Graeme Le Saux: Liverpool to win thrilling Champions League Final
Freedom, aggression and desire - those are the qualities that Betfair Ambassador Graeme Le Saux expects from Liverpool against Real Madrid in the Champions League Final. And that's why our man is backing the Reds to win a thrilling contest...
"My advice to Liverpool is to keep calm, play with professionalism, don't panic if you're behind and don't lose your heads if you're a couple of goals ahead... Over all, I'm really confident that Liverpool will lift the trophy in Kiev."
I don't think I've looked forward to a Champions League Final as much as I have this one for a very long time. It will be a thrilling match. I can't see Liverpool doing anything other than what they've done all season, having played with such freedom going forward, aggression and desire. It will leave them vulnerable at the back of course, but Real Madrid play in a similar way.
It could simply be a case of which star player does the damage on the night. Will Mo Salah be able to maintain that ice-cold calmness in front of goal and will Cristiano Ronaldo get the opportunity to create more magic and make history by becoming the first player to score in back to back finals? Obviously, Ronaldo has performed on the biggest stage for years. Salah has been incredible this season, but this is his first Champions League final, so experience could definitely come into it.
Van Dijk and Milner are key for Liverpool
Understandably, a lot of focus has been on Ronaldo and Salah. With both teams vulnerable defensively, though, maybe the keepers will be the stars of the night. If one of them plays a blinder then it could be their team's night.
For both teams, shutting down each other's playmakers is vital. Will Virgil van Dijk be able to manage the defensive unit for Liverpool? Will he and Dejan Lovren be able to deal with the movement of players like Karim Benzema, Isco and Marco Asensio? They cannot allow Luka Modric the space to control the game. On a more attacking note, will James Milner continue his great run of assists? He has the most assists in any Champions League season with eight in this campaign, alongside superstar Neymar.
Liverpool players should keep calm and carry on winning
The potential storylines are endless but one thing I do hope the match doesn't turn into a melodrama. I hope everyone on the pitch, including the ref, keeps some emotional discipline. Liverpool players must not get sucked into any of the melodramatic tactics that players like Marcelo use to manipulate situations.
My advice to Liverpool would be to keep calm, play with professionalism, don't panic if you're behind and don't lose your heads if you're a couple of goals ahead. Sometimes, when Liverpool have a lead they find it hard to play a match out and almost panic.
Over all, I'm really confident that Liverpool will lift the trophy in Kiev. The only thing that gives Real Madrid the edge is the experience of being serial Champions League winners. But maybe that won't be an issue on Saturday night.
Back Liverpool to win 3-2 @ [25.0]