Champions League Final: Matip and Keita benched as Mane and Salah lead Liverpool’s attack

Mane Salah LiverpoolGetty

Liverpool have named their starting XI for Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, with Joel Matip and Naby Keita named as substitutes.

However, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Senegal’s Sadio Mane will lead the Reds’ chase for goals against the Spanish champions.

In a 4-3-3 formation, the duo with lead Liverpool’s attack alongside Luis Diaz, while Diogo Jota and Brazil's Roberto Firmino will start from the bench.

Captain Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and Thiago Alcantara will anchor the three-man midfield with Mali prospect Ibrahima Konate providing cover for goalkeeper Allison Becker alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk, and Andy Robertson.

For the Spanish elite division team, manager Carlo Ancelotti has named a solid starting XI that boasts Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, and Federico Valverde upfront.

The Anfield giants are eyeing revenge having lost the final in 2017-18 to Madrid in Kyiv – with Salah subbed off early having been injured by Sergio Ramos.

When Jurgen Klopp was asked by the media if he would be using the intensity of Salah’s desire to put things right, the German tactician said: “Nobody has to worry about Mo and that he takes it too much. It’s completely normal.

“For him, it was a very special situation [in 2018]. We all lost that day but he got injured early in the game; he is now in a very good shape, he was then in a very good shape so it feels for him different.

“You ask him, that’s a normal feeling. We all get motivated by different things. I have here 26, 27 players and they all get motivated by different things.

“That’s completely fine and I have no problem with that. The only thing is if that’s the only motivation, but that’s not the case in Mo’s case that it’s the only motivation he has.

“But it’s normal that he wants to put things right. We want to put things right. We didn’t forget what happened that time, it’s just a while ago and we cannot come here and tomorrow I show the movie about that game and it’s enough motivation for the game, that makes no sense.

“We have so many reasons that we give our absolute everything tomorrow night and this might be one reason but not the reason.”

Liverpool’s last triumph in the competition was in the 2018-19 campaign when they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

Victory for the Anfield side would see them win their third piece of silverware in the 2021-22 campaign.