Liverpool vs Real Madrid Live Stream UEFA Champions League Watch OnlineWith more than 90 goals between them in all competitions this season, it is hardly surprising the Champions League final has been billed as a battle between Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
Both are sure to be in the running for the Ballon d’Or at the end of 2018, but it is a man who is unlikely to receive any individual accolades who could hold the key to success in Kiev.
James Milner made headlines in the semi-final against Roma when he took his tally of assists in this season’s competition to eight, equalling the tournament record set by Neymar in 2016-17.
Most assists in a Champions League season
Player Assists Season
For seasons since 2003-04, when Opta started collecting assists data
James Milner 8 2017-18
Neymar 8 2016-17
Ryan Giggs 7 2006-07
Xavi 7 2008-09
Mesut Ozil 7 2010-11
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7 2012-13
Roberto Firmino 7 2017-18
That total is three more than Real Madrid’s entire midfield of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco, Marco Asensio and Casemiro have managed between them.
Milner’s increased productivity in the final third has been the most notable aspect of his Champions League displays – he has gone from an assist every 588 minutes in the Premier League to one every 99 minutes in Europe.
But there has been more to his superb European form than just creating goals. The former England midfielder, already a strong performer domestically, has raised his game in the Champions League in almost every statistical category.
Where Milner ranks among Liverpool players in PL Where Milner ranks among Liverpool players in CL
Assists 8th 1st
Tackles 3rd 1st
Tackles won 3rd 2nd
Touches 6th 2nd
Passes 5th 3rd
Duels won 7th 4th
Interceptions 9th 5th
And, despite Real Madrid’s proud European record, Milner may never have a better chance to create goals for his team-mates in a final, since the reigning champions are anything but secure defensively…
Sergio Ramos – the Real talisman who can hurt Liverpool
Bale has mindset to make a difference – Giggs
Who is more vulnerable at the back – Real or Reds?
The opening months of the season were dominated by talk of Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities, but the arrival of Virgil van Dijk in January and the improvement from goalkeeper Loris Karius have meant it is no longer considered such a glaring weakness.
For Real, however, it is a different story. They sorely missed the presence of captain Sergio Ramos in the second leg of their dramatic quarter-final tie against Juventus, when an injury-time Ronaldo strike meant a 3-1 defeat on the night but a 4-3 aggregate victory.
That porous display was far from a one-off. Real have kept only three clean sheets in 12 Champions League matches and have conceded 15 goals, following on from a total of 17 in 2016-17. No other team since 2004-05 has let in more than 13 in getting to the final, with the average being 8.3.
Liverpool have their own flaws, of course. They have conceded 13 times themselves in the Champions League proper, including six times against Roma in their semi-final tie. But Jurgen Klopp’s side have kept six clean sheets in the competition this season, a tally matched only by Barcelona. And they did only concede 38 times in the Premier League, six fewer than Real’s tally in La Liga.
One concern for the Reds could be if the match remains in the balance in the closing stages. In the first 75 minutes of their past six matches Liverpool have been 12-3 up overall. But in the final 15 minutes it has been a completely different story, conceding a series of late goals that mean they are 6-1 down in the latter stages.
Of course, there is every chance one of these sides might have run away with it by then…
The most attack-minded Champions League final yet?
Has a major final ever promised so much in an attacking sense?
For years fans have marvelled at the BBC – Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo – all of whom could play on Saturday.
But, despite being one of the great forward lines of the Champions League era, they will not even be the most prolific front three on display in Kiev.
Sadio Mane’s strike in the semi-final second leg in Rome made the Senegal forward, Salah and Roberto Firmino the trio to score the most goals in a single Champions League season, surpassing a record set by their Real counterparts four years ago.
Team Goals Trio
Liverpool 2017-18 29 Salah (10), Firmino (10), Mane (9)
Real Madrid 2013-14 28 Ronaldo (17), Bale (6), Benzema (5)
Barcelona 2014-15 27 Messi (10), Neymar (10), Suarez (7)
Barcelona 1999-2000 23 Rivaldo (10), Kluivert (7), Enrique (6)
Man Utd 2001-02 23 Van Nistelrooy (10), Solskjaer (8), Beckham (5)
Indeed, Liverpool are the top scorers in this season’s competition and their tally of 40 goals is the third highest in Champions League history (behind Barcelona’s 45 in 1999-00 and Real’s 41 in 2013-14).
While Real have scored 10 fewer times, they all but guarantee goals. In fact, they have scored in their past 27 Champions League matches and their past 29 Uefa fixtures, last failing to find the net in a European match against Manchester City in 2015-16.
Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup – for the first time since 1981 – in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy.
The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history.
In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final.
Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman’s double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate.
Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez – who is on loan at the German club from Real – set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track.