Liverpool and Real Madrid are set to do battle in Paris on Saturday May 28 in the 2022 Champions League final. As two of Europe’s most heavily decorated clubs, the sides will renew their rivalry from the quarter-finals last season and the final four years ago.

Real are the tournament’s most successful club, having been kings of Europe on 13 occasions, while Liverpool are looking to win their seventh crown. This will be the third final between the teams, with each having won one, and the Spanish side lead the overall head-to-head record by four wins to three, with one draw. The 2022 final promises to be close.

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Champions League 2022: Road to the final

The draw for the knockout phase clearly favoured Liverpool. As they had won all six Group Stage matches for the first time ever, perhaps they had earned their fortune.

Their hardest tie, at least based on the standings of the clubs, was in the Round of 16 when they faced defending Serie A champions Inter Milan. A 2-1 aggregate victory there saw them through to play Benfica. Their 3-1 win in the first leg in Portugal meant that a chaotic 3-3 draw in the return was not a problem for the Reds.

Liverpool’s semi-final unfolded in somewhat similar fashion. The two goal lead they fashioned over Villarreal at Anfield was wiped out by half time of the second leg in Spain. But a tactical switch by Jurgen Klopp produced three goals after the break and saw them safely through to their 10th final in this competition.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side may have won La Liga with four games to spare but their European progress has not been so straightforward this season.

They were 2-0 down on aggregate against Paris Saint-Germain, threw away a 3-1 lead over Chelsea to trail in the quarter-final and needed two goals in stoppage time against Manchester City to avoid missing out in the previous round. The new Spanish champions unquestionably rode their luck, but most teams would have to when facing the reigning title holders from France, Europe and England respectively.

A combination of their force of will and the goals of Karim Benzema saw them overcome each of those hurdles. Few people who saw them lose at home to FC Sheriff in the Group Stage would’ve predicted they’d get this far, yet here Real Madrid are yet again. This is their tournament, and they know how to win it.

Champions League 2022: The stats

Statistics for a cup competition must always be treated carefully, as teams face different standards of opposition along the way. The paths to the final for Liverpool and Real Madrid prove this all too well.

Nonetheless, Klopp’s side have been by far the more dominant of the two teams in 2021/22 if we consider their underlying shot numbers. Liverpool had a total of 120 goal attempts more than their six opponents across their 12 fixtures, where Real have surprisingly had three fewer than theirs. Though the numbers naturally drop, there are sizeable margins between the finalists for shots on target and clear-cut chances too.

It is an obvious comment to make, but the key for Liverpool will be to capitalise on their best moments. Chelsea had seven clear-cut chances against Madrid while Manchester City had eight, but neither side was clinical enough when it mattered and paid the price for their wastefulness.

Real also have the players to exploit the Reds’ very attacking style. Vinicius Junior will be targeting the space left behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and will hope to add to the two goals he scored against Liverpool in their quarter-final tie last season.

Of greater concern to Mohamed Salah will be revenge for the 2018 final, in which he had to be substituted in the first half. Once Real were confirmed as Liverpool’s opponents in Paris, he posted “we have a score to settle” on social media. Salah clearly means business.

But he hasn’t had too much joy against Ancelotti sides and neither has Klopp in recent years. The Liverpool boss has only collected two victories from the last eight clashes – four each with Napoli and Everton – so will be wary of that history when plotting how his side can win the final. Having only scored five goals across those games, the Reds will need to be much sharper here.

Betting selections:

  • Full Time Result: Liverpool – 1.97
  • Both Teams to Score: Yes – 1.60
  • Total Goals – Alternative Lines: Over 3.75 – 3.36
  • Goalscorer 1: Mohamed Salah – TBC

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