10 key things to know ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League final vs. Real Madrid

For the third time in five seasons, Liverpool have a Champions League final to contest and a familiar foe in Real Madrid awaits in Paris as the Reds look for a treble of cups.

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League Final | Stade de France
May 28, 2022 | 8pm (BST)

After 62 thrilling matches, the 63rd and final game of Liverpool’s incredible season is now upon us.

And club football’s greatest prize is up for grabs as two European forces go head to head in the French capital.

Jurgen Klopp can continue to make history with No. 7, and he and his team will not be short of support to make it happen.

Here are 10 things you need to know ahead of kickoff!


1. The two meet again

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shoots during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is the fourth time the two will meet in five seasons, but here’s hoping for a better outcome for Liverpool!

The final in Kyiv, obviously, ended in Real’s favour before the quarter-final tie last season was won 3-1 on aggregate after a less than impressive trip to Spain from Klopp’s men.

There is much more on the line for Liverpool than revenge, but you feel Real have got the wrong end of the stick if Karim Benzema’s recent quotes are anything to go by.

“Maybe they think they already won the game, maybe they think this isn’t the same Real Madrid as before, that they’re favourites, Salah can say whatever he wants,” the forward said.

You think Mohamed Salah has riled them up a bit?


2. The Spanish Champions

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Real Madrid pose for a team photograph as they celebrate their side's victory and progression to the UEFA Champions League Final after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (UEFA)

The Spanish side head into the final off the back of a title-winning season that saw them finish 13 points ahead of Barcelona.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side tied up the title with four games remaining and have used the time to rotate the squad with this game in mind, an advantage they were not shy in welcoming over the Reds.

The danger from Real comes from a number of areas such is the calibre of their team, but it is their comeback powers that have captivated the masses this season.

Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Man City have all experienced a late rally from the Spanish side and they offer a cautionary tale to Liverpool in the final.


3. Who can we expect from Real?

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates their side's victory and progression to the UEFA Champions League Final after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (UEFA)

Their final game, a stalemate against Real Betis, offered a hint at Ancelotti’s starting XI with few, if any, injury issues to concern himself with.

David Alaba is back in the mix and will be straight into the side after an adductor issue, while the bright Eduardo Camavinga is unlikely to oust any of Casemiro, Toni Kroos or Luka Modric.

Up front, Benzema, who has 44 goals this season, will lead the line with Vinicius Jr to accompany him – the question is then who out of Rodrygo and Federico Valverde joins the duo.

Real have readily made notes of Liverpool’s high line in the press leading up to the match and they’ll look for every avenue to take advantage.

Possible Real XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Jr


4. Is Thiago fit?

It’s been the question everyone has asked since he left the field on Sunday looking forlorn.

Klopp had opted for optimism throughout and he’s been rewarded, as the Achilles injury was not as bad as first feared, handing Thiago the chance to prove his fitness before kickoff.

Liverpool confirmed he was part of the travelling squad and Klopp later said he was ‘100 percent available’, soon adding another training session in the bank.

Divock Origi is the only confirmed absentee due to a minor muscle injury, while Fabinho and Joe Gomez are fit and available.

Liverpool’s travelling squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Adrian

Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Konate, Gomez, R. Williams, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas

Midfielders: Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson, Keita, Milner, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott

Forwards: Salah, Mane, Diaz, Jota, Firmino, Origi*, Minamino

* To miss out due to injury.


5. Predicted Reds XI

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 17, 2022: Liverpool's Joel Matip (R) celebrates with team-mate Ibrahima Konaté after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has said that the decision to leave players out of the squad entirely is what crushes him, not the XI itself.

Thankfully, he can name 23 players in his squad for the final but that is still to leave a disappointed player or two.

But as for the XI, the consensus is that it all but picks itself.

If Thiago is fully fit, he will sit next to Fabinho and, you’d expect, Jordan Henderson – with Naby Keita to step in if the Spaniard can only start from the bench.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz feel like the first choice front three.

And that leaves a decision to be made over Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate, the latter of whom has started seven of the 12 CL games this season.

Predicted Reds XI: Alisson, Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Salah, Diaz, Mane.


6. We’ve been to Paris before…

This is the third time these two clubs have met in a European Cup final, and the second they have met in Paris for the occasion.

We have to turn the clocks back 41 years when Bob Paisley was at the helm, Phil Thompson was captain and the calendar read May 27, 1981.

It was the all reds against the all whites that day too, with the former prevailing thanks to left-back Alan Kennedy, paving the way for Thompson to make history!

“That thrill to be the first Scouser to lift the European Cup, it was the best footballing moment of my life,” he told This Is Anfield.

Now, let’s hope it’s Henderson and his team that will live true to the message from the Kop, “We’ll be running around Paris with the Cup.”


7. ‘A game on the highest level’

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp touched on the fact that revenge is not necessarily the order of the day, rather to just put it right from 2018:

“I don’t believe in revenge. I understand it but I don’t think revenge is a fantastic idea. I am not sure it is the right thing to do.

“I understand what Mo said, he wants to put it right, I want to put it right, but in Germany we say you always meet twice in life. So behave better in the first moment because you will meet again. You will get a reception, but don’t talk about the reaction.

“It is all fine between us and Real Madrid. It is a football game on the highest level.

“If [someone] gives us an opportunity to win it this time, I think it would be a great story but it will not happen because of what happened in 2018.

“It will happen because we make the right decisions on the pitch.”


8. Did you know?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates after scoring the decisive goal in the penalty shoot-out during the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We know nerves are in the air and that feeling in the pit of your stomach is starting to make itself known.

For that, let’s try and ease your mind somewhat with the prowess of this truly incredible Liverpool side.

First off, the Reds have won all six European games played away from Anfield this season, scoring 18 and conceding seven.

Of their 12 European games in 2021/22, Liverpool have won 10 with only one draw and one defeat – feeling any better yet?

If not, how about the fact that the Reds have led in 52 of their 62 games this season while they have lost only THREE of their last 71 matches in all competitions. Talk about incredible numbers.


9. Who is the man in the middle?

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Tuesday, September 26, 2017: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson speaks to referee Clément Turpin during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Spartak Moscow and Liverpool at the Otkrytie Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The referee for the final is Clement Turpin, from France, and he is no stranger to this fixture having acted as the fourth official in the 2018 Champions League final between the two clubs.

Turpin has overseen Liverpool on three occasions with two ending in victory and the other a draw, and the most recent game was against RB Leipzig in the last 16 home game played in Budapest.

He was also in charge of Real Madrid’s 3-1 win at Chelsea in this season’s quarter-final back in April.


10. How you can watch!

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 26: The UEFA Champions League Trophy is displayed in front of the scoreboard ahead of the UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 26, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by UEFA)

You can watch Liverpool vs. Real Madrid in the Champions League final on BT Sport 1 in the UK, with coverage starting at 6pm ahead of the 8pm kickoff.

And This Is Anfield will have a worldwide television guide in the hours preceding kickoff.

But if you’re looking for a Liverpool flair, with some nervous and excited commentary then This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog is just the place, with Henry Jackson at the helm from 7.15pm.

Into these, Reds!