31 May 2022 | 08:27 | Football
How will things go in Paris tonight? The culmination of arguably the most exciting Champions League season in recent memory will be held at the Stade de France with two of the most highly regarded clubs in history – Real Madrid and Liverpool – battling it out. for ultimate glory.
For a football fan, it couldn’t be better when this stage of the tournament, the final, is where fans, even neutrals, are ready to be stunned. overwhelmed. And it rarely doesn’t deliver.
In fact, the two finalists each have surreal stories from their illustrious pasts. From that night in Istanbul in 2005 to Sergio Ramos ”92:48” in Lisbon in 2014, both Liverpool and Real Madrid have had moments unthinkable at this very stage of the tournament.
And when they meet again, how the 2018 final in Kyiv will repeat, it is only natural that expectations from around the world will soar.
Football experts will probably have a clear choice for the winner – Liverpool. And if logic is allowed to rule, it’s hard to believe that Jurgen Klopp’s side are the better team, with better harmony and cohesion among players.
Even Liverpool manager Klopp, a master strategist, has brought back the glory days for the Red Devils – ending a 30-year Premier League title drought and winning his sixth European Championship. club in 2019.
Now he stands against Carlo Ancelotti, who, ahead of this fantastic season of current La Liga champions Real Madrid with one of their least decorated teams in history, is considered the last. will eventually be wiped out amid the fierce tactical war that is dominating and dominating the modern football era.
From every angle, Liverpool appear to be on track to lift their seventh European Cup title and join AC Milan. But on their way, Real Madrid, who, in every step of their way, defied logic and reason to get to Paris.
If anything, Real Madrid made the act of defining them by logic look illogical. Not just once, they resurrected three times from the brink of elimination – each time turning the tables against the championship contenders. They eliminated a star-studded PSG even when they were two goals behind until the 60th minute of the first leg final, then stunned the Chelsea hosts before breaking the hearts of Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in last minutes – defying logic and explanations all the time.
In the dramatic and seemingly scripted way that Los Blancos have made so far, a title that seems to be written only in stars is meant for them.
The game, however, will still be played on a field where only the action on the night is counted instead of what has happened in the past. It will depend on the tactical approaches taken, the endurance, adaptability, sharpness, strength and fatigue levels of the players on the pitch.
Liverpool will be more concerned with this matter with their midfielder Thiago Alcantara’s brains, minus the UCL final. Klopp said he would wait for a final sweep but remained pessimistic about the Spaniard’s involvement.
While Liverpool hope to get this resolved before the final, Real Madrid must weigh in on ways to stop a relentless, high-press and ruthless Liverpool. Real are said to have the most compact midfield in the world – with conductors Toni Kroos and Luka Modric and threatening Casemiro with Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga being options to lend some flexibility.
Up front, they have Karim Benzema, the league’s top scorer with 15 goals, leading the squad alongside young Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who has impressed this season.
Given the way Liverpool often hunt their opponents through Luis Diaz, Mohammed Salah from the flanks and Sadio Mane from the centre, the worry for Los Blancos is the lack of depth in the defence.
Sure, Liverpool will miss Alcantara’s control and penetrating passes from midfield but that probably won’t be in any way to bog Salah down, especially now that he has publicly vowed to revenge for the 2018 final due to an injury that forced him to leave midway.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will have to stay on their toes, recognizing the moments Real Madrid are having in the game and stopping the brief moments of football’s brilliance and preventing the unidentifiable from happening – which which none of the PSG, Chelsea and Man City could do even though they were fully aware of it.
Can logic finally overcome magic? Looks like, Saturday night will serve the answers on a plate.