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Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Carragher on why he loves Salah's revenge admission and how Liverpool won't be 'starstruck' by Real Madrid

6:54 PM EDT 5/24/22
Mohamed Salah Liverpool
The Reds legend says fans should be excited to see a motivated star in the finale

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher says that he likes the fact that Mohamed Salah said that he wanted to meet Real Madrid in the Champions League final and that it should give Reds fans confidence that their star winger will be out for revenge.

After Liverpool booked their spot in the Champions League final, Salah said that he hoped Madrid, not Manchester City, would meet them in Paris, explaining that he wanted to find some redemption after famously being injured by Sergio Ramos when the two sides met in 2018.

Salah's comments drew criticism from Madrid star Fede Valverde, but Carragher, who will be covering the game for CBS Sports, says Salah's honest admission is a breath of fresh air as the Egyptian admitted just how much that 2018 setback hurt him at the time.

What did Carragher say about Salah?

"I think it will be a big motivation for him," Carragher said. "I think he was very aggrieved because that was his moment in some ways. He really burst onto the scene, he had been a revelation and the whole world had sat up and taken notice with him scoring I think 44 goals that season.

"The whole campaign for Liverpool was built around this guy winning the Champions League for them and he got Ramos'd, shall we say. Sergio Ramos used his experience, dark arts, whatever you want to call it, in that game and I think that was a huge blow for him really.

"Players and managers never like to talk about revenge. They don't like to use that word in the press to build up or maybe in some ways motivate the opposition but, really, we all think it! It's something that you just don't say, so I actually admired Mo Salah for actually just being honest to say 'Yeah, I'd rather play Real Madrid and not Man City because Man City are a better team and also because I've got unfinished business'.

"I liked the fact that he was honest about it and it also makes me realize that he is going to be so determined to win this game and that makes me feel good as a Liverpool supporter.

"Sometimes, you want to play well, do too much really, so I hope it doesn't manifest itself in terms of Mo taking stupid shots from silly angles when he should be playing people in. He does do that from time to time, but I think he's gonna have a huge role to play in the game.

"He hasn't been as best in the second half of the season. I think he's aware of that. I think you've seen signs of frustration from him at different times. But no, I think he'll feel like this is this is redemption."

Lessons learned from 2018

Salah isn't the only Liverpool player that will have bad memories of that 2018 final, even if the club returned a year later to beat Tottenham and reclaim the Champions League crown.

A total of eight Liverpool starters from that match in Kyiv remain key parts of the current team, but Carragher says that the current group is much different than the one that lost to Real Madrid four years ago.

"Even though there's a lot of Liverpool players that played in that final, I think Liverpool are in a completely different place mentally," Carragher said. "Now, I think they feel like they belong in the Champions League final. I think that's final four years ago, they deserved to be there but it was a case of pulling up against the very famous Real Madrid and Ronaldo, who had won two, three four European cups at that stage.

"I think this is a different Real Madrid even if there are a lot of familiar players in the midfield that were the same on that night.

"I think going into this game, Liverpool will not be starstruck or feel like they're in awe of Real Madrid. I think they'll be very confident and it is different. Liverpool are better and Real Madrid are not as good as that team.

"As we've seen at times this season within the Champions League, Real Madrid have lost more games or as many games in the Champions League as Liverpool have all season, which shows how strong Liverpool have become since that final four years ago. I think Liverpool have lost three games in 62 this season, which is a phenomenal record.

"I think they'll go into the final in a completely different place mentally than they did four years ago."

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