How Liverpool and Real Madrid have evolved in meetings since 2018

Liverpool and Real Madrid meet for the fifth time in five years, but how much have the two teams changed and evolved with each showdown?

Jurgen Klopp has not been able to enjoy his meetings with Real Madrid, losing three and drawing one of their encounters dating back to 2018.

Each club has undergone changes from one meeting to the next, whether it be Real changing managers or both teams adding new faces to their XIs.

With the next tie on the horizon, let’s take a look at how both Liverpool and Real Madrid’s XI have evolved in each of their meetings since 2018.


Liverpool – 2018 to 2023

2018 Final: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Mane, Firmino

2021 QF first leg: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Jota

2021 QF second leg: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino

2022 Final: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Diaz, Mane

Likely 2023 XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez

Of the starting XI who faced Real Madrid in the final in 2018, seven remain at the club and at least five are expected to start in the last 16 first leg five years later.

Klopp has used 21 different players in this fixture and from the first final in 2018 to the last in 2022, the average age of his starting eleven shifted from 26.47 years to 28.4.

And had injuries not struck, the Liverpool boss could have been making just one change from last year’s final for the Anfield tie, with Sadio Mane the only player no longer at the club.

The most changes Klopp has made from one meeting to the next is six (2018 to 2021), although his hand was forced by a number of crippling injuries, primarily in defence.


Real Madrid – 2018 to 2023

2018 Final: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo

2021 QF first leg: Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Vinicius Jr, Benzema

2021 QF second leg: Courtois; Valverde, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Vinicius Jr, Benzema

2022 Final: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Valverde, Vinicius Jr, Benzema

Likely 2023 XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Camavinga, Modric, Ceballos; Valverde, Vinicius Jr, Benzema

Of their 2018 Champions League-winning XI, only four remain at Real Madrid and three will be expected to start at Anfield – Toni Kroos would have made it four from four if not for illness.

In total, the Spanish side have used 24 different players against the Reds, three more than Liverpool, under two different managers, Zinedine Zidane and Carlo Ancelotti.

From the 2018 to 2022 final, the average age of their XI underwent an insignificant shift from 29.3 years to 29.2 – older than the Reds on both occasions.

The midfield trio of Casemiro, Kroos and Luka Modric have played in the last four clashes, but only Modric will feature at Anfield with Casemiro now at Man United and Kroos ruled out.

Vinicius Jr and Benzema are also mainstays, with Real’s XIs against Liverpool only undergoing minor tweaks since 2021.