Here is the biggest day of the European football calendar, the Champions League final, Liverpool vs Real Madrid. It’s going to be a blockbuster in Paris as two European gamblers face off; Who will be the winner?

Going into the game, one question is whether Jurgen Klopp has been able to lift his team to the final, or whether they are still thinking about the day of the Premier League final, where they thought for sure that they were going to win the title.

A major determining factor is who will want it more and I think it will be real. After winning the La Liga title, Los Blancos will be desperate for a trophy to finish a season full of extraordinary returns.

Liverpool have been accused of making easy runs in the final, which is true, but you must play the game in front of you. So did they have to play Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal when Real faced PSG, Chelsea and pre-season favorites Manchester City?

Real have not been able to dominate any of their Champions League knockout games this season, instead relying on their burning front three when it is most important. It will give them confidence that, on paper, they must be underdogs if you compare teams.

Where it is possible to win the match in the middle, where Real will expect to win the battle. You couldn’t ask for more experience in the form of Casimiro, Tony Cruz and former Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric. They know how to win the Champions League final and they will be key in finding the ball for Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema.

Real Madrid players Vinnie Jr. and Karim Benzema celebrate goals during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final leg one match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on April 06, 2022 in London, England.  (Photo of Antonio Villallaba / Real Madrid via Getty Images)

(Photo of Antonio Villallaba / Real Madrid via Getty Images)

A physical three, midfielders should be able to surpass Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson – especially when Thiago is in doubt for an injury – and can give their team a big helping hand.

In 2018, if any of the Liverpool players are looking for revenge for their final defeat, it will be Mohamed Salah.

Sergio Ramos was injured in that game, he wants to wreak havoc on the left, which I think reveals Ferland Mendy’s weakness. However, and it could be massively counterproductive, I think Salah will stay calm tonight.

He has not been on his own since returning from the African Cup of Nations and being replaced early in the FA Cup final. My prediction is that this will be Sadio Mané’s final, as he still looks great in the Champions League and will score at least one, as he did in 2018, or more.

Selection for the club will be a big question. Will he play Ibrahim Connaught, who has always been in Europe this season, or Joel Matip, who is next to Virgil Van Dyke in the league? The obvious choice, it seems, is French. He needs to be wary of Vinicius’ speed, and the more mobile Konate is more suited to give Real’s top assist so far in the Champions League and thwart Real’s plans to see him run.

Or will Klopp be fearless and choose Matip?

My prediction for the game is 3-2 near Liverpool. This is because they are great at game-management and will be able to handle any late explosions better than any of Real’s opponents from the last 16. For goal scorers, I think Benzema will get two, where I mean, Luis Diaz and Impossible. Hero Kona will score for Liverpool.

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