Incredible Mister 💪
- Jul 14, 2022
Although Vinicius Junior's goal and Thibaut Courtois's remarkable saves were the main talking points of last year's Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, the match at the Stade de France will always be remembered for the distressing images of Liverpool fans being confined outside the stadium gates and exposed to tear gas before the game.
Recently, authorities made unfounded allegations that fans with counterfeit tickets caused the disruption. However, an independent report has absolved Liverpool supporters of any wrongdoing and placed the "primary responsibility" on UEFA. This outcome has reinvigorated Klopp's loyal fanbase, who are eagerly anticipating Tuesday's match.
LIVERPOOLThis season, few teams can boast of getting the better of Napoli, but Liverpool was only separated from the Italian side by goal difference in Group A. The Reds collected 15 points out of 18, winning five consecutive matches after a humbling 4-1 defeat on matchday one.
Liverpool's recent back-to-back victories over Everton and Newcastle United, with goals from Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, suggest that a top-four finish is not impossible. After a disastrous start to the 2023 season, Liverpool appears to have turned a corner.
Liverpool has only suffered one last-16 exit in the Champions League in the past five years, losing to Atletico Madrid in 2019-20. Furthermore, the team has an impressive seven-game unbeaten streak at Anfield. However, their poor record against Real Madrid is well-documented.
REAL MADRID Real Madrid clinched their record-extending 14th European Cup title, leaving behind Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester City in the process. Despite a less-than-perfect group-stage performance, Los Blancos cannot be overlooked in continental competitions.
Draws with Shakhtar Donetsk and a loss to RB Leipzig endangered Real Madrid's typical qualification as group winners. However, a resounding 5-1 victory over Celtic on the final day secured their spot, pipping Leipzig to first place by only one point. Furthermore, they added another Club World Cup trophy to their already overflowing collection.
Carlo Ancelotti's team secured their fourth consecutive victory across all competitions by defeating Osasuna 2-0 in La Liga on Saturday. Second-half goals from Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio ensured victory for the team. Despite a slow start in the first half, the team managed to turn things around.
However, their chances of winning successive La Liga and Champions League doubles are already slim. The gap to Barcelona at the top of La Liga is five points before the Blaugrana play their game in hand against Cadiz on Sunday night. Additionally, Real Madrid's inconsistent form in European competitions away from home is a cause for concern, having won just two of their last six Champions League away matches.
In last season's final, Liverpool suffered a defeat to Real Madrid, extending their winless streak against the champions to six matches. This streak is the longest they have had without success against a single opponent in the Champions League. Nonetheless, with Klopp seemingly halting their poor form, the Anfield faithful are optimistic.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINE-UPS Liverpool's possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Bajcetic, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Gakpo, Jota
Real Madrid's possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Ceballos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
EXPERT PREDICTION The outcome of the eagerly awaited first leg on Tuesday could depend heavily on the number of players that Klopp and Ancelotti can get back from injuries. Nevertheless, an exciting showdown between the two teams is expected.
Liverpool have regained momentum at a crucial time and may be able to exploit Real's fitness problems in midfield. However, Los Blancos should not be underestimated in the Champions League and will have a potent attack with Benzema, who is expected to be fit and in top form.
Therefore, it is difficult to separate these two continental giants, and we anticipate that everything will still be up for grabs at the Bernabeu next month.
Liverpool 2-2 Real Madrid