The finalists for the 2022 Champions League Final have been confirmed with Liverpool and Real Madrid set to clash at the Stade De France on May 28th. Here is the UEFA Champions League Final 2022 Preview before the match day.
Real Madrid Road To The Final
Real Madrid’s group draw was relatively kind to them. The top seed in their group was last year’s Serie A champions Inter Milan with Moldovan minnows Sheriff Tiraspol and Ukranian underdogs Shaktar Donetsk rounding out the group.
Real started off well, edging past Inter with a 1-0 win, however a shock was still to come. Sheriff Tiraspol recorded a historic 2-1 victory over Los Blancos at the Santiago Bernabéu despite Real entering as -900 favourites. This seemed to give Carlo Ancelotti’s men a jolt however as they went on to win all remaining group games, conceding just once more.
They then went on one of the most thrilling runs to the final in recent memory. After a 1-0 loss away to PSG in the Round of 16, PSG became favourites to see through the second leg and progress to the quarter-final. However, a goal from Karim Benzema in the 61st after Kylian Mbappe’s opener followed by a spectacular quickfire double from Benzema in the 76th and 77th saw Real qualify for the quarter-final.
The challenges did not stop there for Real, coming up against current holders Chelsea. After stunning them in a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge, another thrilling second leg saw them knock the defending champs out in extra time. They then faced a semi-final trip to tournament favourites Man City, losing an exhilarating encounter 4-3.
It was time for Real to pull of another upset and they did just that, with substitute Rodrygo scoring in the 89th and 91st minute to cancel out Riyad Mahrez’s opener and take the game into extra time. An early Benezma penalty was enough to see them through to their 4th final in 7 years.
Liverpool Road To The Final
Liverpool’s group draw was one of the toughest of the four Premier League teams in the competition, with the pot placing them against AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto. Atletico and Porto were both champions of their respective leagues in the previous season, with Milan finishing runners up. This makes it even more impressive that they won all six of their group games.
From one Italian Giant in the group stages to another, they found themselves drawn against Inter Milan in the Round of 16. They just about squeezed pass The Nerazzurri despite losing the second leg 1-0, winning 2-1 on aggregate following their 2-0 triumph in the away leg.
The quarter finals were slightly kinder to them, drawing them against Benfica. After winning the first leg 3-1, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp fielded a weaker side in the second leg, still managing a 3-3 draw to win 6-4 on aggregate.
They last played Villareal who were playing way above expectations and were not far off stunning the six-time European Champions. After winning the first leg 2-0, Liverpool went 0-2 down in the second leg. But an impressive second half saw them win 3-2 and confirm their place in Paris.
There is no doubt that Liverpool will want to put right their 2018 loss to Real in this fixture and they are in poll position to do so, with Champions League Final odds listing them as +100 favourites.
Frenchman Benzema scored the opener in that final and his performances will be key yet again. He has been in scintillating form this season in the league and in Europe, topping the table as the highest scorer in the 21/22 Champions League with 14 goals so far.
It goes without saying that Liverpool will be leaning on star-man Mo Salah for this one. Another quality year in the Premier League has him at the top of both the goals and assists charts with 22 and 13 respectively and he’ll be looking to win his 2nd champions league winner’s medal.
The battle between Klopp and Ancelotti is sure to be fascinating. Ancelloti has shown his tactical nous with Real adapting separate game plans in the league and in Europe. Despite dominating teams in La Liga, the Italian has often found his side as the underdog in Europe this year and has played accordingly.
Klopp on the other hand has finetuned his Liverpool squad for years to play his famous gegenpress, pressing high up the pitch to win back possession from goal scoring positions. Real conceded 11 goals in the knockout stages of the tournament and Liverpool could add to that with the Los Blancos defence looking shaky at times. However, Klopp’s attacking style could come back to bite them with Madrid proving to be devastating on the counter-attack in this campaign.
Whoever wins the game of chess that is set to ensue, it is certain to be thrilling. These two giants have so much history in this tournament and we are set for yet another incredible Champions League final.