BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen argued after the Champions League final, as Owen claimed Liverpool are “still the team to beat in Europe”, despite their defeat to Real Madrid in the last game of the season.
Before the match Owen had predicted a heavy Liverpool win, tweeting: “It’s a miracle that Madrid have made the final but in Liverpool they face their biggest challenge. I can see the reds winning this comfortably.”
Liverpool dominated the game but a stunning performance by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois earned Madrid a clean sheet and it meant Vinicius Jr’s second-half tap-in was enough for Real to claim a record 14th European title.
Afterwards Owen said Liverpool “did nothing wrong” and were better than Madrid.
“I still believe that they are the best team in Europe,” Owen said. “Just becase you win the trophy, there’s a lot more to be said for who’s the best team. Liverpool are still the team to beat.”
An aghast Ferdinand responded: “how can you call them the best team in Europe if they lost the league and the Champions League final in the last 2 weeks?”
Owen explained:“ Real Madrid have got past them today, but you know as well as anyone that a one-off game is a one-off game. I still think they’re the most fearsome team in Europe and they’ve not got any of the big two trophies to show for it, that’ll be the biggest pill to swallow.”
But Ferdinand was not having it. “They’re an unbelievably exciting team, the points tally they’ve got in the league, the consistency in which they’ve played, they’ve competed in every single game available to them, but you’ve got to get your hands on the big trophies to be called outright the best team in Europe.
“I don’t think they’ll be considered that and it would be disrespectful to Real Madrid to say that. They’ve just beaten all our top three teams in our league, they’ve got rid of them and got their hands on that trophy.”