Liverpool take on Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League showdown and the Soccer Saturday pundits are back with their predictions.
Jurgen Klopp’s men head to Kiev as outsiders as they attempt to prevent Real Madrid from claiming a fourth title in five years but the Reds possess a formidable forward line spearheaded by Mo Salah and are the competition’s top scorers this season.
Here’s what Thommo, Charlie, Le Tiss and Merse have plumped for in their Sky Bet RequestABets…
First off, in high-profile games – and it doesn’t come any more high profile than this – we seem to turn up big-time.
I class Real Madrid as a similar side to Manchester City in terms of not knowing how to park the bus, so it will be an open game, and I would like to think we can take advantage of that.
You can suggest that both sides’ defences aren’t the best, but I think ours is a little better now, especially in the full-back areas. I know that they have the big names, but I think ours are more capable defensively.
Sergio Ramos has had his critics and, while he is a warrior and a winner, he is also slow and only getting slower, which is why he gets so many yellow and red cards and plays into the hands of our pacy forward line.
Thommo predicts: Liverpool win, Salah, Mane, Firmino and Bale all to score (80/1 with Sky Bet)
I don’t think the experience will count against Liverpool massively. I can see them sitting in initially, feeling their way into the game.
I can see the energy and drive of James Milner and Jordan Henderson really stifling Real Madrid’s midfield, just like Bayern, although they failed to take their chances.
If Lucas Vazquez does have to fill in at right-back again, like he did in Dani Carvajal’s absence against Bayern, then he’ll be all over the park again and Real will be very exposed.
Charlie predicts: Liverpool to win, Mane to score first, Ramos to be booked, 5+ corners each (100/1 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is confident he can handle the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo Matt Le Tissier
Liverpool’s front three can cause Real Madrid plenty of problems. As good as Marcelo is going forward, he’s not great on the back foot, and I think Liverpool can exploit that.
The way that Trent Alexander-Arnold dealt with Leroy Sane, who is one of the best wingers in the world, when they beat Manchester City was fantastic, while Andy Robertson has been very impressive and will cause problems going the other way with his energy.
It would be a fitting end to the season for Salah, Mane and Firmino to get on the scoresheet, and it would be great to see an English team win it.
Le Tiss predicts: Liverpool to win, both team to score, Firmino, Salah and Mane all to score (28/1 with Sky Bet)
Both teams will open up and Liverpool must think if they have a go they will score goals.
However, I just think Real Madrid turn up on the big occasions. We were talking about them last season when they were playing badly and just turned up in the final against Juventus and won 4-1.
Ryan Giggs insists Gareth Bale is capable of deciding the Champions League final
I think it will be a really open game and I’d be surprised if Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t both on the scoresheet, but I’m going for Karim Benzema to open the scoring in a narrow Real Madrid win.
Merse predicts: Real Madrid to win 3-2 and Benzema to score first (80/1 with Sky Bet)