Roma

Roma 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
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Arsenal increase summer transfer budget to £70m in early boost for Unai Emery
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. But Emery’s first signing may well be a free transfer, with the Gunners working on a deal for right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old will be a free agent when his Juventus contract expires and Arsenal believe he could bring some much-needed leadership to the squad, as well as relieving the workload on Hector Bellerin. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. As well as Lichtsteiner, Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Unai Emery given increased Arsenal summer transfer budget - but first signing could be free agent Stephan Lichtsteiner
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. But Emery’s first signing may well be a free transfer, with the Gunners working on a deal for right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old will be a free agent when his Juventus contract expires and Arsenal believe he could bring some much-needed leadership to the squad, as well as relieving the workload on Hector Bellerin. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. As well as Lichtsteiner, Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. But Emery’s first signing may well be a free transfer, with the Gunners working on a deal for right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old will be a free agent when his Juventus contract expires and Arsenal believe he could bring some much-needed leadership to the squad, as well as relieving the workload on Hector Bellerin. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. As well as Lichtsteiner, Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Unai Emery given increased Arsenal summer transfer budget - but first signing could be free agent Stephan Lichtsteiner
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. But Emery’s first signing may well be a free transfer, with the Gunners working on a deal for right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old will be a free agent when his Juventus contract expires and Arsenal believe he could bring some much-needed leadership to the squad, as well as relieving the workload on Hector Bellerin. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. As well as Lichtsteiner, Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. But Emery’s first signing may well be a free transfer, with the Gunners working on a deal for right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old will be a free agent when his Juventus contract expires and Arsenal believe he could bring some much-needed leadership to the squad, as well as relieving the workload on Hector Bellerin. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. As well as Lichtsteiner, Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
Unai Emery given increased Arsenal summer transfer budget - but first signing could be free agent Stephan Lichtsteiner
Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds. But Emery’s first signing may well be a free transfer, with the Gunners working on a deal for right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. The 34-year-old will be a free agent when his Juventus contract expires and Arsenal believe he could bring some much-needed leadership to the squad, as well as relieving the workload on Hector Bellerin. Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m. It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible. Unai Emery is known to be an admirer of Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini Credit: Getty Images Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets. As well as Lichtsteiner, Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus. Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has particularly impressed Arsenal's new head coach Credit: Reuters The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. “What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis. “If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. “He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player. “Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic. “There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. “What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
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
Soccer Football - Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 2, 2018 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum scores their second goal REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool
Soccer Football - Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 2, 2018 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum scores their second goal REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
Soccer Football - Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 2, 2018 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool
Soccer Football - Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 2, 2018 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
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.”
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.”
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.”
This summer promises to be a busy one at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma prepared to sell their young star in order to land Bryan Cristante
Arsenal interested in Roma star Pellegrini
This summer promises to be a busy one at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma prepared to sell their young star in order to land Bryan Cristante
This summer promises to be a busy one at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma prepared to sell their young star in order to land Bryan Cristante
Arsenal interested in Roma star Pellegrini
This summer promises to be a busy one at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roma prepared to sell their young star in order to land Bryan Cristante
Liverpool’s principal owner John W. Henry says he can’t understand why Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez quit Anfield for Barcelona. Henry has suggested the duo have missed an opportunity as they will be watching the Champions League final rather than representing Liverpool, although Suarez has won the competition since his £75 million move to the Nou Camp in 2014. “Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool,” Henry told the Associated Press. “The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world. “You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona. John W Henry says he cannot understand why anyone would leave Liverpool for Barcelona Credit: AFP “It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches. “They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing. “But (FSG President) Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and everyone in our scouting department have done a terrific job in making the best of those two difficult situations.” Coutinho quit Liverpool for £142 million in January but was cup-tied for the knockout phase as Barcelona lost out to Roma, who Liverpool subsequently defeated in the semi-final. Coutinho was influential in Liverpool progressing through the group phase, however. Henry says Klopp has brought unity to the club and alluded to the philosophical differences which ultimately led to Brendan Rodgers’ exit in 2015. Rodgers was unable to work to the script he agreed when accepting the job three years previous. “It took Michael Edwards winning more and more of the battles internally to get us to the point that when we met with Jurgen he said, ‘I really want to coach this group. This will be fun,’” said Henry.
Liverpool owner questions why Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez left: 'They could have been playing this weekend'
Liverpool’s principal owner John W. Henry says he can’t understand why Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez quit Anfield for Barcelona. Henry has suggested the duo have missed an opportunity as they will be watching the Champions League final rather than representing Liverpool, although Suarez has won the competition since his £75 million move to the Nou Camp in 2014. “Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool,” Henry told the Associated Press. “The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world. “You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona. John W Henry says he cannot understand why anyone would leave Liverpool for Barcelona Credit: AFP “It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches. “They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing. “But (FSG President) Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and everyone in our scouting department have done a terrific job in making the best of those two difficult situations.” Coutinho quit Liverpool for £142 million in January but was cup-tied for the knockout phase as Barcelona lost out to Roma, who Liverpool subsequently defeated in the semi-final. Coutinho was influential in Liverpool progressing through the group phase, however. Henry says Klopp has brought unity to the club and alluded to the philosophical differences which ultimately led to Brendan Rodgers’ exit in 2015. Rodgers was unable to work to the script he agreed when accepting the job three years previous. “It took Michael Edwards winning more and more of the battles internally to get us to the point that when we met with Jurgen he said, ‘I really want to coach this group. This will be fun,’” said Henry.
Liverpool’s principal owner John W. Henry says he can’t understand why Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez quit Anfield for Barcelona. Henry has suggested the duo have missed an opportunity as they will be watching the Champions League final rather than representing Liverpool, although Suarez has won the competition since his £75 million move to the Nou Camp in 2014. “Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool,” Henry told the Associated Press. “The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world. “You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona. John W Henry says he cannot understand why anyone would leave Liverpool for Barcelona Credit: AFP “It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches. “They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing. “But (FSG President) Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and everyone in our scouting department have done a terrific job in making the best of those two difficult situations.” Coutinho quit Liverpool for £142 million in January but was cup-tied for the knockout phase as Barcelona lost out to Roma, who Liverpool subsequently defeated in the semi-final. Coutinho was influential in Liverpool progressing through the group phase, however. Henry says Klopp has brought unity to the club and alluded to the philosophical differences which ultimately led to Brendan Rodgers’ exit in 2015. Rodgers was unable to work to the script he agreed when accepting the job three years previous. “It took Michael Edwards winning more and more of the battles internally to get us to the point that when we met with Jurgen he said, ‘I really want to coach this group. This will be fun,’” said Henry.
Liverpool owner questions why Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez left: 'They could have been playing this weekend'
Liverpool’s principal owner John W. Henry says he can’t understand why Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez quit Anfield for Barcelona. Henry has suggested the duo have missed an opportunity as they will be watching the Champions League final rather than representing Liverpool, although Suarez has won the competition since his £75 million move to the Nou Camp in 2014. “Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool,” Henry told the Associated Press. “The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world. “You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona. John W Henry says he cannot understand why anyone would leave Liverpool for Barcelona Credit: AFP “It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches. “They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing. “But (FSG President) Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and everyone in our scouting department have done a terrific job in making the best of those two difficult situations.” Coutinho quit Liverpool for £142 million in January but was cup-tied for the knockout phase as Barcelona lost out to Roma, who Liverpool subsequently defeated in the semi-final. Coutinho was influential in Liverpool progressing through the group phase, however. Henry says Klopp has brought unity to the club and alluded to the philosophical differences which ultimately led to Brendan Rodgers’ exit in 2015. Rodgers was unable to work to the script he agreed when accepting the job three years previous. “It took Michael Edwards winning more and more of the battles internally to get us to the point that when we met with Jurgen he said, ‘I really want to coach this group. This will be fun,’” said Henry.
Jose Mourinho is hoping to make Fred his first signing of a busy summer as Manchester United move closer to securing an initial £44 million deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for the Brazil midfielder. United are also hoping to take advantage of Mauricio Pochettino’s desire for Tottenham Hotspur to do their transfer business early in the pursuit of £50 million plus rated Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld. Fred, 25, who is represented by Gilberto Silva, the former Arsenal midfielder, is due in the north west when Brazil play Croatia in a friendly at Anfield on Sunday week and Mourinho wants a deal wrapped up before the energetic defensive midfielder flies to Russia for the World Cup finals. The fee could top £50 million with add ons. Shakhtar have lined up Maycon from Corinthians as a replacement. Manchester City had been the original frontrunners for Fred, who had set his sights on a move to the Premier League champions in January. But City cooled their interest when United entered the bidding and Shakhtar inflated the price, prompting Etihad officials to eventually walk away and turn their attentions instead to Jorginho, Napoli’s Italy midfielder. City backed out of a deal for Alexis Sanchez in similar circumstances after balking at the sums involved before the Chile striker moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in January. Can Mourinho be trusted to spend effectively this summer? Assuming Paul Pogba stays at United this summer, Mourinho envisages Fred forming a midfield trio with the Frenchman and Nemanja Matic. However, Mourinho will be forced into the market for another midfielder if Marouane Fellaini leaves with the Belgian still to agree a new contract and/or a huge offer is tabled for Pogba and the manager opts to cash in. It promises to be a hectic summer at United, with Mourinho also targeting two full backs and a winger in addition to a centre-half. The prospect of making five signings may be optimistic, though, given how a shortened transfer window is compounded by the World Cup. Mourinho would also like Alderweireld in place before the start of the World Cup on June 14 but negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, has proven a taxing experience in the past. Nonetheless, Pochettino has made it clear to Levy, both publicly and in private talks, that he wants the club to conduct their business earlier than in previous summers, both in terms of ins and outs, and United hope that stance could assist their efforts with Alderweireld. Hit or miss? | Mourinho's United signings It would still take a huge offer to persuade Levy to sell to a direct English rival for the Champions League places. Alderweireld is available for £25 million next summer [2019] under the terms of his contract, which has two years to run, but Spurs want more than double that this summer. Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is under pressure from Mourinho to move swiftly but it remains to be seen if he is prepared to go the extra yard to secure the services of Alderweireld, who, at 29, would have little resale value. Woodward was unwilling to meet Inter Milan’s £49 million asking price for Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer, much to Mourinho’s frustration, because it was considered an excessive sum for a player who was 28 at the time. Pochettino is a keen admirer of Anthony Martial but United are thought to be opposed to selling the France forward, who has also attracted interest from Chelsea, to an English club. If Tottenham insisted on taking Martial as part of any negotiations over Alderweireld, a deal for the defender could break down and force United to pursue other targets. Defenders Matteo Darmian, who is attracted interest from Juventus, and Daley Blind, who Inter, Roma and Ajax are monitoring, will head a clear out at Old Trafford.