Champions League 2018: Final Highlights, Real Madrid vs Liverpool TV Info, Schedule and Predictions
Liverpool can stop Real Madrid’s bid for a third successive UEFA Champions League if they make a fast start in the 2018 final at the NSC Olimpiyskiy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday.
The Reds play the kind of high-intensity pressing game under manager Jurgen Klopp that could stretch and unnerve Real early in the game.
However, if Los Blancos weather the predictable initial storm, their experienced match-winners in attacking areas, particularly Cristiano Ronaldo, can torment a suspect Liverpool defence.
Here are the schedule and viewing details for the final:
Date: Saturday, May 26
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST, 2:45 p.m. ET.
TV Info: BT Sport 1, Fox, ESPN Deportes.
Mohamed Salah will Open the Scoring, before Ronaldo hits back
The final features two of the most dynamic forwards in Europe: Ronaldo and Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah.
The Madrid icon is aiming for a historic fifth final win, and the 33-year-old has the scoring pedigree to break Liverpool hearts, per the tournament’s official Twitter account:
He’s as close to a lock to score in the showpiece game as any player. Yet Salah is one of the few who can match Ronaldo’s potency in the final third.
His haul of 43 goals in all competitions this season, including 10 in the Champions League, is an enviable tally most forwards can only dream of.
It was significant Salah opened the scoring during Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the final day of the Premier League season. In the process, he ended a mini drought and regained his scoring touch in time for the biggest game of his career.
Expect Salah to convert early Liverpool dominance into a 1-0 lead, before Ronaldo fires back before half-time.
Liverpool’s Forward Line will Outscore Ronaldo’s Supporting Cast
While Salah hit a minor bump late in the season, Liverpool could still count on goals from elsewhere along their forward line. Winger Sadio Mane and versatile No. 9 Roberto Firmino remained deadly in the final third.
Their pace, movement and ruthless finishing have ensured Liverpool aren’t solely reliant on Salah. The duo’s extra threat has elevated the Reds to a higher level, particularly in Europe’s premier club competition.
Liverpool have helped themselves to 40 goals en route to the final, with Mane a regular source of both goals and assists:
Similarly, Firmino has been equal parts provider and goalscorer:
Real also have plenty of talent around their main man in attack. The difference is that it’s not always clear if Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have the confidence of manager Zinedine Zidane.
In particular, Bale has been in and out of the starting XI amid regular injury woes and concerns about his form. Yet the Welshman has still produced when given chances, something Yahoo Sport UK’s Andrew Gaffney recently pointed out:
Bale finished this season in La Liga by adding another goal, his 18th in all competitions, during Real’s 2-2 draw at Villarreal.
If the Wales international gets a start, Liverpool’s back four will be in trouble. It’s possible, though, Zidane may opt for Lucas Vazquez or Marco Asensio to create a stable, reserved tactical shape to try to contain Liverpool’s relentless high press.
Zidane being cautious could play into the Reds’ hands, if the Premier League side makes the most of a fast start. No team is more deadly with the lead than the one with Mane, Firmino and Salah leading the line.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-2 Liverpool