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Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Three key battles that may decide the game

 

Since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, only teams from Madrid have been able to knock his Liverpool side out of the Champions League.

In 2018, the Reds lost to Real Madrid in the final. In 2020, they were ousted by Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16 and last season, the Los Blancos were able to eliminate the Merseysiders in the quarter finals.

Liverpool will face Real Madrid in yet another European Cup final on Saturday. Who will come out on top in Paris? We take a look at the three key battles that may decide the game.

1. Liverpool attack vs Madrid’s backline

Liverpool have one of the best attacks in the continent. Winter signing, Luis Diaz, has been a consistent threat upfront. Mane scored in the final vs the Whites in 2018 and Salah scored in the final vs Spurs in 2019.

Anfield legend, Steve McManaman, who scored for Real Madrid in the 2000 final, claims that the Bernabeu outfit have a special relationship with the European Cup.

Real Madrid’s backline was taken apart by PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City in the competition and they needed miracles to turn the ties around and reach the final. They have to be at their best to stop the dangerous Liverpool trio.

2. Vinicius Jr. vs Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent is arguably the weakest link in the Liverpool defense. Last season, Vinicius Jr. absolutely tormented the England international with his pace and trickery and scored two goals against us.

This season, the Brazilian international has been at his best and directly contributed in 41 goals in all competitions.

Alexander-Arnold is not that easy to get past in a 1v1 situation but the problem arises when he is high up the pitch and leaves space behind. He is one of the most creative players so you cannot just keep him at the back but Klopp needs to ensure that there is someone to cover when he is that far forward.

3. Kroos vs Liverpool press/high line

Madrid will probably start with Casemiro, Kroos and Modric in the center of the park. The trio have won 4 Champions League titles and have immense quality and experience.

Liverpool like to consistently press and play with a very high line. However, if they are unable to quickly press and the ball falls to a quality player whose distribution is second to none then they have shown vulnerability.

Kroos’ passing range and accuracy is arguably the best in the game. Last season, the German midfielder provided two long range balls vs the Anfield club that led to goals.

The presence of Van Dijk, who was injured last term, can help Klopp but the former Bayern Munich man must not be allowed time and space or else he can maneuver the game.

 

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