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Battles all round⚔️

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Liverpool vs Real Madrid. Jurgen Klopp vs Carlo Ancelotti. English vs Spanish. Carabao and FA Cup winners vs La Liga champions. Six titles vs 13 titles. It is all up for grabs in the trilogy battle between two of the most dominant European clubs. Stade de France is set to play host as 22 players battle it out for club football’s ultimate prize.

The match in itself is set to be a grandstand occasion as superstars square up against superstars. There will be an abundance of ‘key battles’ on the pitch to get the upper hand. Can Karim Benzema keep scoring? Will Mo Salah have his revenge? Who wins the duel between two world-class goalkeepers?

The possibilities are limitless. FootTheBall has got you covered with five of the most key battles to watch out for on Saturday.


Will it be Divock Origi time once again?

The man, the myth, the super sub. Divock Origi has built up a cult following at Anfield due to his penchant for impacting matches. He has helped Liverpool win multiple Merseyside Derbies. Origi scored in the improbable La Remontada against Barcelona. Heck, he has even netted in the Champions League final of 2019.

Therefore, it will not be any surprise if he has one last moment of magic left in him before leaving the club. Origi will be up against his Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois in goal and can be a game-changing substitute once again.

Jurgen Klopp is a big fan of the striker and could give him minutes if the game is tight heading into the final minutes. Origi-time is not over with Liverpool…yet.

Battle of the anchors – Casemiro vs Fabinho

Two of the best defensive midfielders over the past many years. Casemiro and Fabinho will have increasingly important roles to play. They are both heavily relied upon to break up attacks and thwart the opposing threat.

Casemiro has a stellar reputation for…being aggressive and taking no-nonsense. He goes hard and often ends up winning the ball while leaving the opponent on the mat.

Meanwhile, Fabinho is more of a refined stopper, who glides in to steal the ball away. Moreover, Fabinho has evolved into a goal threat this season too. Nevertheless, each plays a very important but similar role on their respective sides. Given that Liverpool and Real Madrid have matching formations, whoever wins this battle will help his side massively.

Best in the world Alisson vs. speed devil Vinicius Junior

Alisson has been earning rave reviews ever since his move to Liverpool in 2019. He shared the Golden Glove with Ederson in the 2021-22 season after keeping 20 clean sheets. Moreover, his save percentage (75.3%) and defensive actions outside the box (1.60 per 90) are just staggering.

However, he will face one of the biggest tests of his Liverpool career in Vinicius Jr., his national colleague. Vinicius Jr. has been on a tear this season with 27 goal contributions in La Liga. His forward movement, pace, and trickery have flummoxed the best of teams (just ask Fernandinho).

13.19 progressive carries (99th percentile) and 3.32 dribbles completed (97th percentile) per 90 with 5.31 shot-creating actions speak for themselves. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s advanced role may expose Alisson a bit, and though he is the best goalkeeper in 1v1 situations, Vincius Jr. will be a big challenge.

Big Benz vs Big Dijk

One of the favourites for the Ballon d’Or this season facing up against an immovable defender. Karim Benzema has been the man of the Champions League season with decisive goals at every stage.

His expert finishing, linkup play, and heading power has caused defences all sorts of problems. This time he will be up against Virgil van Dijk, who is an excellent defender. Van Dijk has the ability to win the aerial duels, and is agile enough to intercept attacks.

The main battle will be the physical one, as both are equally capable of using their strength. Benzema will be one of favourites to score and Van Dijk has to be extremely aware of his belongings in this epic duel. Definitely one of they key battles.

Time for Salah to step up?

The revenge set to be exacted soon? Mo Salah went off the field in tears back in 2018. He has publicly spoken of his desire of wanting Real Madrid in the final. Salah will be the most lethal threat for Liverpool as he has been throughout this season. 23 goals and 13 assists to pick up the Golden Boot(shared) and Playmaker of the Season awards.

However, he will be hungry to lead the Reds to glory in the Champions League. Salah will be facing Ferland Mendy, who is also quick but is offensive-minded. If Salah gets by him, David Alaba will have problems.

Alaba was all at sea against Kylian Mbappe and it could be a similar case against Salah. Madrid have to be really wary of allowing him space down the left or giving him shooting opportunities in dangerous areas. These battles will be key.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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