Liverpool will look to improve Real revenge mission record
Liverpool v Real Madrid is a Champions League final for the ages and one that can hark back to the past – both recent and distant. It will bring back memories of 1981, when clubs faced each other in the same city of Paris (though in a heaving Parc des Princes, not the Stade de France). On that occasion, Liverpool won through Alan Kennedy’s late goal, continuing England’s dominance of the competition.
It was Liverpool’s third European Cup in five years, as English teams won the trophy six straight seasons, and Real goalkeeper Agustin Rodriguez, the man Kennedy beat in the 82nd minute, was so distraught that he threw his runners-up medal in the His. He couldn’t cope with Real’s second place.
Thirty-seven years later, that fierce excitement belonged to Liverpool – from goalkeeper Loris Karius, whose horrible performance moved him to tears, to Mo Salah, who was sent off with a shoulder injury sustained in a tackle against a brutal Sergio Ramos became.
That moment has stayed with Salah, who was out for revenge after helping Liverpool eliminate Villarreal on Tuesday night. “To be honest, I want to play against Real Madrid. Hopefully we can win it from them too,” he said.
The 2018 final had felt like an unexpected bonus for Liverpool, but the 3-1 defeat in it has fueled them ever since. The determination to go one better was capitalized in the video of Jurgen Klopp dancing and singing with Campino, a close friend and frontman of German rock band Die Toten Hosen, at 6am the morning after that game.
“We’ve seen the European Cup,” they sang, somewhat worn out. “Madrid got all the damn luck / We swear we’ll keep our cool / We’re bringing it back to Liverpool.”
Sure enough, they won it the following year to claim their sixth European crown and are now back to crack No. 7. If they do, they will draw level with AC Milan, just ahead of Real (in 13th place).
Favorite this time, however, is Liverpool. Rarely have Real reached a final, let alone a European Cup final, without having that tag, but not even the most ardent madridista would dispute that Liverpool are the better side when chasing an unprecedented quadruple win.
It won’t really matter either. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were expected to face off against Paris St-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, almost being overwhelmed in each of those clashes. Passing these knockout rounds means they are formidable opponents.
For a club hailing from the premier league of the Champions League, Real deserve an unflattering description on the side: they’re the competition’s cockroaches, proving almost impossible to kill while they have Karim Benzema fit. Should Real win the 14th European Cup, there is no question that the 34-year-old forward will also win the Ballon d’Or because whatever cunning and experience the Spanish champions possess, the skill and pace of Vinicius Jnr that Craft of Luka Modric and the Nous of Ancelotti, it’s Benzema who wore them. His match-up with Virgil van Dijk will be a must-see subplot.
Liverpool are a different beast compared to 2018, with significant strength off the bench. Salah is world class – no doubt – and it will be interesting to see how Real should react if they miss Erling Haaland, who is sure to go to City.
Until Salah signs a new deal his future is uncertain – perhaps Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will then do everything in his power to persuade the 29-year-old to adopt his latest marquee name? And if he’s let down, how about Sadio Mane, who also has just one year left on his current contract?
Had City been promoted in Madrid and faced Liverpool, it would have meant Europe’s top two sides going head-to-head. Instead, it will be the two with perhaps the richest and most impressive history in the competition. Real represents the establishment; Liverpool some of its counterculture.
Klopp could have gone to Real. Instead, he set his heart on restoring Anfield.
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/champions-league/liverpool-will-attempt-to-set-the-record-straight-in-real-revenge-mission-41615949.html Liverpool will look to improve Real revenge mission record