After more than a decade, Liverpool are finally back amongst the best as Jurgen Klopp will now take the Reds into their second European final in his three years at the club. Spanish side Sevilla spoilt their part in the Europa League a couple of years ago and they will look to take revenge against another Spanish side in Real Madrid, in Kyiv this Saturday.
Liverpool beat FC Porto, Manchester City and AS Roma in the knockout phases while Real beat the domestic champions of Italy, France and Germany to set up this final. Zinedine Zidane has won each of the last two UCL titles and will want to complete the treble but it will not be easy against a Liverpool side, who have statistically been the best club in the competition so far. Their only loss was in the second leg of the semi-final at Rome but that did not affect their progress. Klopp will want his side to believe that they can go all the way and will want them to arrest his run of losing the last three appearances in a final. Here is the predicted lineup he might field for this tie:
The Reds are still without the likes of Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip, all of who are long-term absentees. Emre Can and Adam Lallana are back in training and might make the bench while Sadio Mane and James Milner, suffering from knocks, are expected to be fit for the biggest occasion of them all.
Expected Lineup (4-3-3):
Loris Karius has been one of the best in the UCL this season and will hope to put in a solid performance in this tie. He will be tested and so will the CB partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, both of who have settled in well recently. They will be up against Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo and will have their work cut out all night.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have both been crucial to Liverpool’s run to the final and should start at right-back and left-back respectively.
Skipper Jordan Henderson has won just 1 final with Liverpool and will want to lift the biggest trophy of them all in Kyiv. He will face the biggest test of his career against a creative and robust midfield of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco.
He will be helped by James Milner, who has broken the record for the most assists in a single UCL season and Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored the crucial goal for the Reds in Rome.
Liverpool’s attack picks itself. Roberto Firmino in a false-9 role and Sadio Mane on the wings will be decoys to what Mohamed Salah will try to achieve on the right flank.
Here is how they might line up: