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Real Madrid v Liverpool

Friday pressure briefing: Liverpool and Real Madrid set for epic Champions League showdown

8:01 PM GMT+8 25/05/2018
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
The Spanish club stand on the verge of a remarkable hat-trick, but standing in their way is a club with a great European pedigree of their own

Two European football superpowers go head-to-head for the continent’s biggest crown on Saturday.

It’s Real Madrid versus Liverpool, Salah versus Cristiano Ronaldo, Klopp versus Zidane; it’s a blockbuster for the ages.

Real are in the hunt for what would be a remarkable third consecutive title and have had arguably the toughest route to the final, having had to dispatch the champions of France, Italy and Germany to make the showpiece event in Kiev.

Liverpool’s quarter-final against Manchester City and semi-final versus Roma were two of the most exciting games in this season’s campaign, with their 7-6 aggregate win over the Serie A side the highest scoring Champions League semi of all-time. 

Madrid and Liverpool haven’t met since the 2014 group stage, when Madrid triumphed home and away against Brendan Rodgers' Reds. 

But, under Jurgen Klopp, the Anfield outfit are now a very different side. 

They reach the final having scored more goals than any other team in the tournament this term, netting 40 times in just 12 games, with only Barcelona (45 in 1999-00) and Madrid (41 in 2013-14) ever having scored more in a single UCL campaign.

Zinedine Zidane’s side are the holders once more and are the first team since Juventus (1996-1998) to reach three consecutive European Cup/Champions League finals. Moreover, they could become the first team to win the continent’s leading club competition three years in a row since Bayern Munich (1974-1976).

The omens are good for the Spanish club, too, as they’ve won each of their last six finals - their last defeat, however, came against Liverpool in 1981.  

But Spanish sides have now won their last six major European finals against English sides, the most recent seeing Sevilla beat Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the English club, because Liverpool were in fact the last English side to beat a Spanish team in a final - triumphing 5-4 over Alaves in the 2001 UEFA Cup.

It’s going to be an exciting occasion for all those wearing red on Saturday, as no player to have played for Liverpool this season has ever previously appeared in a Champions League final. 

The stakes are high. The pressure is on.

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