Real Madrid v Liverpool: Sergio Ramos – the Real talisman who can hurt Liverpool
Liverpool FC and Real Madrid come to a head in the Champions League final on Saturday 26 May as the club season draws to a close.
Madrid are gunning for their third consecutive European crown – and their 13th overall – while Liverpool are in their first final since 2007, and looking to add a sixth title after last winning it in the memorable 2005 final.
Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be fit as he and Mohamed Salah go head-to-head in a battle of two of Europe’s hottest strikers.
What time is it?
The game will kick off in Kiev at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium at 7.45pm BST on Saturday 26 May.
Where can I watch it?
The final will be shown live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm BST and also available to watch for free on YouTube. Alternatively, you can follow The Independent’s live coverage above.
Liverpool will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez for the final, with both men also ruled out of the 2018 World Cup as a result of their respective knee and ankle injuries. Joel Matip will also miss the final with a thigh injury. The Reds have concerns over James Milner and Emre Can as well, although both are expected to make the final having trained on Monday.
Real Madrid are expected to have a fully fit squad to choose from with Zinedine Zidane revealing Ronaldo would be “120 per cent fit” for the final in Kiev. Isco and Dani Carvajal had also been struggling but both men are expected to feature on Saturday.
Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vasquez, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Salah vs Ramos/Marcelo: When playing at Roma against Real Madrid, Mohamed Salah consistently found and exploited acres of space between the marauding full-back Marcelo and Sergio Ramos. He failed to make those chances count then, but having discovered his goalscoring touch this season, it could be the area where Liverpool win the match.
Liverpool’s route to the Champions League final
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Liverpool’s route to the final
Qualifying play-off: Liverpool 6-3 Hoffenheim (aggregate)
Group stage: Finished top of Group E with three wins and three draws and scoring 23 goals in the process.
Round of 16: Liverpool 5-0 Porto (aggregate)
Quarter-finals: Liverpool 5-1 Manchester City (aggregate)
Semi-finals: Liverpool 7-6 Roma (aggregate)
Real Madrid’s route to the final
Group stage: Finished second in Group H behind Tottenham Hotspur having won four, drawn one and lost one, scoring 17 goals in the process.
Round of 16: Real Madrid 5-2 Paris Saint-Germain (aggregate)
Quarter-finals: Real Madrid 4-3 Juventus (aggregate)
Semi-finals: Real Madrid 4-3 Bayern Munich (aggregate)
What Jurgen Klopp has said
Key Liverpool duo return to training ahead of Champions League final
Klopp relieved Liverpool only have to face Zidane in the dug-out
Klopp unfazed by Real Madrid’s status as favourites ahead of final
“It’s not easy, but it’s possible. And it’s cool playing against Real Madrid. They’re the defending champions, and they’ve won back-to-back titles in this competition. They’ve done really well under Zinedine Zidane. He’s one of the top 10, top five players of all time. And now he’s the coach of Real Madrid, a hugely experienced team on the pitch. That’ll be a nice challenge.
“He’s an extraordinary character in the football world. I appreciate him. I admired him as a player and respect him as a colleague. It’s incredible what he’s been doing with [Real] Madrid. It’s really, really extraordinary.
“That’s why I’m obviously looking forward to it. But we’re not going there to grab some jerseys. I’m not going there to shake his hand, which of course will happen anyway. However, he’s a great footballing legend.”
What Zinedine Zidane has said
“I haven’t got my starting XI for the Champions League final in my head, but we’re ready. Also, we haven’t picked up any injuries which was important. We’re ready for the Kiev final, which is the most special game of the season.
“We have the biggest game to come and we’re going to enjoy that. La Liga is now over. We have the Champions League to play and we’re thrilled to be in the final. It shouldn’t be a case of choosing. We want to win everything we can, but this year it wasn’t possible to win La Liga and we are going all out for Champions League glory.”
Both Real Madrid and Liverpool have been given an allocation of 16,626 each, with the Olimpiyskiy Stadium having a capacity of 70,000 seats.
Real Madrid: 8/11