The UCL 2018 season has brought many surprises to us. Nobody expected Liverpool F.C to reach this far in this competition. Nobody expected A.S Roma to come back and knock F.C Barcelona out of this tournament. Nobody expected PSG to get knocked out so early in the competition especially after spending over 200 million euros on record signing Neymar. The so-called `favourites` of the game Barcelona and Manchester City did not even reach the semi-finals in the competition. So this UCL season has brought many shocks as well as surprises to the football fans all across the world.
Both teams go a long way in history, both sides are guided by capable managers and have strong players in their arsenal. Don’t fall for the idea that Madrid’s more expensive squad is better. Price doesn’t justify the quality.
Having said that, the teams going head to head have one issue that they’ve both found hard to address and that's the defence. They’re appalling at that. Madrid is a bit more worse off than Liverpool, but only marginally.
On their way to the final, Madrid failed to dominate their opponents: Tottenham gave them a hard time, Juventus nearly eliminated them, and Bayern was drowned in bad luck. Were it not for luck they would have been eliminated long ago. Liverpool, on the other hand, performed better in attack and defence. They were the highest scorers and conceded the least and only lost one game en route to the final. Consistency helps prediction odds.
My prediction is that both teams will score given their offensive stats while also considering their defensive stats. Madrid’s defence will be broken down by Liverpool attacking trio. Madrid, lacking more firepower other than Ronaldo, won't be able to outscore Liverpool and that will be the crucial difference. I favour a Liverpool win.
Madrid’s weak point in defence is Marcelo; Juventus and Bayern made all their remarkable plays from his side. Liverpool's soft spot in defence is Lovren. Both rely on the counterattack to score, and that means they both leave huge gaps between their defensive line and midfield+forward line where opponents merely walk through.
Madrid has the upper hand in midfield with Modric, Kroos, Isco, Casemiro, Asensio, Vasquez and Kovacic.
Liverpool has the better attacking line with Mane, Firmino and Salah, whereas Madrid has only one quality striker that is Ronaldo. Bale and Benzema have let down the team on many occasions.
Then there is the mental aspect of the game that I rarely touch upon because it can’t be quantified. Madrid has the experience and has historical precedence to live up to, but so does Liverpool. Sure they don’t have the experience, but there is a first time for everything. We’ll see which team has the greater grit to follow through.
Some spicy facts to add flavour:
The same two teams have played the European Cup/Champions League final at least eight times, and in five of those precedents, the team won it first and went on to win it again. Liverpool beat Madrid in the 1981 UCL final.
The last time (1981 UCL) a German, Spanish, Italian and English team were in the semi-final…the English team won. Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1–0 in 1981 final. They were also the last team to beat Madrid in a UCL final.
Liverpool has played Madrid 5 times (3W-0D-2L) 6 GF-4 GA
Jurgen Klopp has played 6 Finals: Won 1- Lost 5
Zinedine Zidane has played 7 Finals: Won 7- Lost 0
With a single exception during the 2014–2015 UCL, every time Real Madrid beat a German team in the knockout phase of the UCL, went on to win the UCL: [in every UCL where Madrid also beat an Italian in any stage of the competition and went on to beat a German side, they won the UCL. In 2014–2015 Madrid failed to beat Juve after beating the German side, Shalke]