Paris Saint-Germain – Ligue 1 champions, Juventus – Serie A champions, Bayern Munich – Bundesliga champions; Real Madrid have beaten the crème de la crème from Europe to reach the final. Before Madrid, no team had even managed to retain the Champions League after the restructured format, let alone win it three times in as many seasons. Zinedine Zidane’s side are already on the cusp of history but Liverpool stand in their way.
Jürgen Klopp’s side have themselves beaten some of the best sides in Europe. But the game against Real Madrid will be of an entirely different magnitude.
Recently, Rafa Benitez, the last managed under who Liverpool lifted the Champions League, mentioned that the Reds will have to handle pressure better.
Ahead of the game, we take a look at three areas where the game could be decided.
#3 Liverpool’s ability to bounce back if they go behind
If there’s one thing Liverpool haven’t been tested against, then it’s the mounting odds. Though they were behind against Manchester City in the second leg and had to deal with an AS Roma onslaught late in the second leg of the semi-final, the Reds always had the upper hand on aggregate.
Real Madrid are big game players and when they take the lead, expect their tails to be up against a Liverpool side who have problems at the back.
#2 Liverpool’s attacking impetus
The most obvious one to put out there is Liverpool’s overwhelming attack. When they are good, they are pretty hard to stop. Manchester City felt the heat in the first half at Anfield, Roma felt the same in the second half. The problem is, though, most of those have come at Anfield.
Liverpool smashed Porto at the Dragao, but things will be different in Kiev. At a neutral venue, against a side who have a well-balanced team, Liverpool will have to make their chances count.
#1 Dealing with the theatrics
Real Madrid have some brilliant players and a top manager at the helm. They have the stars to bring out the champagne football like we saw against Juventus. However, another thing they are pretty damn good at is the theatrics. You’re telling me that everything they do is legit?
There have been cases where some of the Madrid players have gotten away with rash tackles. Liverpool, on the other hand, cannot afford to do the same to their opposition. The last thing they want is to go down to 10 men.