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Real Madrid key weakness revealed as Liverpool treble-winner Stephane Henchoz predicts Champions League final result

 

Former Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz has revealed how Jurgen Klopp’s side can really hurt Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final.

 

However, there are fears the Reds’ gruelling campaign may come back to haunt them in the season ending showdown in Paris.

Liverpool vs Real Madrid will be a match full of intriguing battles

Liverpool vs Real Madrid will be a match full of intriguing battles

The Anfield outfit are looking to lift European Cup No.7 at the Stade de France, as this season’s FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners and Premier League runners-up take on the champions of Spain.

Henchoz knows a thing or two about winning trebles in a Liverpool shirt – having been a key player in the 2000/01 team that lifted the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup – as well as the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup – in one campaign.

Klopp’s men will be hoping to do one better than that haul by lifting the Champions League once again, and Henchoz is confident they have what it takes – particularly if they target a big problem area for Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos.

“Ferland Mendy doesn’t like to defend,” the former Reds star – who is in Paris commentating for the final for Swiss TV – told the Weekend sports breakfast.

“He’s not the best at defending and Dani Carvajal is exactly the same.

“The strength of Liverpool’s two full-backs is going forward, especially Trent Alexander-Arnold. We know that he can deliver crosses, he can strike, he’s so good going forward.

Mendy and Carvajal could be targeted by Liverpool who love attacking down the flanks

Mendy and Carvajal could be targeted by Liverpool who love attacking down the flanks

“So tonight it could be one of the keys of this game – the two Real Madrid full-backs and how they can defend against the two Liverpool full-backs.”

Henchoz also believes two others players will be key to a Liverpool victory in Paris – midfielders Thiago and Fabinho – with Klopp delivering Goodnews about their fitness in the build-up to the showpiece.

“In my opinion I think it’s also very important that Thiago and Fabinho play,” the former Switzerland defender continued.

“Up front Luis Diaz can be the match-changer, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah as well, but in the middle of the park I think Fabinho is so important for the team, and Thiago, hopefully he can play because at the moment he is on fire.

“Real Madrid’s midfield is very strong. Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, they are quite old but they are still doing the job and obviously upfront they have Karim Benzema who has been just incredible this season, he’s scored goals for fun and he’ll be a big task for Virgil van Dijk and whoever will play alongside in central defence to stop him.”

Elsewhere, there are some fears for Liverpool ahead of the match, which will be the closing chapter in what has been a mammoth campaign for the Premier League giants.

The Reds have played every possible fixture this term, making it to the finals of all three cups and taking the Premier League title race right to the wire, as they finished second behind champions Man City yet again.

And former England international Carlton Palmer told talkSPORT he is concerned Liverpool will run out of gas against Real Madrid.

“The thing I worry about most about Liverpool right now, and it will be a big factor in the game, is fatigue,” he told the reporters.

“With all due respect to Real Madrid, they play in a league where there are a lot of gimmes. There are a lot of games where they don’t have to overexert themselves.

“In the Premier League there are no gimmes. Every weekend is a tough game…  and Real Madrid last played a game weeks ago.

Liverpool have enjoyed a brilliant campaign – but have their exploits in every competition been too much for the players?

Liverpool have enjoyed a brilliant campaign – but have their exploits in every competition been too much for the players?

“When you look at Liverpool being involved in all the competitions to the latter stages I do wonder, if the game goes long, whether Liverpool might just show signs of fatigue.

“And if they do, Real Madrid could beat them.”

Despite those fatigue fears, though, Henchoz is backing the Reds to reign victorious in Europe again.

Looking ahead to the game, he added: “In a final you never know what can happen, what to expect. I don’t know what will happen tonight, a final is always a one-off, and every final is very different.

 

“Real Madrid have a lot of confidence because of what happened this season. They beat Chelsea, beat Man City, beat PSG – they should have crashed out way before the final, but I think it will give them a lot of confidence.

Real Madrid stunned Man City in the semi-finals

Real Madrid stunned Man City in the semi-finals

“I’m not saying Liverpool won’t be confident as well, but Real Madrid will believe they can win this game whatever happens, even if they are 2-0 or 3-0 down they will keep thinking they can win and they have the players to do it.

“It’s been an incredible season for Liverpool, even though they missed out on the Premier League title, reaching three finals and competing until the very last minute to win the league, it’s just incredible.

“I think they’ve got the players and Jurgen Klopp, who in my opinion is the best manager in the world, and they can score goals.

Liverpool is a team from the first minute who try to score goals, that’s the way they play, no matter if they’re at home or away.

“I think Liverpool will win. They’ve got what it takes to win a Champions League final

 

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