Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich slideshow

What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: What time does Liverpool vs Real Madrid kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: What time does Liverpool vs Real Madrid kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
The Spain international has been linked with a move back to his old club, and has revealed that he is not sure where he will play next season
Thiago hints at uncertain Bayern Munich future amid Barcelona links
The Spain international has been linked with a move back to his old club, and has revealed that he is not sure where he will play next season
The Bayern Munich and Germany forward believes Liverpool's attacker could make himself a real contender for the award if the Reds win Saturday
Champions League crown could fire Salah to Ballon d'Or - Muller
The Bayern Munich and Germany forward believes Liverpool's attacker could make himself a real contender for the award if the Reds win Saturday
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Paris St Germain vs Bayern Munich - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - September 27, 2017 Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti reacts REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Paris St Germain vs Bayern Munich
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Paris St Germain vs Bayern Munich - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - September 27, 2017 Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti reacts REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Paris St Germain vs Bayern Munich - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - September 27, 2017 Carlo Ancelotti reacts REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Paris St Germain vs Bayern Munich
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Paris St Germain vs Bayern Munich - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - September 27, 2017 Carlo Ancelotti reacts REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
Bayern Munich's mid-fielder James Rodriguez has launched his own cryptocurrency ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Colombian play-maker's 'JR10 Token' will be available for pre-purchase via the SelfSell App from May 27 onwards. With this new development, we can say that the blockchain fever has gripped the world of football. James is on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid.
Footballer James Rodriguez launches his own cryptocurrency
Bayern Munich's mid-fielder James Rodriguez has launched his own cryptocurrency ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Colombian play-maker's 'JR10 Token' will be available for pre-purchase via the SelfSell App from May 27 onwards. With this new development, we can say that the blockchain fever has gripped the world of football. James is on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid.
The Spain international has been linked with a move back to his old club, and has revealed that he is not sure where he will play next season
Thiago hints at uncertain Bayern Munich future amid Barcelona links
The Spain international has been linked with a move back to his old club, and has revealed that he is not sure where he will play next season
Real Madrid and Liverpool gear up for a mega finale of the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League to be held in Kiev. Real overcame Bayern Munich in the semis as the Reds saw off a gritty AS Roma outfit. With plenty at stake for both clubs, it would be a crunch battle. Here is the pre-match report in numbers.
UEFA Champions League final- The numbers game
Real Madrid and Liverpool gear up for a mega finale of the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League to be held in Kiev. Real overcame Bayern Munich in the semis as the Reds saw off a gritty AS Roma outfit. With plenty at stake for both clubs, it would be a crunch battle. Here is the pre-match report in numbers.
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final: The tactics Jurgen Klopp must employ to take down Ronaldo & Co
The Chaaaaampions! And as the rousing Champions League theme peaks and dissipates, the Liverpool and Real Madrid players will hear only the roar of the crowd and the sound of their own thumping hearts. This is the big game. Real Madrid have experience of it - amazing, recent experience - after winning their previous two finals. It's experience and class vs explosive attack and momentum. How should Liverpool approach the game? Jurgen Klopp's record in finals isn't great but even having lost his last five in a row, it's unthinkable he'd revert from the 4-3-3, high-pressing, relentlessly attacking football that has taken Liverpool to Kiev. Real Madrid have been shaky this season and a little unsure of themselves, but there remains a constant - this is Real Madrid. What does Klopp do? Let's take a look. How the teams will line up Liverpool will almost certainly set up in a 4-3-3, employ a high press and close down Real Madrid to force a mistake and look to capitalise on it. It works against everyone. The Gegenpress will be on full display and if they get it right, this group of players could quickly unsettle and destroy a defence which has regularly been breached by relative La Liga minnows over the course of the season. The three strikers will take up central attacking positions and width will be provided by Andrew Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, with one of the three central midfielders breaking forward to join attacks while the other two keep the balance. Real Madrid's usual Champions League setup is a 4-4-2 diamond, the same that Zinedine Zidane's managerial mentor Carlo Ancelotti likes most and - coincidentally - the same that Liverpool overcame in that win in Istanbul. Zidane's 4-4-2 diamond formation, the tactical setup which has liberated Isco This formation does a few things for Real. First of all, it gets the most possible out of Isco in a free-roaming attacking midfield role. He does not tend to do much defensively and by having freedom to move around the pitch he ends up everywhere, linking passes and bringing others into the game, as well as popping up in space near the opponent's box to play a final pass or score himself. It also allows Cristiano Ronaldo to start as a central striker and move out to the channels if he wants to, as opposed to starting as a wide player and having to move inside. Thus, he becomes a focal point for attacks and spends his time trying to get on the end of things rather than help construct the build-up play. However, Zidane will be nervous about the threat Liverpool pose on the counter-attack and could well decide to opt for a familiar looking 4-3-3, employ a deep defensive line and look to attack on the counter with a bit more of a safety net. Zidane's 4-3-3 at Real Madrid. This relies on Bale and Ronaldo defending their respective flanks, something they tend not to do. Ronaldo has developed into more of a central striker too, meaning the left wing especially is unprotected in defensive phases of play. The other massive advantage of setting up like this is that Gareth Bale can play. Capable of scoring out of nowhere, his aerial threat, especially combined with Ronaldo's on the left, could be the undoing of Liverpool's defence, who are still vulnerable from set pieces. Liverpool must utilise their quick counter-attacks The key to Liverpool beating this Real Madrid team is attacking with that same energy, momentum and ferocity that battered Man City and Roma. Nerves could hinder certain players, but if Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are ready to pounce and the ball is delivered to them quickly, few teams can cope with the fluid movement and creative whirlwind that comes their way. Their opening goal in the first leg against Man City is a perfect example of what this team is capable of. Anfield erupts! ��⚪️ Mo Salah nets in front of the Kop and it's first blood to Liverpool! �� pic.twitter.com/0oIczhhgE2— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 A set piece is won in the air by the defence and as soon as possession is turned over, Liverpool sprint to get into their attacking shape. James Milner spots the forward run and immediately plays a direct forward pass. Man City have to race back to deal with the danger, with their centre-backs left high up the pitch. Salah moves inside, Firmino takes the ball into the box and forces a shot, the deflection of which lands with Salah. He stays cool and finishes. By leaving Salah and Firmino high up the pitch like this, Liverpool are able to break rapidly - it's defending by attacking, forcing teams to send fewer forwards up the pitch for fear of what might happen at the other end. Real Madrid will have a lot of the ball and will certainly attack and create chances to score, but the way they play leaves them open to counter-attacks. Liverpool must get the balance right but it is surely worth taking the risk of having those quick forwards in advanced positions even when having to defend against waves of pressure. Vertical play (or 'get the ball up the pitch, stupid!') Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can control a game with the ball but aren't particularly intimidating defensively. Liverpool click into attack mode as soon as they have the chance to do so and where some teams like to pass the ball to feet and work their way up the pitch in control of possession, Liverpool run. It's vertical play as opposed to horizontal sideways passing, and is a key component of Klopp's style of play. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a huge loss for the final. His ability to break the lines of defence with a burst of pace helps the team play at that high-tempo, revving to full speed from a near-standing start at times. WHAT. A. HIT! �� Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with an absolute screamer! Liverpool 2-0 Man City �� pic.twitter.com/W21fO3v9lc— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 4, 2018 Oxlade-Chamberlain's relentlessly energetic chasing of the ball in midfield is something else the team will miss and while Georginio Wijnaldum is excellent at the attacking part of this role, he doesn't offer quite as much in his all-round game. Liverpool's second goal in the 2-1 second leg win over City is the kind of thing they'll need to do again. Wijnaldum has the ball, Milner is the obvious option. City shift over to block the passing lane... but Wijnaldum is using him as a decoy. He stops and instead plays it forward to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain takes the ball on, sprints beyond the midfield line and has runners ahead of him. The next ball is a superb pass played between the centre-backs, ahead of Salah's run. Oxlade-Chamberlain threads a pass ahead of Salah Mane sprints onto Salah's pass, ends up going past Nicolas Otamendi and down in the box after this, and Salah dinks the ball over the goalkeeper from the resulting rammy in the box. Wijnaldum must put a real shift in to replicate Oxlade-Chamberlain's role against Real Madrid, and ensure he looks forward to constantly put Liverpool on the front foot. Real Madrid's defence must not be allowed to get back into shape before Liverpool are in their final third. This is the most likely way Klopp's team will score. Runs in behind Zidane is no fool and will drill into his players the need to watch for runners in behind the defence, another reason he may well go with a deep defensive line (Roma's suicidal high line caused their undoing), in a 4-3-3. Even the best players can suffer lapses in concentration and Real Madrid were guilty of this in their final La Liga game of the season, drawing 2-2 with Villarreal having led 2-0. The first goal was a brilliant finish from inside the box by Roger Martinez but the second was entirely avoidable, and something we've seen too often during the season. Rodri Hernandez is allowed time in front of the Real Madrid midfield. Real are in a 4-4-2 shape, which you can't really see above, and Bale at left wing has spotted that Samu Castillejo is making a forward run. Rather than track him, Bale points it out to a teammate. Raphael Varane points out a forward wandering between the lines instead of stepping up to get tight too. It's poor defensive organisation - players seeing things without actually doing anything about it. Castillejo rounds the goalkeeper to score Castillejo runs in behind and controls the chipped pass with one touch, goes around the goalkeeper and scores. The most basic of balls over the top confuses the back four and the game ends in a draw. Firmino, Salah and Mane are superb at making these sorts of forward runs in behind. How to take advantage of Marcelo Marcelo is considered one of the best left-backs in the world, which is both correct and odd since he spends the majority of games as a left winger. A naturally skilful, technical player, Marcelo creates and provides a genuine threat on the left of Real Madrid's attack. "Madrid have no weakness", Klopp said in a recent interview. "Football is not that easy that you say Marcelo stays upfront and Salah stays there and plays against Ramos - that's not how football works". But it can be done! Marcelo regularly takes up the wide left forward's position for Real Madrid in attacking phases of play Marcelo's delivery from wide areas and link-up play are excellent but the inevitable consequence of taking risks in these advanced areas means if Real Madrid lose the ball, they are in a spot of trouble. Against Liverpool's rapid attack, make that double. And if you include Mo Salah... even worse. An interception, tackle or recovery then a ball over the top could put Liverpool's front three away and with space to attack a Real Madrid defence desperately trying to get back into shape. Real Madrid gif 2 Here's an example of this exact scenario from Bayern Munich's opening goal in the first leg of the semi-final. The Allianz erupts! Joshua Kimmich hammers Bayern into the lead! �� What an assist from James Rodriguez �� pic.twitter.com/DyoD0oYl2U— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 It isn't as if Real aren't aware of the possibility but Marcelo is so good in attack that it makes sense to allow him forward. Midfielders must cover the space he leaves. Strikers vs Dejan Lovren Virgil van Dijk has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool and commands the area, bringing confidence to a sometimes ropey looking back four. He's especially adept in the air but Real Madrid will know there is gold to be found by putting high balls into the box - Lorius Karius doesn't inspire confidence and Dejan Lovren even occasionally misreads the flight of the ball. Here he is completely missing a header to give Harry Kane a free run on goal, as a high profile example. Roma's first goal in the semi-final first leg is worryingly similar. A pass from Radja Nainggolan is aimed towards Edin Dzeko's run. Van Dijk steps up, Lovren covers - for a high ball over the top, this doesn't really make defensive sense. Andy Robertson should be the defensive line guide that Lovren relies on but, scared by Dzeko's presence, he's broken the offside trap. Alexander-Arnold sprints back to help out. Dzeko is played onside, Lovren misjudges the flight of the ball completely. Dzeko scores. Real put in a lot of crosses too and have scored 20 goals from set pieces this season. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale are all excellent in the air and the slightest of hesitation from a centre-back could be crucial. Van Dijk will likely be tasked with taking care of Ronaldo but if Zidane does go with a three striker system, that leaves Lovren to contend with Bale. The end of an era If Liverpool win, it will be considered the end of an era for this Real Madrid side, a team who should be considered up there with the very best. Winning the Champions League twice in a row is an incredible feat and it should not be forgotten that despite domestic disappointment they are a frightening opponent. Real have some of the best individual players in the world in each position and although Zidane has done well to find the balance, and without taking away from his achievements - which could not have been done by any other human at the time - his best trick as manager was to command the dressing room, give them a sensible structure and then let the likes of Ronaldo, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos and Modric lead the way. They will be as prepared and motivated as Liverpool can hope to be but all of that could be for nothing if Salah finds a tiny bit of space and produces magic, Mane breaks the offside trap and the rest of the supporting cast presses Real into making nervous early mistakes, like rapid water breaking through a dam. This game really could go either way but in finals, the team who makes the fewest mistakes is the one who usually wins. Real Madrid are nothing if not professional, experienced and confident and though it is not normal for a team to reach the Champions League final three years in a row, with the standards that Zidane and Ronaldo have set, anything less than victory seems unthinkable. If there were one team they would have hoped to avoid at this final stage though, it would almost certainly be Klopp's Liverpool. How to watch tomorrow's Champions League final on TV
Real Madrid now stand on the brink of the first ‘three-peat’ in Europe’s premier competition since the Bayern side of the mid-70s. This presents an opportunity to assess the current Madrid side’s place among great European teams.
Champions League: Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid bears resemblance to Bayern Munich side of the mid-70s
Real Madrid now stand on the brink of the first ‘three-peat’ in Europe’s premier competition since the Bayern side of the mid-70s. This presents an opportunity to assess the current Madrid side’s place among great European teams.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The 10 managers nobody is linking with vacant jobs...but should be
Frustration with the same old names and faces occupying Premier League jobs was a feature of last season, and could even prove a watershed moment in how fans think about their manager. Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew are just three beneficiaries of the managerial merry-go-round, but a culture of safe appointments is just as true in the upper echelons of the Premier League. Arsenal appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach on Wednesday while Chelsea have a strong interest Maurizio Sarri and both feel like the 'next cab off the rank' of European coaches. The omnipotent gaffer is being phased out of the game, in favour of more democratic and collegiate structures with power shared between a technical director, recruitment guru and head coach. Here are 10 coaches who might find themselves in contention for jobs when the sacking seasons begins in autumn. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke) Dominic Tedesco led Schalke to a second place finish in the Bundesliga Credit: AFP The head coach of the team who finished second in the Bundesliga is hardly an obscure selection, but 32-year-old Domenico Tedesco looks a cast-iron certainty to be considered for the next 'Big Six' job available. Born in Italy, Tedesco's parents emigrated to Germany when he was two years old. He never played football professionally but like Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann found a break in coaching at a young age. Appointed by second-tier Erzgebirge Aue in March 2017, Tedesco won 13 points from five games to guide them to safety. Schalke took a chance on him last summer and under his guidance the Gelsenkirchen club have qualified for the Champions League after a three-year absence. Regarded as a tactically flexible coach, one highlight of a superb debut season was a comeback from 4-0 down to 4-4 in the derby against Borussia Dortmund. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta) Gasperini lasted only five games as Inter Milan manager in 2011, but has bounced back since then Credit: Getty Images Lasted only five games at Inter in 2011, but Gian Piero Gasperini has a warranted reputation for getting a lot from a little. He guided Genoa to Europe in 2009 but it is his work at Atalanta over the past few seasons that has really caught the eye. Benefiting from one of Italy's most productive academies, Giasperini's Atlanta recovered from losing four of their first five league games to finish fourth in 2016-17, achieving European qualification for the first time in 26-years. The 58-year-old coach ripped up the tactical rule-book, using a Dutch-style 3-4-3 that left opponents dumbfounded. Despite losing Franck Kessie to Milan last summer and other key players, Atalanta continued to punch above their weight with a seventh-placed finish. Giasperini is not the youthful up-and-comer some clubs crave, but any club looking to maximise meagre resources could do far worse. Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) Giovanni van Bronckhorst was loosely linked with Arsenal before Unai Emery's appointment Credit: Getty Images The former Arsenal player received a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger last year and a glance at his record makes it easy to see why. Guided Feyenoord to the Dutch Cup in his first season before winning the Eredivisie in his second, coaxing the best out of a squad with a mix of talented youngsters and wise old heads such as Dirk Kuyt. Last season proved more challenging, but Feyenoord did rally late, winning their last eight league matches to finish fourth and claimed another cup. Ralph Hasenhüttl (free agent) Hasenhüttl stepped down as RB Leipzig head coach at the end of last season after two seasons in charge. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made both made new appointments this summer, so Hasenhüttl must consider his next move. The Austrian guided the controversial Bundesliga newcomers to second-place and Champions League qualification with a brand of high-octane, progressive football. He may have fallen out with RB Leipzig's hierarchy over a new contract, but Hasenhüttl looks ideally suited to any club with a technical director-head coach set-up. Whether he can find a club that can unearth talent like Naby Keita or Emil Forsberg is another matter. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Eddie Howe's name has not been mentioned for recent managerial vacancies Credit: Reuters Not an unfamiliar name, but one who seems to be drifting down clubs' lists. In the summer of 2016 there were reports that he was well thought of by Arsenal's hierarchy, and he was also linked with Everton - the club he supported as a boy. He was frequently spoken of as a potential England manager too. Several managerial vacancies have opened up in the last few months, and Howe does not seem to have been considered for any of them. He has done nothing to diminish his reputation in the intervening period, quite the opposite in fact, so his diminished status is curious. Bournemouth's last two league finishes are ninth and 12th - a commendable achievement. His record in the transfer market is patchy however, and there is also a risk that becomes institutionalised at Bournemouth. Familiarity breeds contempt. Tite (Brazil) Tite has been praised for his man-management of Neymar Credit: Reuters The quality of manager in international football is desperately low, but Brazil's Tite is one who looks capable of stepping into a top club job. Has galvanised a group of players rocked by a 7-1 World Cup semi-final humiliation on home soil at the hands of Germany. Following the oppressive Dunga, Tite has put an arm round a few of his charges and the result is possibly the best Brazil team since 2002. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead the charge in Russia, with Roberto Firmino and Willian in reserve, supported by a likely midfield three of Casemiro, Paulinho and Rene Augusto. Dani Alves' injury is a blow, leaving the right-back berth free in a back four otherwise compromised of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Marcelo. In goal, they can choose between Alisson and Ederson. Not bad. Neil Harris (Millwall) Lee Johnson, Dean Smith and Paul Cook are all promising Championship managers, but Neil Harris has done a remarkable job at the Den against all the odds. Building upon the 'siege mentality' that is part of Millwall's essential character, and thanks in no small part to Lee Gregory and Steve Morison's strike partnership, Harris has taken the London club from League One to the brink of the play-offs. It would take a hell of an offer to tempt Harris away from Millwall however, where he enjoys legendary status. Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate) Another disciple of Marcelo Bielsa, Gallardo could be the next successful Argentinian coaching export. Appointed River Plate manager in 2014, he has tucked away the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and the Recopa already. Gallardo has a reputation as an innovator too, becoming the first coach in Argentina's first division to appoint a female assistant as well as working with a neuroscientist to hone players' mental approach. Could be on Atletico Madrid's shortlist should Diego Simeone ever depart. Slavisa Jokanovic (Fulham) There have been some recent whispers that Chelsea are interested in Slavisa Jokanovic Credit: PA There have already been whispers of Chelsea's interest, but if Fulham win their play-off final against Aston Villa and thrive in the Premier League then Jokanovic will be a wanted man. Fulham were without a doubt the best footballing side in the Championship last season, but Jokanovic also possesses an inner-steel that ensures discipline is not lost in all the pretty passing patterns. For clubs lost in the Premier League mid-table morass, Jokanovic would instill a style of play and an identity for fans to believe in. Rui Vitoria (Benfica) Has lifted two Portuguese championships and two cups in three seasons at Benfica, and at 48 Vitoria must surely be considering a fresh challenge. Losing out on the championship to Porto this season also has Vitoria under pressure Benfica are a dominant force, but a win percentage of 70% after 152 matches in charge remains impressive. Jose Mourinho's former assistant Rui Faria has been linked to the job, so that could free Vitoria to seek pastures new.
The Bayern Munich and Germany forward believes Liverpool's attacker could make himself a real contender for the award if the Reds win Saturday
Champions League crown could fire Salah to Ballon d'Or - Muller
The Bayern Munich and Germany forward believes Liverpool's attacker could make himself a real contender for the award if the Reds win Saturday
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
The truth behind Liverpool fans' costly nightmare following their team to Kiev
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”