For the third time in three years, Zinedine Zidane will have a shot at lifting the UCL title in Kyiv this Saturday. The French boss has won the last two finals in the last two years with Madrid and is eyeing the third consecutive European title, to try and turn into the first team to do so since the turn of the century. But they have Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool between them and the trophy as the Reds, who are statistically the best team in the tournament, will also believe that this is their chance to win the title after more than a decade.
Both teams have star-studded squads and the manager will need their players to be at their best and allow no complacency to set it. But there are a few matchups in the middle that are sure to entertain the fans and decide the outcome of this game. Here are three such key battles to watch out for in this UCL final on Saturday:
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Dejan Lovren:
The Portuguese forward has been in devastating form in the UCL, standing as the top goal scorer in the competition for yet another season. He drew a blank in the second leg of the semi-final but has been in goal scoring form even in the league and will be the danger man for Liverpool. He will play on the shoulder of Dejan Lovren, Liverpool’s weakest link in the backline. The Croatian, prone to errors, has what it takes to keep the likes of Ronaldo in check and if he can keep up with the Real Madrid man, Liverpool have a decent chance to go all the way in the final.
Sadio Mane vs Dani Carvajal:
Liverpool’s front three has been the most productive in this season’s competition and will look to test Real Madrid with every possible opportunity. While Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have been in decent form, it is Sadio Mane who has been at his best in their European campaign. Playing on the left flank in attack, he will face Carvajal, Real’s right-back and if he can get the better of the Spaniard, Liverpool will certainly have an edge in this game.
Mohamed Salah vs Marcelo:
But probably the most important and the most exciting encounter in this game will be on Real Madrid’s left flank. They have Marcelo, one of the best left-backs in the world, zoning that wing but he will be up against the most in-form winger in Europe in Salah. The Egyptian has previously disturbed the Real Madrid backline and he is a better version of himself now and will pose an even bigger danger. If Marcelo is ready to venture forward, Salah might enjoy a field day and if the Brazilian decides to sit back, Liverpool will have reduced a bit of Real’s creativity in the final third. Surely, this outcome of this clash can decide who wins the trophy, come the end of the game.