Liverpool v Real Madrid: Reds to reign over Real in Paris

Paul Higham thinks Liverpool have just enough to get over the line against Real Madrid and lift their seventh European Cup in Paris.

Revenge for Reds would deliver special treble

It's one final game in a long and arduous but incredible season for Liverpool as they look to bring the curtain down on their historic campaign by landing a seventh European Cup/Champions League success.

Jurgen Klopp is building a dynasty at Anfield, as the only side capable of pushing Man City domestically while showing Pep Guardiola how it's done in Europe as the Reds appear in a third Champions League final in five years.

Like their 2018 defeat they're facing Real Madrid, and like their 2019 success they go into the game having lost out on the Premier League on the final day.

Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah should be at full speed after slight injuries but the big worries are over Fabinho and Thiago, who even if they play may not be 100 percent.

They've largely played it down, but Salah is desperate for revenge after Sergio Ramos put him out of that 2018 final - which was ultimately won by Gareth Bale's worldie and two shocking errors from Loris Karius.

Real Madrid can extend trophy record

It's billed as a final between European royalty, and while Liverpool could tie AC Milan with seven victories, another Real Madrid win would put them on 14 - and twice as many as the Italians in second.

Real got a head start by winning the first five European Cups in the 1950s, then boosted their tally with four in five years during the Cristiano Ronaldo years, although Bale and Sergio Ramos had more say in their victories in the finals.

Carlo Ancelotti is the master in this tournament, appearing here in his fifth final after winning three of his previous four (and going 1-1 with Liverpool while at AC Milan) and with five players with over 100 Champions League games in the bank there's a wealth of experience on the field too.

There's no Ronaldo like last time, but Karim Benzema has flourished after emerging from his shadow, while Luka Modric and Toni Kroos continue to pull strings in midfield and Vinicius Junior provides a huge threat out wide.

After walking La Liga and being able to rest over the last couple of weeks, this Madrid side are a huge threat and know how to win these finals more than any other club.

Reds favourites as European royalty collide

Liverpool are big favourites with the bookies at 2.0 so purely on the odds Real Madrid look huge value as the 3.6 outsiders. This is a team that has just walked the Spanish league after all and has won their last seven Champions League finals.

Their last defeat was in Paris, and against Liverpool, but that being back in 1981 it's more of an omen than a form line - and the Spanish giants have won four of the last five meetings (D1).

While they were lucky in Kiev in terms of their goals, Real were the better side, and they eased to victory against the Reds over two legs just over a year ago - but Liverpool are a much stronger side now.

You also have to wonder just how strong La Liga is this season, with Barcelona still finishing second despite all their struggles.

The draw here is 3.6 and seems unlikely given how both sides can score and also concede goals. Liverpool have generally been excellent defensively but have conceded in five of their last six.

With the glut of goals that came in both semi-finals, it's no wonder that over 2.5 in the final weighs in at just 1.73 and even the double of both teams to score and over 2.5 goals improves you to just 1.83. It does seem the stand-out bet of the outrights though.

Can comeback kings do it again?

Real Madrid just don't know when they're beaten in this competition, it's like the weight of their history makes it unthinkable that they'll go out, and by hook or by crook they've produced incredible comebacks to beat PGS, Chelsea and Man City.

A shock second-half Benzema hat-trick stunned PSG, an 80th minute Rodrygo equaliser and extra-time Benzema goal beat Chelsea before two Rodrygo headers in minutes 90 and 91 left City on the floor.

Benzema finished it off in extra time to make it an incredible eight Real Madrid goals score in the last 15 minutes of those three ties - two of them in stoppage time and two extra-time winners.

It means that Liverpool can never rest even if they lead, and in-play bettors shouldn't be scared of backing the Spanish side to turn things around if they're behind.

The caveat is the recent trends in meetings between the two, which has seen the side scoring first win the last seven head-to-head meetings!

Nevertheless, Real Madrid to come from behind and draw the tie to force extra time, as they did against Chelsea and City, is 6.5 and will be popular while Los Blancos to come from behind and win, as they did against PSG, is 14.

If you're Klopp, of course, you're analysing how and why Real got themselves into those positions in the first place, with City and Chelsea both running riot in periods, and not on those comebacks.

Plenty of match-winners on show

We know all about the goal threats on the field but there's still some value. Benzema has been spectacular in the Champions League this season with 15 goals and at 2.4 to score here he's extremely backable.

Mohamed Salah is 2.38 for a goal and with his extra incentive he'll surely have a say - and given his assist numbers this season taking him at 1.83 for a goal or assist in the game seems sensible.

Salah has 33 goals and 11 assists in the Champions League in his five seasons at Liverpool - only Lionel Messi also has over 30 goals and 10 assists in that time.

They key battle though comes down the Real Madrid left with the gifted and fleet-footed Vinicius Junior, who has three goals and six assists in the competition this season.

His 2.7 mark in the goal or assist market is the stand-out, as he's given Trent Alexander-Arnold problems before and will no doubt have an impact again.

If Liverpool can keep the Brazilian relatively quiet they will improve their chances hugely, while going in the opposite direction Alexander-Arnold is 3.75 for yet another assist.

The Reds now have multiple choices up front, but the excellent Luis Diaz looks the man to keep onside as a 3.4 anytime scorer. He's looked their best player in their big games this season without getting too many goals.

This could be a prime chance for him, and Liverpool will need it as one goal doesn't look like it'll be enough, but after missing out on the league again and with revenge on their minds, they have enough here to get the job done - just!

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