A special edition article by a die hard Liverpool fan Dr. Khushnood Alam, previewing the mighty final!
Liverpool v Real Madrid! A great end to the 2017/18 season, with the 2018 World Cup just around the corner. The UEFA Champions League has hit the jackpot with a romantic final every football fan would have hoped for (if their team wasn’t in it). The all time and current holders facing Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Real Madrid, led by the protagonist Cristiano Ronaldo under the tutelage of the living legend that is Zinedine Zidane. But therein lies the difference.
You may think Liverpool have their own talisman in one Mohamed Salah, who’s exponential rise to the top of the World game has stunned, if not himself, then most Liverpool fans and interested onlookers. But, Liverpool’s protagonist is arguably Klopp, the manager who, with a negligible net spend, has galvanised and imbued the Reds with his bombastic gegen-pressing mantra. The German has created an electric storm of a team that will have an unshakable self belief to knock this imperious, but somewhat fading, Madrid side off it’s perch.
Klopp has given Liverpool a belligerent, guilded personality. A wisp of arrogance. In Europe, they are an inexorable tour de force, crushing the will of opponents in countless waves of exhilarating attacks.
The tsunami that is Salah, backed by the elegant Roberto Firmino and the unpredictable Sadio Mane spearhead a front three that has plundered a record number of goals in Europe this season. They will be rejuvenated come the evening at the Kiev final against a vulnerable and perhaps a bit overconfident Madrid defence and midfield. Over the 90 minutes, you may fancy Liverpool’s engine room to outrun and out-muscle the regal pairing of Modric/Kroos.
That there are glaring vulnerabilities in the Liverpool defence is a cause for concern. If Ronaldo and Marcelo repeatedly target the Dejan Lovren/Trent Arnold weak link, there is a chance the Reds won’t be able to get a foothold on the right where Milner and Salah with the onrushing right-back will need to work their magic.
Ronaldo is capable of winning the game single handed in a moment of brilliance. And the last 100 minutes of Liverpool’s game management has been very shoddy, lacking in nous. But let’s not forget they were 100 poor minutes and together with the threadbare nature of the back up staff, Klopp, has somehow managed to steer Liverpool into the final. His style firmly stamped on his side.
The one-off final will be a chance to revere a great Real Madrid squad but there won’t be any chance the Reds will sit and watch the great prize slip away without a fight. They can win and win in Klopp’s way.
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