Liverpool will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the Stade de France later this month after the Spaniards beat Manchester City with a late and moving comeback.
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Two of the most successful clubs in European football history will go head-to-head at the Stade de France later this month after both battled their way through thrilling semi-final ties. The rojillos were the first to get the pass, but Villarreal gave them a big scare.
Leading by two goals over Spain, Liverpool saw their lead slip away during a punishing first-half display. But the goals from Fabinho, Luis Díaz and Sadio Mané earned them a Relatively comfortable overall victory.
Real Madrid’s progression, on the other hand, was anything but comfortable, pulling off one of the most memorable comebacks in recent history. The La Liga champions found themselves two goals down and looking down the barrel of elimination, before Rodrygo scored twice in less than two minutes to take the game into extra time.
Karim Benzema then did what Karim Benzema does best and scored the decisive third goal to give the Whites a chance to win their 14th European Cup. It’s a rematch of the 2018 final in kyiv, in which the Spanish won 3-1 thanks to a couple of Loris Karius errors.
Madrid were also victorious when the two teams met last season at the quarter-final stage, winning 3-1 in the Spanish capital before drawing 0-0 at Anfield. This time around, however, it’s a very different Liverpool team, with Jurgen Klopp’s side chasing a historic quadruple of major honours.
The Premier league The giants are likely to go into the Paris final as favorites having proven to be one of the best teams in Europe this season, if not the best. But on paper at least, Real has a huge advantage as both teams look ahead to the May 28 matchup.
Having clinched the Spanish title last weekend, Carlo Ancelotti is in the enviable position of being able to wrap his superstars in cotton and rotate his team accordingly. Between now and the final, Los Blancos have four league games, with little at stake other than achieving dominance over Barcelona even clearer.
Liverpool face a very different period before the first ball is released in just over three weeks. Unlike Real Madrid, Liverpool have everything to play for and hope to have lifted another two trophies before traveling to France.
The Reds need a favor from one of City’s opponents but know they will likely need to win their last four league games, culminating in Wolves at home on May 22, if they want a shot at the title.
And between that bid for a second Premier League title there is a FA Cup final with the current European champions chelsea. Klopp will have little chance to rest his players in what could yet be a historic month for the Merseysiders.
But while that could give Madrid an advantage, there are examples that could give Liverpool hope of winning European football’s biggest prize for the seventh time.
It’s not often that the Reds want to be inspired by manchester united – particularly in recent seasons – but his remarkable 1999 triple-header season provides a model. In that campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side faced an equally daunting schedule, with a tight title race and an FA Cup final at Wembley.
The Red Devils would go on to win the league on the final day of the season, before beating newcastle at the football house the following week. United were then able to dust themselves off and produced their own miraculous comeback, beating Bayern Munich 2-1 at the Camp Nou to seal what has so far been an unrivaled series of honours.
More recently, Chelsea showed that the idea of relaxing in a final was not always the preferred option. Having secured a spot in last season’s final vs. manchester cityThomas Tuchel’s side still had to fight for a top four spot before playing leicester in the cup final.
Despite losing to the Foxes, Tuchel pointed to the fact that his players would be at their best, with City, already crowned champions, able to reach the final. “You become absolutely focused, absolutely sharp when the kind of pressure that we have now is present,” Tuchel explained. “It takes you to the limit. Gets you out of bed early. You think twice and become sharp. That is what I demand of myself: deliver under pressure.”
So while Real Madrid may believe they have an ace up their sleeve, Klopp and Liverpool have two very clear plans to follow and prove that a fully focused team could be an advantage over a well-rested one.