May 23, 2018
May 23, 2018

Champions League final preview: Real Madrid vs Liverpool

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool odds

Inform your Real Madrid vs. Liverpool prediction

Analysing the Real Madrid vs. Liverpool stats

Who will win the Champions League final?

Champions League final preview: Real Madrid vs Liverpool

Real Madrid play Liverpool in Saturday's UEFA Champions League final. Looking for value in the Real Madrid vs. Liverpool odds? Read on to inform your Real Madrid vs. Liverpool prediction.

A close look at the Real Madrid vs. Liverpool odds

The moneyline odds imply Real Madrid are likely to lift the trophy. The favourites are available at 1.671* to win the competition.

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Time: Saturday May 26, 19:45 CET kickoff                             

Venue: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium (neutral)

Team news and predicted lineups

Real Madrid predicted lineup: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal have recovered from injuries to take their places in the starting lineup. Zinedine Zidane can select the same eleven that started last seasons’ final. Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio offer alternative options to Isco in attack whilst the French coach may also opt to field Ronaldo as a central striker.

Liverpool predicted lineup: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijinaldum, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are out of the final. Emre Can could return to the squad after a long injury layoff.

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool stats: What you need to know

  • Real Madrid are appearing in their third consecutive Champions League final
  • No member of Liverpool’s squad has played in the Champions League final
  • This match will feature the four top scorers in this season’s competition
  • Liverpool are the highest scoring team in a single Champions League season with 46 goals so far this campaign
  • Over 3.5 goals have been scored in eight of Liverpool’s 19 Champions League matches this season
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has averaged a goal every 72 minutes in this season’s Champions League

Inform your Real Madrid vs. Liverpool prediction

The European soccer season concludes in Kyiv when Real Madrid take on Liverpool in the Champions League final. Reigning champions Real possess quite the European pedigree. They will attempt to win their third consecutive European title with a victory at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.

The Spaniards can field an unchanged side from last season’s victory over Juventus and certainly edge Liverpool out when it comes to experience on the big stage. No player in Liverpool’s squad has experienced a Champions League final and this is the club’s first campaign in Europe’s elite competition since the 2014/15 season.

Promisingly for neutrals neither side has reached this final on the basis of their defensive strength. Liverpool have already scored more goals in a single Champions League campaign than any other side. Their semi-final tie against Roma featured 13 goals over the two legs. Real Madrid have also been productive in attack with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 15 goals on the way to the final.

Both teams conceded more goals in the knockout stages than Champions League finalists would usually be expected to and they are unlikely to play more conservatively in the final.

Despite holding a first-leg lead over Bayern in the semifinal, Zinedine Zidane opted to drop the squad’s only dedicated defensive midfield player, Casemiro. When many managers would have been satisfied with holding their lead the French coach set his team up to outscore their opponents. He is unlikely to deploy more defensive tactics in this match.

Like Bayern, Liverpool present a different proposition to that offered by Juventus in last season’s final. The reds are unlikely to rely on their defence to keep Madrid out and will instead attack a Real backline that has looked fragile at times in this competition. Salah, Mane and Firmino have combined for more goals than any other attacking trio in Europe and it is likely Liverpool will get on the scoresheet in Kyiv.

The opening exchanges in the match could prove to be pivotal. Liverpool have scored an early goal in the first leg of every knockout round so far.

Key battle: Can Liverpool contain Real Madrid’s left-side?

Real Madrid could lineup in either a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 formation but both systems lack a true left-winger. Cristiano Ronaldo drifts into a centre-forward position even when nominally stationed on the wing whilst the both Isco and Asensio are tasked with creating overloads in central positions rather than stretching the play.

Liverpool’s young right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has a World Cup with England to look forward to after this final but he will have a difficult task to negotiate in Kyiv first. The 19-year-old will need to be alert to help deal with the threat of all-time Champions League top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

Regardless of his position on the team sheet, the Portuguese forward will drift into the channel between Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren. The youngster will need to be aware of the attacker’s position, especially given the Croatian is prone to the occasional costly error.

Ronaldo is superb at finding shooting opportunities in high-value locations. He has taken an impressive 4.7 shots from inside the penalty area per game in the Champions League this season so he will need to be closely marked, and preferably double-marked, at all times.

Adding to the task facing Alexander-Arnold is the threat provided by the overlapping Marcelo. The left-back is a key component in Real’s buildup play and will not hesitate to exploit any open space on the wing.

Key to the matchup in this vital area of the pitch is Liverpool’s PFA Player of the Year Mohamed Salah. Salah is a huge threat in attack but is not as strong defensively. The Egyptian forward failed to register a tackle or interception over the two legs against Roma with Alexander-Arnold often left outnumbered.

This battle demonstrates why the game is likely to be so open. Instead of defending Marcelo, Salah may instead attempt to exploit the space left behind when the Brazilian pushes forward. If Salah is particularly threatening then Marcelo will need to decide whether to risk leaving the dangerous attacker with the opportunity to take the game away from Real or curb his own attacking instincts.

AS Roma’s Aleksandar Kolarov chose the former with some success in the semi-final second-leg but that is a dangerous choice against a player with the quality of Salah. If Alexander-Arnold can stand up to the challenge posed by the left-side of Real then Salah will be free to torment the Real defence as he did in the first-leg victory over the Italians.

Both teams are likely to be threatening down this side of the pitch and the battle between Salah and Marcelo demonstrates why this game is likely to feature goals.

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool: Where is the value?

With the attacking talent available to both managers this is likely to be a high-scoring final. Over 3.5 goals to be scored in the game is available at 2.250* which could provide value considering the tactics favoured by both teams.

Liverpool’s success in this competition has been fueled by early goals. They will be looking for a fast start in the final but could also leave themselves open in the process. Over 1.25 goals to be scored in the first half can be backed at 1.943* and would have been a winner in four of Liverpool’s six Champions League knockout matches.

To make the most of our best value odds make sure to read more of Pinnacle’s expert betting advice. 

Odds subject to change

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