The Reds battle Los Blancos at the Stade de France in Paris for the biggest prize in European club football
Il est a final covered in “great irony”, avec Jürgen Klopp’s side able to secure a famous cup treble and seventh heaven for the Reds in terms of European Cups. While Los Blancos can add a 14th European crown. Il est, bien sûr, a repeat of the 2018 final in Kyiv, where Sadio Mane cancelled out Karim Benzema’s opener, which came from a howler from Loris Karius. A famous double from Gareth Bale, including a spectacular bicycle kick to hand the Spaniards the lead, soon followed to secure glory. Redemption for Jurgen Klopp’s side came just 12 months later with victory against Tottenham in Madrid, while tonight offers a chance of revenge, specifically for Mohamed Salah, who was injured so early on against Madrid four years ago. When pushed on the theme of revenge, Klopp downplayed its impact: “I don’t believe in revenge or think revenge is a fantastic idea. I understand what Mo said. He wants to put it right, but in Germany we say you always meet twice in life.”
After defeating Paris Saint-German, Chelsea and Manchester City in thrilling circumstances, Carlo Ancelotti is back on the biggest stage, with the Italian able to add a fourth Champions League title to his resume. The former AC Milan and Chelsea boss fondly remembers battles with the Reds, including the devastating defeat in Istanbul in 2007: “In my career in the Champions League, we have faced each other many times. The first time was in 1984, the final in Rome. I didn’t play because I was injured. Puis, dans 2005 et 2007, et bien sur, the rivalry was accentuated during the period I worked at Everton. À présent, we’ll face each other again. They have a great squad, they’re difficult to go up against. They play at a very high level, with great physicality, but it’s a pleasure to play against them in the final.” Follow build-up, live team news, goal and score updates, analysis and reaction from Paris:
Jurgen Klopp dedicates Champions League final to the people of Ukraine
The Reds face Real Madrid, in a rematch of their 2018 encounter in Kiev which they lost 3-1, at the Stade de France after the showpiece was moved from St Petersburg following Vladimir Putin’s decision to start a war against their neighbours.
Klopp, after much consideration of his answer, felt the decision to play the match in Paris sent an important message.
The showpiece game was due to be played in St Petersburg but was switched to Paris after Russia’s invasion of its neighbours
Champions League final 2022: Liverpool’s last win
Real Madrid are unbeaten in the last five meetings between these two sides, depuis un 4-0 Champions League round of 16, second leg defeat at Anfield back in 2009.
Steven Gerrard chipped in with two of the goals that night, including one from the penalty spot.
Champions League final 2022: Is Salah Liverpool’s star man?
Mo Salah became the fourth player to end a Premier League season top for both goals (23) and assists (13), after Andy Cole (93-94), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (98-99) & Harry Kane (20-21).
He won a third Premier League Golden Boot with only Thierry Henry (4) having more.
Can he take that domestic form into the Champions League final this evening?
Sadio Mane reveals how Jurgen Klopp stopped him joining Manchester United
Mane was a £30 million signing from Southampton in 2016, Klopp’s first summer at Liverpool, and has had a transformative effect on the team under the German’s management.
The 30-year-old will play in his third Ligue des champions final in five seasons on Saturday against Real Madrid, as Liverpool attempt to win the treble by adding to their Carabao and FA Cup wins this season.
But in an interview with former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, Mane revealed there was a contract offer from United that he was close to accepting before Klopp managed to change his mind.
Mane was ‘ready’ to join Manchester United before a phone call from Klopp changed his mind
Champions League final 2022: Europe’s deadliest duo?
Vinícius Júnior (10) and Karim Benzema (8) have assisted each other a combined 18 times for Real Madrid this season; the most of any duo among the big five European leagues in all competitions.
Champions League final 2022: Henderson’s long year
Jordan Henderson is set to make his 57th appearance of the season for Liverpool tonight; this would see him end 2021-22 as the player with the most games played for a club within Europe’s big five leagues across all competitions.
Is Karim Benzema the deadliest finisher in Europe? The data behind the world’s best goalscorers
It is hard to argue (though we will). Benzema has had an incredible season, notation 44 buts dans 45 Jeux, comprenant 15 in the Champions League which puts in reach Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 17 in a single campaign – Benzema scored hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea, and it is not unimaginable that he might leave Saturday’s final against Liverpool with the match ball under his arm and Ronaldo’s record too.
Mais finishing is different to goalscoring. The best finisher in the world does not necessarily score the most goals, but makes the very most of the chances they have. If every forward in Europe had exactly the same chances this season, would Benzema have scored the most goals?
We decided to try and find out.
Karim Benzema has racked up goals in the Champions League propelling Real Madrid to Saturday’s final against Liverpool, so is he the most accurate forward around? And what else does the data show?
Champions League final 2022: Surprise starters for Liverpool?
Jurgen Klopp was asked whether he might spring a few surprises on Real Madrid by starting some players who may not have featured in most of the competition this season, to try and throw them off track at kick off.
“I believe when you do the right stuff all the time then it is the right thing to do in the final as well. Mais, it has to be on the highest level possible," il a répondu.
“We obviously played some really, really good stuff this season, we are not here by surprise or we got a ticket or something like that – we deserved it as well.
"Donc, being us on the highest level would be cool. If we could do that then, as I said, we are a really uncomfortable opponent. A really uncomfortable opponent. That’s what we have to be.”
I think that’s safe to say he’ll be sticking with the core group of players that have brought the Reds this far already.
Battle between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Junior set to decide Champions League final
Cette Liverpool are a better team than Real Madrid is a fairly uncontroversial point ahead of this year’s Ligue des champions final. The consensus is that they will have the edge in many of the individual match-ups across the pitch at the Stade de France. There is no easy way to stop Jurgen Klopp’s side from playing their game. There is an obvious way to hit them back, mais.
And in Paris, they will come up against the opponents who were responsible for their most recent Champions League exit in April of last year. Liverpool were short of any of their first-choice centre-backs then, due to the freak run of injuries that made last season the most difficult that Klopp has experienced in six and a half years at Anfield. Their exit at the quarter-final stage to Madrid was not especially surprising given those wider difficulties.
No player did more to bring about that exit, mais, que Vinicius Junior. By repeatedly finding space in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold down Liverpool’s right, he scored twice in Madrid’s 3-1 first leg win and had chances to settle the tie once and for all in the goalless draw at Anfield. It is easy to read too much into those games. That was a different Liverpool. Yet it was also a different Vinicius.
The Real Madrid forward has been one of the most improved players in Europe this season and is the perfect weapon to exploit Liverpool’s style of play in Paris
Champions League final 2022: Returning victors
Tonight will be the fourth Champions League final between two managers who have already previously won the competition, après 2007 (Ancelotti vs Benítez), 2010 (Mourinho vs Van Gaal) et 2011 (Guardiola vs Ferguson).
Who will triumph between Ancelotti vs Klopp in 2022?