about the contrast of experience and quality among the two teams.
Real Madrid will enter the pitch with more experience and the squad which has played together in a similar atmosphere for 3-4 seasons in all the big games.
Liverpool may not have that kind of courage but they have impressed a lot this season especially after beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City thrice in 2018 and making it to the UCL Final. The match will witness a lot of goals for sure as both teams have defensive issues and the most clinical of attackers.
Our prediction is the match may go into extra time and maybe penalty shoot-out too. The penalties are slightly in favor of the experienced team. Hence, our pick would be Real Madrid C.F. to lift their 3rd consecutive UCL Title.
The UCL Final will be played on 26th of May 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine at 7:45 PM CET. The match will be telecasted live all over the world via the official broadcasting partners of UEFA.