Liverpool versus Real Madrid. Klopp versus Ancelotti. The Reds up against Los Blancos. May 28th will see two of Europe’s heavyweights grace the pitch in the Stade de France in a repeat of the 2018 Champions League Final, as both sides aim to reach the summit of European football once more.
After two weeks of Champions League semi-final drama, the final four has narrowed itself to two. Two of the competition’s most successful outfits. Liverpool and Real Madrid have overcome their obstacles to book their place in Paris at the end of May.
How the two sides reached the final
Liverpool defeated Europa League Champions Villareal in the semi-final, emphatic in the end, but the Reds weren’t plain sailing all the way through. Klopp’s men didn’t have to get out of second gear at Anfield in the first leg as they took a two-goal deficit to Spain. But the Reds became shook in the cauldron of the Yellow Submarine the following week. Unai Emery stuck to his word and made Liverpool suffer as their lead was cancelled out before half time.
A clear message to play ‘The Liverpool way’ from Jurgen Klopp and the introduction of Luis Diaz helped the six times Champions League winners net three past the Spanish outfit to make it three Champions League finals in five years under Klopp.
Liverpool will now have played in every game on offer to them this season. A stat that justifies exactly why The Reds have their eyes on an infamous quadruple.
As for Real Madrid, the thirteen-time winners of the competition endured a mouth-watering two-legged tie with Liverpool’s rivals Manchester City that required extra time to determine who was to walk out alongside the Reds in Paris on May 28th.
Manchester City looked home and hosed as the second leg drew to a close following a Riyad Mahrez strike that added to City’s 4-3 victory in the first leg. But if any side knows how to find a way to win in this competition, it’s Real Madrid. Brazilian winger Rodrygo had other ideas as his late double sent the game to extra time, much to the shock of Pep Guardiola. Karim Benzema put a final dagger through the hearts of Manchester City as his penalty extends the English Champions’ wait for European triumph for at least another year.
A 2018 Champions League repeat
It's a matchup that we are used to seeing in this competition, most memorably in 2018 as the two sides met in Kyiv to battle it out to become the Kings of Europe. Real Madrid came out on top as they defeated Liverpool 3-1 on the night. A Gareth Bale double and a Karim Benzema goal was enough to earn Los Blancos’ thirteenth Champions League trophy.
The game was overshadowed by two mistakes from Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius and the injury of Mohammed Salah as the Egyptian was brought to the ground by Sergio Ramos in the early stages of the tie.
It was a match that won’t sit fondly in the memory of anyone associated with Liverpool, but it certainly was a huge moment in Jurgen Klopp’s reign, that has built a relentless and ruthless Liverpool side.
The Reds will be out to seek revenge on Madrid to compensate the pain they felt after the full-time whistle in the Ukrainian capital. Following the confirmation of Real Madrid’s place in the final, Mohammed Salah has already symbolised that this is Liverpool’s aim, as he sends out a message on social media saying: ‘We have a score to settle’.
After another Champions League campaign full of drama, May 28th is set to produce another European Classic. There is nineteen Champions Leagues between these two monsters but who will take home the twentieth? Merseyside or Madrid? You don’t want to miss this one.