Liverpool vs Real Madrid team news: The Stade de France in Paris plays host to the Champions League final, with Jurgen Klopp’s side hoping to end a memorable season on a massive high
With 19 European Cups between them, this year’s Champions League final pits two of the tournament’s most successful teams against each other.
As 13-time winners, a win for Real Madrid would ensure they have been crowned Kings of Europe more than double the amount of times than any other club. For Liverpool, victory in Paris would see them join AC Milan with seven victorious campaigns.
Madrid come into the showpiece at the Stade de France on the back of a hugely successful campaign which has already seen them cruise to the LaLiga title. And while the Reds narrowly missed out on the Premier League, they have had a remarkable season, lifting both the FA Cup and EFL Cup.
Liverpool have reached the final having put together a near-perfect run, winning their six group games before beating Inter Milan, Benfica and then Villarreal in the knockout stages. Madrid’s route has been significantly less serene, with more than their fair share of memorable comebacks.
In aggregate victories over Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, at one point or another, Los Blancos looked dead and buried only to find a second wind. In the semi final against City, Madrid were minutes away from elimination before two Rodrygo goals in 90 seconds sent the tie to extra time – where Karim Benzema scored his 15th goal of a stunning Champions League season.
Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti also represent two of the best coaches in world football, with the Liverpool boss admitting his opposite number was a “role model” for his own career. And both managers have major selection dilemmas ahead of the final, with a number of intriguing decisions set to shape the direction of the game.
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For Liverpool it’s all eyes on Thiago Alcantara, the Spaniard is set for a late fitness test after picking up an injury in their final Premier League game of the season. Thiago looked destined to miss out, but Klopp raised hope revealing the prognosis was “surprisingly good” and was due to return to training on Thursday.
His midfield partner Fabinho looks set to shake off the injury which saw him miss both the FA Cup final and the win over Wolves, having rejoined his team-mates in the days before flying out to the French capital.
During the Wembley victory over Chelsea earlier this month, a nightmare scenario was at risk of playing out when Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah both picked up injuries. But Van Dijk allayed fears he wouldn’t be available to battle with Benzema, telling fans: “I’m fine, absolutely fine.”
As for Salah, he was given a valuable rest against Wolves, coming off the bench to score his 23rd Premier League goal of the season. Divock Origi, the hero of their 2019 triumph, has not been so lucky however and the Belgian will be denied the chance of a legendary bookend to his Kop career through injury.
Klopp will have a decision to make when it comes to the make-up of his much vaunted front three. Salah and Sadio Mane are definite starters, with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino contending for the final spot. Mane has proven to be more than capable centrally and that would allow the dangerous Diaz to start from the off and keep the Spaniards on the back foot.
Real Madrid have fewer injury concerns, but Ancelotti is likely to take somewhat of a gamble with David Alaba, throwing the central defender back into the lineup having missed the last month. The other debatable decision comes in right midfield, with Federico Valverde and Rodrygo vying for the same spot.
Valverde got the nod against City and despite Rodrygo’s brace from the bench, he looks set to start again, with his defensive abilities likely to be put to the test against Liverpool’s dangerous left-hand side of Andy Robertson and Luis Diaz.
Predicted Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz.
Predicted Real Madrid XI (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro; Valverde, Modric, Vinicius Jr; Benzema.