Two of the most successful teams in the history of the UEFA Champions League will face off in the repeat of 2018 final, as Real Madrid will be welcoming Liverpool to the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.
There have been six Champions League meetings between these two teams, with Real Madrid winning 3 games, while Liverpool have won 3 matches. There were 5 clean sheets in those games.
Real Madrid will be without their captain, Sergio Ramos, who picked up a calf injury on international duty. Liverpool, on the other hand, will be without Divock Origi, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Virgil Van Dijk due to injury, while Caoimhin Kelleher is a major doubt.
Speaking ahead of this match, Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane said: “Their front line is really good but in general they’re a solid outfit. They play well as a team. Both sides are missing players, but that always happens in football, but strength comes from the team. We’ve been underrated and I’m very confident in what my team can achieve. The history of this club shows we can always battle back. We never give up or throw in the towel. We are still alive in both competitions [the league and Champions League]. There have been some lows this season but we still have to fight on. Liverpool are a really complete team.”
He added: “it’s knockout football, a final, that’s going to be played over 180 minutes or more. We know what there is to come, but we’re just focused on tomorrow’s game – nothing else. It’s the most important game of the season because it’s the next one we have. We aren’t thinking about the past [the 2018 final].”
He finally hailed his opposition manager, saying: “Klopp is a great manager with a great CV and has done superbly at Liverpool. I don’t have to copy him because everyone has their way of going about things. I like to look and learn though and when I did my management course I analyzed Klopp.”
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp said: “It helps massively if you work longer together [in defence]. The whole line-up played with big determination [at Arsenal], everyone felt responsibility. Tomorrow will be a proper test for that. This opponent asks for defensive organization and we need to show we are on the right path. Our team is built for this kind of game. We face a football-playing side which helps and that’s why we have a chance. Everyone says Real Madrid is favourite and we have no problem with the role of challenger.”
He then hailed the Blancos as seasoned Champions League winners, saying: “I’m not so determined to show the world how good we are, I want to show our fans that we are still fighting. We want to get whatever is possible out of this season. We have created a better base recently and we are still in the fight. We have to chase Real Madrid tomorrow, who are in a really good moment. Very experienced. If someone knows how to win the Champions League, it is Real Madrid.”
Real Madrid look to be back to their best, with almost all their injured players back to full fitness. Liverpool, on the other hand, are still not convincing yet, but they have won their last three matches. This looks like a match the Blancos should edge after 90 minutes.