It’s almost here. This Saturday at 7:45pm, Liverpool will kick off in Kyiv in what is undoubtedly our biggest game in the last decade.
Real Madrid, 12 times winners of the competition stand in the way of Liverpool’s European Glory and are the toughest test we could have possibly faced.
The side led by Zidane are in pursuit of their third Champions League title in a row, having last year been the first team to defend their European title.
Salah vs Ronaldo. Van Dijk vs Ramos. Mané vs Bale. There are so many battles that could define the outcome of this match which promises so much given the attacking systems that both managers deploy.
Real have had an intriguing season, a slow start to their La Liga campaign saw their title chances gone by Christmas with Barcelona opening up a hefty point lead.
With that challenge gone early in the season, attention turned to the Champions League. Spurs turned out to be Real’s ‘Achilles Heel’ and the English side ended up topping the group of death, a well-earned draw at the Bernabeu was followed by a 3-1 masterclass at Wembley.
People began to turn a blind eye to Real, with nobody predicting them to defend their title after a string of poor league results and especially as they were about to face Neymar’s PSG.
Real breezed past PSG before beating Juventus 3-0 in Italy, seemingly putting the tie to bed – people remembered why you should never write off Real Madrid in a knockout competition.
While Real would struggle in the second leg against Juve, and progress past Bayern on away goals, the presence of Ronaldo who is undoubtedly in the form of his life has seen them progress to yet another final.
Evidently, Real are not as strong as they have been in the previous two years but they will go into this final as favourites given their pedigree and personnel.
Fact: Zinedine Zidane becomes only the third manager to reach three consecutive Champions League or European Cup finals following in the footsteps of the legendary Marcello Lippi with Juventus (1996-1998) and ex-England boss Fabio Capello with Milan (1993-1995).
Mohamed Salah vs Cristiano Ronaldo
All eyes will be on these superstars on Saturday night – the two best players in the world on current form face off in Europe’s biggest game; talk about narrative!
With both teams’ faith resting in the hands of their respective talismanic attackers, it could be a game defined by who has the bigger impact.
The numbers alone show why these players are so key, with 25 goals between them in the 24 games since the tournament began. They have been the two standout players by a country mile.
Their impact on matches cannot be understated, they are two players that get you on the edge of the seat and will have you cheering when the ball inevitably hits the back of the net.
Salah’s goal against Roma was a display of pure precision and blistering power as he picked out the top corner from the edge of the area, with the ball rattling off the underside of the bar – in my opinion, this is his best goal for us given the occasion, the atmosphere, against his former team; it’s the perfect combination.
As for Ronaldo, his bicycle kick against Juventus defies physics itself, at the height of his kick, he meets the ball 7″1 in the air and absolutely rockets it home.
It’s one of the best goals of his career and will become iconic in years to come – he had the Juventus fans on their feet applauding him, if that’s not an ego boost I don’t know what is.
Which goal did you think was better?