A lengthy soccer season will come to a close on Saturday afternoon as the Champions League Final takes place from Kiev, Ukraine. Of course, in soccer there is no traditional off-season as the World Cup is slated to begin in just a couple of weeks in Russia – which we’ll also have covered in full right here at The Sports Geek.
Alas, this year’s Champions League Final features two high-powered attacking sides in Liverpool and Real Madrid. Madrid of course have won this crown the past two seasons, and given their recent form in the domestic La Liga – have been gearing up for three straight crowns for a couple of months now. Led by coach Zinedine Zidane on the touchline and the dynamic Cristiano Ronaldo up front, Los Blancos can score at will and have begun somewhat of a dynasty within this competition.
Going against them is a bit of a surprise package in Liverpool. Nobody would have foreseen the Reds making it all the way here back when this competition kicked off – but Jurgen Klopp has done a masterful job as coach. The genius on the touchline has his group playing an electric brand of football, led by aggressive pressing and an offense-first style that generated a ton of high quality chances and electrifying finishes. Led by Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian international – the Reds have a shot in every one-off fixture because of how dynamic they are when they possess the ball.
Expect a ton of fireworks from Kiev on Saturday afternoon in what promises to be a thrilling affair. As always, read on below for a tactical breakdown and official game prediction for Liverpool and Real Madrid in the Champions League Final!
Real Madrid vs. Liverpool Betting Odds:
Real Madrid (+110)
Over 3.5 (+110)
Under 3.5 (-130)
Real Madrid vs. Liverpool Prediction:
Real Madrid have been here before, and won this fixture two years running. Both sides are similar entering the contest – in the sense that they both have some electric playmakers, finishers, and gamebreakers. That helps to explain the very high game total in this fixture. I do think both teams will score on Saturday afternoon, and despite the high total – I’d play the over before I considered the under.
Onto the matter of who will hoist the trophy when all is said and done – that’s a more complex discussion. Both teams have limped into Saturday, undoubtedly resting their key players and preparing for a clash of such high magnitude. But you better believe both will be eager for Saturday’s showdown in Kiev.
Liverpool will look to employ their usual high-pressing and aggressive style early on. They’ve been dominant starters all season long and will come out firing no doubt. Real Madrid may need to withstand the barrage of pressure from the Reds for the first 10-15 minutes before settling in and allowing their possession-based game to take over. Liverpool are no doubt dynamite going forward. The trio of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane are arguably as good as anything on the other side, and Real Madrid’s backline will struggle at times to deal with this. Sergio Ramos is getting up there in age, and even though Marcelo is back for Los Blancos – he can be a little erratic with his play away from the ball.
Liverpool will score and get chances and cause a ton of difficulty for Real Madrid’s back-four. But where I am most concerned and where I see this game being won or lost, is Real Madrid’s ability to withstand the gung-ho attack of the Reds, and capitalize on the counter. For all of the questions we ask about the Madrid back-line, Liverpool’s is vastly unproven, untested, and frankly quite a bit worse. Though Klopp went out and signed Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window, he’s surrounded by Dejan Lovren and likely Andy Robertson. That duo hasn’t been very stellar and leave many scratching their heads following many questionable decisions and egregious errors.
Ultimately I see those holes in the Liverpool defense being a major difference-maker. I think Madrid will do enough throughout to somewhat withstand the Reds’ offensive barrage, whereas I just do not have that same faith in Liverpool’s defensive structure. Real Madrid will be loaded with skilled playmakers such as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Isco, Gareth Bale, and of course – Ronaldo. All of those individuals are surely salivating at the prospect of going toe-to-toe with the expected Liverpool back-four and should be able to apply heavy pressure throughout.
In the end, I’d expect Real Madrid to make it three Champions League titles in a row – marking their status as a true international soccer dynasty. Though they have similar defensive shortcomings, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane will outperform their adversaries on Liverpool. If you can find an Over 3 goals wager below -140, I’d bet that pretty heavy, but I’d also definitely recommend Real Madrid to emerge victorious after 90 minutes, especially at its current plus-money price.