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Liverpool fans tear-gassed as they waited in queues
Liverpool dominate first half but Real Madrid have goal controversially chalked off by VAR
Vinicius Junior steals in at back post to score
Courtois thwarts Liverpool with a string of sensational saves
Real Madrid win 14th European Cup; Ancelotti a record fourth as manager
There were 13 previous triumphs in what we used to call the European Cup, when at times Real Madrid swept to glory to seize the crown of Europe, but this, their 14th, showcased the finessing of the great Champions League trophy winning machine – deadly when it matters most.
They struck just before the hour, with a goal from the quicksilver Vinicius Junior, appearing from nowhere on the Paris night as if whipped out of a sleeve to decide the most mediocre of finals. The possession of the ball, and the puppyish enthusiasm to play – that belonged entirely to Jürgen Klopp’s players. It is that which has propelled them to two trophies already this season, as well as to within a single point of the league title and this final too. Against the Madrid machine it was held at bay and then slowly, inexorably extinguished.
The killer instinct – this generation of Madrid players simply have it. As they fell back into shape time and time again, to shut down the usual passing routes and attack channels of Liverpool – the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro were feeling their way through a familiar set of tunes. This is how they play now in the dusk of their careers and one cannot argue that it is anything but effective. They are the last survivors of a group of players who have remarkably now won five out of the last nine Champions League titles.
History will look back in some wonder at how they adapted and refined their more effusive game of the midpoint of the previous decade into this precise pinpointing of the game’s key moments. That allied to the capacity to endure through its most difficult moments is what makes them so formidable. Carlo Ancelotti won his record fourth Champions League as a coach with his goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois his outstanding player.
At the end, the man who was still Everton manager this time last year sat down casually on the lip of the presentation stage having received his medal and waited for his players to get theirs.
Madrid started their campaign on Sept 28 with a home defeat to the Romanian side Sheriff Tiraspol, one of the great Cup shocks of the modern era. In each of the knockout rounds they lost one of the legs they played, to Paris Saint-Germain, to Chelsea and then in the semi-final to Manchester City. They have, however, hung in there to keep on winning by the most slender of margins and this victory was testament to that resilience.
For Klopp and his players, in a game delayed by the chaotic scenes outside that saw hundreds of ticketed Liverpool fans locked out, this was the final that barely happened. The 64th game of their season needed one of the performances of the year to defeat these battle-hardened Champions League winners, and what Liverpool had was just not enough. They created some chances but the great forward line never fired. Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho both returned from injury and perhaps it was too soon.
Klopp’s players had 24 shots on the night, the most for any losing Champions League finalist. They have played three finals this season and not scored a goal in any of them. Mohamed Salah’s six shots on target were the most of any player in a Champions League final but there was no goal to show for it.
There had seemed to be some doubt as to whether Thiago would play in the first place. Before the original kick-off at 9pm local time he had been passing the ball back and forth with a member of staff away from the starting XI group. When that finished he put an arm around Naby Keita who had been named on the bench but hitherto had been preparing with the rest of the starters. The pair had a chat and there were 11 outfield players in the final Liverpool warm-up. It was Thiago who remained in the starting line-up.
Against the conventional deep-lying defence, Liverpool tend to find a way but this one was organised very differently. Klopp’s players dominated the early part of the game, and they had the ball in advanced positions, although the threat from Karim Benzema and Vinicius was always there. That was to come for Liverpool – an inevitability at some point. The question was whether they could break through before then.
The best efforts they managed were stopped by Courtois. He slapped away a scuffed shot from Salah from arguably the best move of the half from Liverpool when Thiago had opened up the pitch with a big, precise hit out to the far right to Jordan Henderson and then Trent Alexander-Arnold had crossed. On 21 minutes the Belgian thrust out a giant right hand and pushed Sadio Mané’s shot onto the post.
The opportunities for Madrid were always going to come. In the first 15 minutes, Ibrahim Konaté steered the ball confidently away from Vinicius when the moment was in the balance and there was no-one behind the Liverpool defender to cover. Later Henderson would intervene when the young Brazilian darted in from the left side.
With two minutes left of the regulation time in the first half, Konaté and Alisson hesitated over the ball when Benzema lost it coming in from the left. Federico Valverde dashed in and from the collision with defenders and it came out to Benzema to score. The Var check to confirm the offside took more than a minute.
The big question was not whether Fabinho, back in the team for the first time since that Villa Park injury, had got the touch but whether it had first been played by Valverde. The decision under the laws of the game is thus: the moment a Madrid player touches the ball, Benzema’s offside position will have become activated. The touch off Fabinho, if there was one, is considered a non-deliberate act.
This was the hardest route through for Liverpool and Klopp would later make changes to try to break down the granite heart of the Real Madrid side. Diogo Jota would replace Luis Diaz who just found himself outnumbered. Then Naby Keita for Henderson and eventually Roberto Firmino for Thiago but before then they were a goal behind and fatally chasing the game.
It had come from down the left originally where Valverde was permitted to run with it for longer than expected and hit a low drive that was a cross in essence through and behind the Liverpool defence before they could react. Alexander-Arnold could not reach it but beyond his left shoulder was Vinicius who was in the right position to score from close in.
A severe blow to Liverpool and now the gate would close, with that midfield of Casemiro, Kroos and Modric deep in front of the defence. Behind them Eder Militao and the returning David Alaba looked solid. Courtois was on his game. He saved again from Salah’s curling left foot shot from the right five minutes after the Vinicius goal. The clock ticked down and the night slipped away from Liverpool.
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1: Champions League final as it happened
The mood in the dressing room, no one is talking about a great season. It will take a few days for that.
The two decisions against us were with the smallest margins possible. We played a good game, not the perfect game. That would not have been possible with their deep formation and counter-attacks,. It was tricky. They became dangerous in those situations like the disallowed goal
We had a lot of shots and Courtois made top saves.
We concede a goal after conceding a throw-in. I thought Valverde wanted to shoot but there was Vinicius.
The boys tried absolutely everything. When we were 1-0 down we played like we wanted to play. Before our midfielders were too deep. We wanted to be braver in the second half, to use ... to play around them.
I have the perspective [that winning two trophies is a good season] but I am the only one in the dressing room who thinks like that now. Getting to a final is still a success, but not the success we want but I have a feeling we will come again. We have a good group and will still have a good group next year.
Where is it next year? Istanbul? Book the hotel.
When you think Michael Owen's hot takes have already plumbed the depths ...
He comes out with this:
"I still think Liverpool are the most fearsome team in Europe. I still think they're the best team in Europe, I really do. On other occasions they'd be getting their name etched in the trophy.”
They are neither champions of England or Europe. As Thibaut Courtois would say. Put some respect on their name.
Credit to Rio Ferdinand for shutting him down:
I don't think they're the best team in Europe, I think you've got to win the biggest trophies to be considered the best. They're an unbelievably exciting team, the points tally they've got in the league, the consistency in which they've played, they've competed in every single game available to them, but you've got to get your hands on the big trophies to be called outright the best team in Europe.
Mike McGrath has written up the post-match reaction we have had so far
Thibaut Courtois hit back at a lack of respect he faced in England after inspiring Real Madrid’s victory in the Champions League final.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper, 30, made a series of saves at Stade de France, the best from Mohamed Salah, to deny Liverpool and seal his team’s 14th triumph in the competition.
Vinícius Júnior scored the winner for Real in the second half but Courtois was the man-of-the-match for his saves.
“I said in the press conference before the match that when Real Madrid play finals they win, and I’m on the good side of history,” Courtois said. “I saw a lot of Tweets coming my way, that I would be humbled but it was the other way around.
“I needed to win a final for my career, for all the hard work, to put respect on my name because I don’t think I have enough respect, especially in England. I saw a lot of criticism even after a great season that I wasn’t good enough. Whatever. We stuck to it and when I needed to be there I was there for the team.
“We beat the best clubs in the world, Manchester City and Liverpool were unbelievable, they fought to the end in the Premier League and Liverpool won two cups, they were really strong but I played a great game and that was the difference, we had one chance and we scored it.”
Carlo Ancelotti became the most successful manager in the Champions League with his fourth triumph.
“I am a record man,” he said. “In the Champions League I had the luck, I came back and I found a fantastic club with a squad with a lot of quality, with strong mental character and the decision to come was a top decision.
“I can’t believe it. I think that we had a fantastic season and we did really well, we suffered a lot in the first half of this final but with all the games we played, we deserved to win this competition. We are really happy, I cannot say more.”
“I think that we passed through really difficult games and the supporters helped us a lot, tonight I’m really happy that they are happy.”
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, working on BT Sport as a pundit, felt Real’s defensive display was the difference.
“It was a defensive masterclass. The distances, the shape, over the 90 minutes they were getting blocks and were positionally in the right place. To a man they defended really well,” said Gerrard.
“My breath has been taken away by them,” added former Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand. “They put in a magnificent performance in the second half, the way they defended and when they attacked was to be marvelled at. What they have done in recent years is phenomenal.”
Real Madrid's 14th European title in context
They have won as many on their own as all English clubs: Liverpool six, Manchester United three, Chelsea two, Forest two and Villa one.
Real Madrid's players take it in turn with the trophy as the Tannoy blares out We are the Champions!
Michael Owen, who predicted a comfortable victory for Liverpool, is performing a remarkable reverse ferret now, talking about Real's enduring grit and quality.
Real Madrid take their medals
A few players kiss the trophy as they walk past it to join their manager on the platform. Touchingly Liverpool repay the respect Real showed them by lining up in front to applaud the winners.
Courtois and Casemiro were magnificent tonight and Carvajal, supposedly the weakest link, had a fine game.
Marcelo, the club captain, raises the Champions League trophy!
Klopp takes the applause
That's good to see. Klopp is smiling and keeps his medal on as do all of the players as far as I can see.
It's presentation time
In Kyiv, most of Liverpool's players immediately removed their medals. I hope they don't do that here. It's a worthy achievement and Real Madrid make a guard of honour to clap them on the way to the dais.
Carlo Ancelotti speaks
We had a fantastic season. I cannot believe it.
We suffered a lot first half. We were better second half.
I am really happy. I think we have beaten so many good teams we deserve it.
I am the record man [with four European Cups as a manager]. I am very lucky.
The supporters helped us a lot and I am happy they are happy.
Courtois. Wow! Unbelievable! I tell you I cannot believe.
Thibaut Courtois speak
I said that when Madrid plays finals they win it. I saw a lot of tweets come my way, saying I hope he's humbled. I have faced a lot of criticism so I wanted to put a lot of respect on my name.
I was on the right side of history. We have beaten the best clubs in the world - together with us.
Liverpool were really strong. I made a lot of saves. We had one chance and we scored it.
Full time: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Real Madrid have won their 14th European Cup! Liverpool created multiple chances but were thwarted by Thibaut Courtois. They've knocked out PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and now Liverpool.
Liverpool, from gunning for the Quadruple have ended up emulating Arsenal circa 1993. And that's still a brilliant achievement.
90+5 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Van Dijk is playing up front now. Fabinho hangs up a cross for him but it's too floaty and Courtois catches it.
90+4 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Real Madrid are winding down the clock, helped by Liverpool's understandable loss of poise in their passing.
90+3 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Camavinga and Carvajal snuff out a Liverpool attack down the left, move it forward to Kroos who buys a foul.
90+3 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Rodrygo is the third Real sub, replacing Vinicius.
90+1 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Ceballos wastes a fine opportunity with Liverpool pushing up to cut through the inside left and shoot. Instead he tries to offload to Vinicius who is crowded out. They settle for a corner instead, from which Camavinga blazes over.
90 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Luka Modric is departing and Dani Ceballos comes on for Real Madrid.
Here's Courtois' save from Mane:
Five minutes of stoppage time are signalled.
88 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Mane sprints down the left. Camavinga tracks him all the way and turns kit behind for a corner. Alexander-Arnold goes over to the left to take and tries to pick out Konate. Courtois plucks it out of the sky and off Konate's head and then plays the old soldier when he hits the deck.
86 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Real almost play smash and grab but Benzema overcooks the pass to Vinicius.
Real substitutions: Camavinga comes on for the excellent Valverde, creator of the goal. What a shift he put in.
84 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
A pair of fine chances, one ruined by Keita's terrible judgement, trying to hit a right-foot shot from the left of the D with the outside of his right boot and gets it horribly wrong, slicing it high, wide and hideous.
A minute later a long diagonal picks out Salah who cushions it beautifully with his left and then drives past Mendy and absolutely thunders a right-foot shot that Courtois, barely five yards from him, manages to contort his body to block by throwing out a stiff right arm. Brilliant save, the pick of four or five special ones tonight.
81 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Liverpool come a gnat's from equalising when Salah tacks in from the right and shoots with his left. Jota, making an excellent run, from left to right almost deflects it past Courtois who could only just reach it with his outstretched right leg but couldn't get the power and Courtois sprints across to claw it away.
79 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Alexander-Arnold has a shooting chance to the right of the 18-yard line but, like Casemiro, inexplicably opts to cross. Real scramble it away. If he does have a weakness it's shooting from the right side towards the near post.
77 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Double Liverpool substitution: Firmino and Keita replace Thiago and Henderson. Some armband rituals ensue as it is ferried to Van Dijk.
75 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Foul on Kroos. Free-kick 40 yards out. Modric chips it over Liverpool's line on the 18-yard line. Casemiro steals in round the back and inexplicably tries to square it with a left-foot half-volley rather than shooting.
73 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Alexander-Arnold finds some space five yards to the right of the D and drags a powerful shot wide of the left post. Jota lunged in to try to divert it but if he got a touch it was only by his toenail.
71 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Mendy makes a fine sliding tackle with his right leg on Alexander-Arnold then scissors him with his left. No sanction from the referee who just gives the throw-in, much to A-A's disgust.
69 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Courtois again comes to Real Madrid's rescue when Henderson's deep cross is headed back across goal by Jota and it flirts with looping in. Courtois scrambles back to get there before it can drift in or Salah could make sure it did.
67 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Liverpool corner on the left after a good run from Jota. Robertson takes it, swinging it out with his left. Casemiro heads it out at the cost of another. That one beats the first man but Militao then heads it away.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 28, 2022
65 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Luis Diaz, who had a good first 15 minutes but has faded since, is the first player to be removed from the fray. Diogo Jota replaces him on the left. Both Hoddle and McManaman think he should go through the middle but Mane is staying there for now.
63 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Salah cuts in off the right on to his left and thumps a curling shot that Courtois dives to his right to punch away with his top hand.
61 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Fabinho is booked for sliding into Valverde from the side and sending him flying.
60 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1
Valverde makes a string run down the right, cuts infield and threads a cross through Van Dijk's legs that bends behind Konate but not close enough to Alisson. Alexander-Arnold goes to sleep at the back post, plays Vinicius onside and the Brazil winger sweeps a right foot shot, more of a stab than a strike, past the stranded Alisson.
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 1 (Vinicius Junior)
57 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Salah wants a penalty when Alaba blocks his brutal half-volley with his forearm which was in front of his waistband. He was barely two yards away.
57 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Miliato falls heavily on the ball when challenged by Diaz and milks it for all its worth (and more).
55 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Alexander-Arnold whips over a menacing cross. Thiago makes the near-post run, sneaks ahead of Courtois, hangs out his knee to try to stretch to reach it but cannot get the vital touch. Courtois gathers.
53 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Van Dijk threads a pass from midfield down the left for Diaz to chase behind Carvajal who retreats to the edge of the area to face him up. Diaz decides instead to cut it back to Mane who takes on a first-time left-foot shot that Militao blocks. Alexander-Arnold latches on to the rebound and this time it's Alaba who blocks it. They're putting their bodies on the line like Herrera's Inter.
52 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Commendable tenacity from Diaz and Thiago to track back and fight for the ball when Carvajal and Valverde team up down the right.
51 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Neither side can keep the ball for long enough to build any momentum so far this half.
50 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Casemiro is bullied off the ball by Mane but Miliato then makes a crunching tackle that sets Casemiro off up the middle of the field. He seems to lose his balance by the time Alexander-Arnold confronts him on halfway but the ref deems he was fouled and gives a free-kick much to Liverpool's puzzlement.
48 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Fantastic diving defensive header at the back post by Carvajal nicks the ball off Mane's brow as the centre-forward was also diving to try to bury Alexander-Arnold's terrific right-wing cross.
46 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool were good in parts but did get bogged down. Real Madrid are remarkable at holding their nerve. You wouldn't call Ancelotti a stereotypical Italian manager but this team has all those hallmarks of soaking up pressure.
Peter Walton, BT Sports' house referee explains
He says the goal could only have stood if the VAR had decided Fabinho deliberately passed it to Benzema but that could not have been the case because it was a deflection.
What do you think?
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 28, 2022
Half-time: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool have been far the better and more adventurous side but Real Madrid almost mugged them at the end of the half with a long left to right diagonal. Benzema controlled it, seemed to want to shimmy past Alisson who closed him down. Benzema took too long and tried to roll it back to Vinicius. Alisson followed it out, couldn't get there and Konate and Fabinho slid in to try to stop Valverde, Konate seemingly knocking it on to Fabinho and back to Benzema who only had Robertson ahead of him. He threaded his shot in but VAR eventually upheld the lino's decision. He was clearly offside if the ball had been passed to him by a team-mate but that was what took so long to establish.
A deflection (inadvertent) means the goal should not have stood. But was the Konate-Fabinho part a different phase of play?
It took three minutes to work it out because the VAR rules that the ball came to Benzema in an offside position when it was either accidentally played to him by a Liverpool player or from a Real Madrid toe.
Alisoon made a right Horlicks of that anyway.
I must say I thought Fabinho had the penultimate touch and the goal should have stood.
42 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Real Madrid have the ball in the back of Liverpool's net but because Benzema seemed to be behind Alisson, it has been ruled outside. But did a Liverpool player get the last touch? It's going to VAR!
40 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Nothing comes of the free-kick which seems to be muddled. But they regroup, attack down the left and earn a corner from which they work the ball back to the left of the D and Henderson meets it with a savage half-volley daisycutter that whistles past the left post.
39 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Real Madrid win the first header at the corner but not the second ball. Alisson grabs it and tries to initiate an attack that Carvajal stops at the cost of a free-kick 40 yards out.
37 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Vincius gets the better of Konate for once, poking the ball through his legs, shouts 'Nuts!' or maybe doesn't and cocks his leg to shoot when Henderson nips it to poke it behind for a corner.
35 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Courtois saves Liverpool's fifth effort on target after more good work from Alexander-Arnold down the right. He stands the ball up on the penalty spot but Salah flashes his header straight at Courtopis.
32 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Benzema turns John Sheridan, English football's great pointer. He runs forward down the left, extends his hand like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and points to where he wants Vinicius to run round the back of Alexander-Arnold. Vinicius does as he's told but Benzema gets the angle of his pass wrong.
30 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
A chink of light for Vinicius down the left but although the break is on, Konate is there to hoover up when the pass isn't good enough to free the left-sided attacker.
29 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool are at their best when they go slow-slow-quick-quick-quick but they're not managing to accelerate in the past few minutes and are straining. Hence Henderson takes on a cross from the right with no back-post runner and loops it far too close to Courtois.
27 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Real Madrid have at least forced Liverpool to slow the tempo of their attacks and, after the ball moves from side-to side but no closer than 35 yards to the Real Madrid goal, Fabinho decides to take a shot on and hammers it over the bar.
26 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Much better from Carvajal to stay with Diaz and time his tackle perfectly.
25 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Mendy and Vinicius combine to get down the left. Benzema peels off to the back post but the cross sails straight down Alisson's throat.
24 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Real Madrid take the sting out of Liverpool's attack with a couple of minutes of possession and patient probing.
21 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Another fantastic save from Courtois, a strong right wrist and hand to turn Mane's absolute fizzer of a shot that stayed hard, flat and low all the way as he put his laces through it, on to the post.
Liverpool are dominant.
19 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Alexander-Arnold is the latest to find space between Real's midfield and defence. Liverpool are using one-twos to break the lines and Modric and Kroos are letting them go. The right-back's eyes lihten up but he blazes his shot over the bar from 22 yards.
17 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Another Courtois save, this one straightforward however sweetly Salah struck it from 20 yards. Courtois raises his hands to slap it away.
15 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Great save by Courtois low to his left when Salah tried to flick in Alexander-Arnold's cross with his right heel. It wasn't hit with power but he was close enough to goal to make it difficult and was creeping in. Real Madrid scramble his parry away, Thiago bends a shot from 18 yards that stings Courtois' palms but was never beating him.
14 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool are soaking up possession, comfortably probing, shifting the ball from left to right. After Robertson's cross is deflect over Mane's run towards the centre of the goal, Real Madrid spring Vinicius down the left. He hares behind Alexander-Arnold but Konate motors over like an Aston Martin to win the ball, hold him off and sprint away. Very elegant. Very fast, Very strong.
12 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool think they should have a corner and I think they're right. Looked like Carvajal got the last touch but the referee gives it the other way.
12 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Meanwhile, some photos have landed from scenes outside the ground earlier:
11 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Clever ball from Salah to meet Mane's equally clever run down the inside-right and into the box to the byline. He seems to catch it just by the whitewash to cut it back for Thiago but the linesman's flag goes up because it must have crossed it despite Mane shaking his head.
9 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Mane has taken a heavy knock to his right thigh and is taking a few moments to run it off. There's plenty of space for Diaz down the left. He has the beating of Carvajal whenever he wants, it seems but he hasn't, as yet, been given the right pass.
7 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Militao loses possession with Carvajal stranded high on the right. Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool's bets passer, can put Diaz in with a precise long pass but messes it up.
5 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
At last Real Madrid break free and make headway down the flanks. Militao strolls out of defence to join the attack and both Benzema and Valverde probe down either flank.
4 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool have returned to their heavy metal roots with proper hard core gegenpressing.
2 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Real can't get out as they try to play up the right. Thiago intercepts a pass to Cravajal and is fouled. Alexander-Arnold takes the free-kick and Alaba heads it away.
1 min: Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0
Liverpool kick-off, attacking from right to left and concede a free-kick when attacking down the inside left. Real give the ball away cheaply on the left and Alaba has to hook the ball away. Real are already penned into their final third.
Right, let's make like BT have been doing
And switch focus to the game.
Out come the teams
Thiago is among the Liverpool starters.
Finally in. The stewards and police closed Gate Z at 6:35, with no reason given before all leaving their stations and refusing to communicate with fans, and then reopened it at 9:15. No sign of any LFC staff or stewards at any point either.
Insane and immensely dangerous. pic.twitter.com/bpSNzGzFXk
— Daniel Austin (@_Dan_Austin) May 28, 2022
Ian Rush and Figo bring out 'Old Big Ears'
Seems very keen just to get on with the game, glossing over the chaos. They have scores of people out there. Where's the reporting?
Anyway ... we will commence in the next few minutes.
And while thousands still try to get in
The opening ceremony begins with Camilla Cabello.
They are preparing the pitch for the opening ceremony
But this seems bizarre given how serious the situation is outside the stadium.
Still lots of gaps in the Liverpool end
A further delay to kick-off
The start has been pushed back a further 15 minutes to 8.30pm BST.
The players are coming back out for another warm-up
Thiago is among the Liverpool party. He is not easing off. Perhaps that means he will start?
After this warm-up there will be an opening ceremony, which Steven Gerrard, before learning of the chaos outside, welcomed, thinking this should be Europe's equivalent of a Superbowl. No one else wants an opening ceremony ... ever ... apart from the participants.
At the gate in Paris - been here for 25 minutes and nobody has been allowed in - disgraceful treatment of fans who are displaying an unbelievable level of patience
— John Bishop (@JohnBishop100) May 28, 2022
Here's the full story of the chaos and congestion
The Champions League final kick-off at the Stade de France was delayed by 15 minutes after painfully slow security checks caused a major bottleneck and widespread concern among fans trying to access the stadium from a ramp that led up to gate U on the west side of the ground.
The queues are still very long, two minutes after scheduled kick-off time
Finding it impossible to get in the ground. This appears to be very dangerous. Absolute carnage.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) May 28, 2022
It is being reported that the chaos outside continues
And that some Liverpool fans have been tear-gassed by the flics.
BT sport: the police have used tear gas on fans in Paris. Children and families involved, the commentary team say.
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) May 28, 2022
It is certainly not the case that fans arrived late at the stadium. That's one thing we do know.
Thiago and Keita
Is Thiago telling Keita that he is starting in his place after pulling up during the warm-up or telling him to stand like agreyhound in the slips, straining upon the start in case he breaks down early?
Kick-off delayed by 15 minutes
Because of congestion outside the game. The game will kick-off at 8.15pm BST now.
Jurgen Klopp speaks
It’s the comeback kings against the mentality monsters.
The pitch is … OK. It’s not a great pitch but it’s absolutely OK.
We expect a very strong side: very calm, very experienced, very cool, but we’ll try to give them a bit of pain, which is what we always try to be to Chelsea, Man City, Real Madrid ...
Liverpool tell BT Sport
That Thiago is still expected to start.
Thiago speaking to Keita and giving him advice as Keita will start instead of him as he is not fit. pic.twitter.com/anTYFnHCVN
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) May 28, 2022
No official confirmation that Thiago is out yet
But the rumour that he cannot start is going viral on social media.
It is still very sparse in the stands
Stade de France. Huge numbers of Liverpool fans still to enter with 35 minutes to go. Some frightening crushes outside, with pinch points galore pic.twitter.com/Dv1U2ZsE7d
— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) May 28, 2022
Incredible scenes outside Stade de France with Liverpool fans struggling to enter.
It is pointed that approx 30k Liverpool fans more came to Paris ticketless.
French police definitely had some logistics issue, 30 minutes to go and half Liverpool stand still empty #LFCRMA pic.twitter.com/j4YmVLkatG
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) May 28, 2022
Some doubts about Thiago's fitness
He seemed to pull up in the warm-up and went into the dressing room. Naby Keita moved over to the starting group for the warm up but now Thiago has come back out and is limbering up on his own.
If Liverpool win tonight
Jordan Henderson will join Emlyn Hughes as a captain of two Liverpool European Cup-winning sides, leaving the ranks of Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard with one.
Everyone who has ever played for Liverpool
Seems to be working for the media tonight. I've just seen Brian Kettle.
You wouldn't let it lie ...
Outside the ground
If the chaos is as unpleasant as is being reported, I am surprised BT Sport hasn't mentioned it.
Liverpool are about to come out to warm up:
Supporters are facing major difficulties entering the ground
An hour before kick-off, it is less than a quarter full. No wonder, if Sam Wallace's experience is anything to go by:
Chaos at the Stade de France on a big bottleneck on the ramp by gate U. Security guards overwhelmed and lots of fans shoved together. Very unpleasant experience
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 28, 2022
Absolutely shambolic at the Stade de France. No way in, no way of knowing which way to go. Stay safe if you’re heading in ❤️
It has the potential to be very dangerous.
— Kelly Cates (@KellyCates) May 28, 2022
Kenny Dalglish lays a wreath in memory of Heysel disaster victims
Klopp's big calls
He prefers Konate to Matip, perhaps for the goal threat rather than how he looked without Van Dijk against Wolves on Sunday. Thiago and Fabinho together after muscle injuries in the past fortnight is something of a gamble but with five substitutes allowed, six if it goes to extra-time, which this correspondent thinks is two too many, you can take such risks. In any other season, Diogo Jota would have a right to be miffed but the selected front three has been magnificent and is their best configuration.
Your teams in black and white
Liverpool Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz.
Substitutes Kelleher, Tsimikas, Matip, Gomez, Milner, Keita, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Jota, Minamino, Firmino.
Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Eder Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Substitutes Lunin, Hazard, Nacho, Asensio, Marcelo, Lucas Vazquez, Bale, Dani Ceballos, Rodrygo, Camavinga, Isco, Mariano.
Referee Clément Turpin (France).
Thiago and Fabinho start for Liverpool
The teams have arrived
Liverpool after some delay in a traffic jam. No photos of them yet, but Madrid have first dibs on the hot water by beating them into the dressing rooms by 15 minutes.
If you're wondering what the singer in the picture at the top of the blog was singing
It was quite a tight repertoire of material:
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 28, 2022
BT Sport has gone mob-handed
They have a second punditry team on hand, too. Owen, Ferdinand and Gerrard are the A team. Hargreaves and Crouch the B. Plus McManaman and, presumably, Hoddle on joint co-commentary duties.
Faces in the crowd
Liverpool's line-up dilemmas
Who starts up front? We presume it will be Diaz, Mane and Salah but could Diogo Jota start through the middle to let Mane run down the left at Dani Carvajal? If Fabinho starts, will Thiago? Or will Naby Keita start. I was talking to a prominent Liverpool fan who has been famous for following them for 50 years the other day and he said he doesn't think the midfield matters tonight. He would be perfectly happy going in with the 2018 trio of Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum. 'They just need solidity' in Paris.
BT Sport starts its coverage
They've also gone full Shakespeare for the moody look-back at 2018, with a Scouse Julius Caesar on the voiceover. It's hardly impartial. But what is on BT Sport these days? It's Big Six TV.
Real Madrid team
Carlo Ancelotti has picked the team that beat Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of the quarter-final. Nacho came in for Alaba and Rodrygo for Valverde in some of the subsequent games.
Where there's smoke, there's Liverpool pre-match
Madrid fans may be outnumbered three to one in Paris
But they've got the best hats:
They'd walk a million miles for one of his smiles
Liverpool fans are having a feast day in Paris
No surprises in RM starting XI
Though to go more than an hour early is definitely a powerplay:
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) May 28, 2022
Real Madrid do not always win finals: They have lost European Cup finals in 1962, 1964 and 1981, to Benfica, Inter and Liverpool respectively and two Cup Winners' Cup finals, to Chelsea in 1971 and the Dandy Dons in 1983. And they have been runners-up in 20 Copa del Rey finals.
Courtois warns Liverpool: We always win finals
By Chris Bascombe
Thibaut Courtois has sounded an ominous warning to Liverpool that Real Madrid always win in finals.
Liverpool will aim to avenge their 2018 Champions League final loss to the Spaniards in Kyiv and triumph in the competition for the seventh time in their history tonight.
However, goalkeeper Courtois has insisted Jurgen Klopp’s side should be braced for more heartache given Real’s exceptional record in Champions League finals. They have lost just three of them, the last time, ironically, to Liverpool in 1981, and won 13 titles. The Belgium No 1 has first-hand experience of that with Atletico Madrid in 2014, but expects to be celebrating tonight because it is ingrained in Real to win.
“I played in my first Champions League final eight years ago but didn’t win it,” said Courtois, who spent four seasons at Chelsea in between his stints at the Madrid clubs. “Hopefully I can win this one. Some here are going for their fifth title, but we all have the same desire to win.
“We know that when Real Madrid play in finals, they win them. The whole team needs to get stuck in, not just the back line” While Liverpool must find a way past Courtois, they must also guard against the predatory powers of Karim Benzema, who is the leading scorer in the tournament this season with 15 goals.
“Karim has got even better,” added Courtois. “He goes from strength to strength. He keeps scoring. He gets the team through when we are not at our best.”
And meanwhile, in the Real Madrid fanzone
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) May 28, 2022
Turning the town red
Trains, planes and automobiles ...
Pillows? Those aren't pillows ...
Liverpool fans have travelled by various ingenious means to get to Saint-Denis on time for tonight's final.
Here's one of their tales - arriving in St Malo by dinghy ...
Welcome to live coverage of the 2022 Champions League final, the 67th in all since it was inaugurated as the European Cup, and the third between Real Madrid and Liverpool, the first time two clubs have met three times in the final of the continent's premier club competition.
Liverpool begin their quest for a seventh title, which would elevate them above Bayern Munich in joint-third place to join Milan in equal second, while Real Madrid are gunning for a 14th, double the number won by the Rossoneri which would take their winning record to 21 per cent. What about that for a record. Since 1956 they would have won more than a fifth of all finals, essentially European champions roughly once every five years since the competition started.
Speaking of seventh triumphs, it was, you will recall, in the City of Lights that Liverpool delayed Real Madrid from winning their seventh for a further 17 years when Barney Rubble, AKA Alan Kennedy, controlled the late Ray Kennedy's throw-in, bustled into the box and thrashed that unstoppable riser past Agustín in 1981.
Real Madrid had their revenge in Kyiv 37 years later by 'virtue' of Mohamed Salah's injury inflicted by Sergio Ramos, two handling errors from Loris Karius that may or many not have been the result of concussion - and if it was Liverpool should have substituted him - and a truly gobsmacking goal, arguably the best in the final's history, from Gareth Bale who starts tonight on the bench just as he did in Ukraine four years ago.
This is the first time since 1998 when they went into the final under Jupp Heynckes, having finished fourth in La Liga and with an openly seditious dressing room, that Real start as underdogs. It is easy to see why. Liverpool, with their stellar front three, whichever of the five he picks, moving in mesmerising patterns, play-maker full-backs, one with his marauding runs, the other with the most expansive range of passing, a world-class keeper and centre-half plus the great Fabinho, are worthy favourites. They are tougher than they were in 2018, more savvy and have more talent in three areas: midfield, alongside Virgil van Dijk (well as Dejan Lovren played in Kyiv) and between the sticks.
Real Madrid, by contrast, have lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Ramos, and Luka Modric, Casemiro and Tini Kroos have another four years' graft in those legs. But Carlo Ancelotti, always the elite player whisperer, has continued to polish Karim Benzema, who has been transformed from tireless players' player to Ballon d'Or-worthy star in the past four years, but also acted as a pied piper for the prospects Real Madrid habitually stockpile. So often talents such as Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Federico Valverde and Ferland Mendy are left to sink or swim at the Bernabeu. Ancelotti has completed their education, given them the guidance and reassurance they were crying out for and made them, not the veterans, the heartbeat of his team.
As we have seen against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City, Real Madrid do not have to play well for prolonged periods to win. If they can keep it tight, they can mug the very best. But if they play well we might be fortunate enough to watch a classic - which 1981 and 2018 were not. We've had some topsy-turvy thrillers and a few good halfs but not a pulsating, knife-edge competitive cracker for the full 90 minutes since perhaps 2002.
Stay with us for all the build-up, team news, melodrama and close harmony singing.