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Liverpool vs. Real Madrid: Who will win the Champions League final?

:Headline: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid: Who will win the Champions League final?:
The Sports Mole team discuss who they believe will win Saturday's Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris.
Sports Mole

Two giants of world football face off in Paris on Saturday as Liverpool take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the Stade de France.

The Reds are gunning for their third trophy of the season, having already picked up the EFL Cup and FA Cup, while Real Madrid are looking to make it a La Liga and Champions League double.

Success for Liverpool would hand them their seventh European Cup - a roll of honours which already includes victory over Real Madrid in Paris in 1981 - whereas Champions League specialists Madrid are bidding for title number 14.

Here, the Sports Mole team discuss whether Jurgen Klopp's men or Carlo Ancelotti's side will come out on top in European football's biggest game.

Barney Corkhill, Editor

VERDICT: Liverpool

Liverpool have to come into this match as favourites following an incredible campaign that has seen them already win two finals and play in every available match, losing just three of those across all competitions.

However, the Reds will be wary of the remarkable powers of recovery Real Madrid have already shown in this season's Champions League to make it to Paris.

Los Blancos were second-best against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, yet somehow managed to dispatch of each of them in dramatic circumstances - proof that, even if they are trailing late in the game, Madrid can never be counted out.

Karim Benzema in particular has the capacity to be a match-winner for Madrid, although Liverpool have no shortage of those themselves and may even take confidence from Manchester City's performances in both legs of the semi-final, with the exception of their stoppage-time collapse.

Both teams are packed with quality and it would not be a surprise to see either lift the trophy, but I have to side with Jurgen Klopp's men in Paris.

Ben Knapton, Senior Reporter

VERDICT: Liverpool

Talk about a tough game to call. Keeping the likes of Benzema, Vinicius Junior, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane at bay over the course of 90 or 120 minutes is nigh on impossible, and the Reds attackers in particular should feel confident about bagging a couple of strikes against a shaky Blancos backline.

However, Benzema only needs one half-chance to restore parity for Real, and Liverpool's risky defensive strategy will always leave them vulnerable to the pace and trickery of Ancelotti's two Brazilian starboys.

Having Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho fit to start the game would be a mammoth boost for Klopp, whose side may be taken all the way to spot kicks again, and we believe that Liverpool's recent experience from 12 yards will help them get their hands on Europe's biggest prize for the seventh time and end the Real fairytale.

Oliver Thomas, Reporter

VERDICT: Liverpool

As Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Thiago all look set to return from injury, Liverpool will head into Saturday's final as the favourites, but success in not guaranteed against a Real Madrid side who simply adore competing in the Champions League.

Los Blancos have already taken impressive scalps in the knockout rounds, beating holders Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City to get to the final, and they will be confident of securing another win against the team they beat in the showpiece event five years ago.

However, the Liverpool juggernaut stands in their way. Jurgen Klopp's side may have narrowly missed out on Premier League success, but with two trophies already in the bag, they will be motivated by the prospect of claiming a famous treble and ending this memorable season on a high.

I expect goals from both sides in the final, with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior set to cause problems to Liverpool's high line, while the likes of Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota can all hurt Los Blancos on their day. However, the Reds seem to have more quality throughout their team and should do enough to edge past Real in normal time.

Ben Sully, Reporter

VERDICT: Real Madrid

Despite Liverpool enjoying a monumental season that could still end in a treble, it is impossible to see past Real Madrid.

Like Chelsea in 2012, when they progressed to the final despite playing at the Camp Nou with 10 men before requiring a dramatic late equaliser to send the final with Bayern Munich to extra time and penalties, a team's name just seems to be on the cup.

To say Real Madrid's journey to the final has been a rollercoaster ride would be something of an understatement. Not only have they spent a large proportion of the knockout stages up against the ropes, at times they have been laying flat on the canvas.

However, they have fought and clawed their way through to the final despite trailing 2-0 to PSG on aggregate, giving up a 3-1 first leg lead against Chelsea before regaining control and perhaps the best was saved to last when they entered the 90th minute of the second leg tie against Manchester City trailing 5-3 on aggregate.

Once again they rose at the count of eight, chomped down on their gumshield before delivering their own knockout blow.

They may trail once again on Saturday and another comeback could be required, but when the medals are handed out, I cannot see past the team in white being the side that receives them.

Joel Lefevre, Reporter

VERDICT: Liverpool

I see Liverpool coming out on top in the Champions League final over Real Madrid. This knockout stage campaign for the La Liga champions has truly been magical however The Reds should have an answer for everything that Madrid have to offer.

There is a big match-winner for Real in Karim Benzema and just like in all of their knockout stage matches they do not have as much depth as the FA Cup champions and they found a way to get it done, despite being outplayed in most of those games.

That factor along makes me second-guess choosing Liverpool, however there are some things that make me lean towards The Reds. Liverpool have a long history of Champions League glory, they know how to put teams away and like Real Madrid they have been here before and won.

That experience should make them quite comfortable throughout the entire match and is something that Man City and PSG had not experienced in this competition.


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