The time has come. The entire season is coming to an end with the last and most glorious match: The Champions League final. Real Madrid vs Liverpool, two of the most successful football clubs in the European football and seventeen Champions League titles in the field of NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium at Kiev.
Liverpool wants to redeem this spectacular season with its 6th Champions League title, and on the contrary Real Madrid has the historic chance to win three consecutive Champions League titles, and 4th in the last five years. It sounds incredible, and indeed this final seems to be impressive.
Real Madrid: The experience and the winning mentality of Los Merengues
Real Madrid has been qualified for a third consecutive season in a Champions League final, having excluded Paris Saint Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in a row. Zinedine Zidane’s team focused on this competition after the dramatic start in La Liga and the exclusion at the quarterfinals of Copa Del Rey from Leganes. However, there is one clear and indisputable phenomenon.
Real Madrid has been created for matches like this. They find, no matter how, the way to win the Champions League title. The winning mentality that Real Madrid shows in this competition is admirable as well as the superiority against every opponent who tries to be an obstacle on their way to glory. Even if Zidane’s tactical approach is impressive or not, the French coach is an excellent administrator in the locker room, and he knows how to balance Real Madrid’s weaknesses.
The football style of Zinedine Zidane’s team focuses on ball possession and complete control of the game. The formation of diamond in the midfield with Isco in front of Kroos, Casemiro and Modric give the advantage in Real Madrid to keep the ball quickly with four players behind the attackers, avoiding any gaps in the midfield. In the attack, there are no clear wingers because Marcelo and Carvajal play this role, and they always feed Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale. However, the major problems occur in defence from the wings. The diamond formation lacks defensive support when the opponent’s right and left back attack. Moreover, Marcelo is a full-back player without defensive habits, and this is the most critical threat for Real Madrid in the upcoming final: Liverpool’s amazing attack.
Liverpool: The hunger for glory
Liverpool reached in a Champions League final after thirteen years, and the memorable match against AC Milan in Turkey. Jurgen Klopp feels confident for his team because Liverpool is in excellent condition.
Liverpool plays a crazy attacking football with high pressure on opponent’s defence. Salah, Firmino and Mane is the best trio in Europe, and generally, Liverpool has the best attack in the competition for this season. Milner and Henderson have the experience to control the game in the midfield and play the ball fast in the attack, and Virgil van Dijk offered power and balance in the defence. Jurgen Klopp is well-known for his attacking spirit, playing a high-intensity football with lots of pressure. So, this Liverpool’s benefit can be crucial in the final if we consider Real Madrid’s weakness which is Marcelo’s defensive positions. The following image portrays how Liverpool exploited against Manchester City the gaps of City’s right back Walker on the counter attacks.
Such tactical approach is precisely same with Marcelo’s ones from the left side. Mohamed Salah is the key player to exploit the gaps of Marcelo, and his goal-scoring instinct is vital against Real Madrid. This is Liverpool’s significant and crucial advantage to win the title. As Jurgen Klopp claimed:
“Everyone has seen it, and it seems obvious. Marcelo is a great offensive player … but he does not defend.”
Another interesting fact is what time during the match these both teams score goals. The images below demonstrate that Liverpool scores more goals in the first half, whilst Real Madrid scores more goals in the second half. This statistic can play a role in the match regarding the tactical approach of Klopp and Zidane as well as the physical condition of the players.
Who is going to win? Liverpool seems hungry, and their players are ready to fight until the end for this trophy. On the other hand, Real Madrid has the ‘know-how’ of these games and a great mentality in crucial moments.
The answer will be given at Saturday night, and football fans pray for a final equivalent to the talent and background history of both clubs.