Liverpool v. Real Madrid: the promise of thrilling Champions League final

·3 min read

Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp's side aiming to end the season with a trophy treble while the Spanish giants will look to Karim Benzema to inspire them to a 14th European Cup victory.

A crowd of 80,000 will pack into the Stade de France for the 9:00pm kickoff, as Liverpool and Real compete for European club football's most prestigious prize for the second time in five years.

The final promises to be a fitting climax to the European season, with Liverpool looking to win a second Champions League in four seasons just days after they narrowly lost out to Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

They have already won the English League Cup and FA Cup.

"If you are a football person you know what my boys did so far this season was exceptional," Klopp said on Friday.

"But we all know you are judged by the colour of the medal after a game."

The German has been boosted by the news that midfield duo Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are fit to play.

The game, a rematch of the 2018 final, had been scheduled for St Petersburg's Gazprom Arena but was shifted to the Stade de France after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

In a show of support, Klopp dedicated Saturday's match to the people of Ukraine.

Up to 60,000 Liverpool supporters have travelled to the French capital, most without tickets.

Around 20,000 supporters of each side can attend the final, but Paris authorities have set up an area in the east of the city where up to 40,000 Liverpool fans can watch on giant screens.

Some 7,000 police officers will be on duty to marshal fans.

Bitter memories of 2018

Liverpool can win their seventh European Cup, which would take them level with AC Milan and leave only Real with more victories.

The Anfield club have bitter memories of losing 3-1 to Real in Kyiv in 2018, when Mohamed Salah went off injured in the first half following a challenge by the now-departed Sergio Ramos.

Gareth Bale scored twice for the Spaniards and errors by goalkeeper Loris Karius undermined Liverpool's challenge.

Madrid are looking to win their fifth Champions League in nine seasons and, ominously, have won on all of their last seven final appearances.

While Liverpool saw off Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal in the knockout rounds, Carlo Ancelotti's Real produced a series of memorable comebacks to beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and then Manchester City.

"It is a great success for all of us to be here. We know very well the demands at this club, the history, but for us to get here is huge," said Ancelotti.

"We are convinced that the season has already been very, very good but now we are very close to getting the big one."

This will be the third final between the clubs, who also met in Paris in 1981, when the English side triumphed thanks to Alan Kennedy's goal at the Parc des Princes.

(with AFP)

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