The stage is set, and the city of Paris awaits as two of Europe’s most successful sides clash in the final of the 2021/2022 edition of the UEFA Champions League.
The already set Stade de France in Saint Dennis is the venue as Liverpool battles Real Madrid in the final.
Both teams had a relatively different path to the final with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool being considered the luckier of the two. Their path featuring clubs like Benfica, Inter Milan, and Unai Emery’s Villarreal.
Los Blancos, on the other hand, have not had it easy in fact they have often had to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” in the most unique and fashionable ways to say the least. Seeing off Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester City to make it this far.
Going down memory lane, both sides have met at this stage of the Champions League a couple of times. In1981 and most recently 2018. Bob Paisley’s Liverpool side stinging Los Blancos 1-0 in Paris and the remarkable Real Madrid side getting their revenge in 2018 in Kyiv and that ghost of 2018 is what Jurgen Klopp’s side will be looking to banish when they clash this weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be without the service of Belgian Divock Origi. But a silver lining Liverpool faithful can hold on to is the fact that their biggest worries for them on route to the Stade de France which was the injuries to three of their key players: Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, and Thiago Alcântara, all of whom are regular starters for the Anfield side are set to be passed fit to feature against Real Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti on the other hand has all his soldiers raring to go including David Alaba who returned to training this week. Hence the Italian has his full arsenal to select from.
Liverpool and Real Madrid have met a total of eight times down the years in competitive action, with the Spanish side posting four wins compared to three for the Reds, and there has also been one stalemate between the sides. Overall the last five meetings between these sides have seen Real Madrid wrap up four victories and a draw.
THE LOOMING REVENGE:
'I remember when I left the field after 30 minutes of that game it was the worst moment of my career,' said Salah. 'I was really down. I had a good season and then to play my first Champions League final and come off so soon was the worst thing that could happen to me.
'I found out the result while I was in the hospital. I thought we just could not lose the game in that way. I never felt that way before in football.'
The Egyptian took to social media immediately after Real Madrid secured their place in the UEFA Champions League final saying ‘We have a score to settle’ an act most Real Madrid players including Karim Benzema have dubbed disrespectful.
Quizzed about the statements of Mo Salah, Jurgen Klopp believes revenge is a wasted emotion. For the Liverpool manager, Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid will be viewed in isolation as yet another very big game to be won.
Going by Jurgen’s word, the final may be a less eventful one but hopefully not a repeat of the 2019 final against Spurs.
Liverpool’s downtrend through the upcoming weeks if it is anything to go by, puts the tie in Real Madrid’s favor. Though Jurgen mighty have openly dismissed the talk of revenge, it will definitely be an agenda on the Liverpool player’s mind.
Los Blancos on the other hand have had a lot of rest under their belt and will be refreshed for this tie. Being the masters of the Champions League, I will tilt this tie in favor of Real Madrid. As they will look to capitalize on the fragile mentality the Anfield boys will unquestionably be suffering from.