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Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid

Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog.

It’s set to be an intriguing fixture.

Liverpool will have to get over the disappointment of just missing out on a Premier League triumph last week in order to replicate the type of form that got them to this stage.

It’s already been a fantastic season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, having won two trophies and run Man City so close domestically, and a win tonight would truly make it one to remember for the Anfield outfit.

While the Reds have had a relatively comfortable passage to the final, winning by two and three goals on aggregate in the quarters and semi respectively, the same cannot be said for Madrid.

In each of their knockout matches, against PSG, Chelsea and Man City, they looked in danger of going out at various points, but Carlo Ancelotti has instilled a real sense of resilience into this side, encapsulated by their incredible 6-5 aggregate semi-final win over Pep Guardiola’s men.

They will go into tonight’s match as slight underdogs, though it would be foolish to write Los Blancos off given what they’ve done in the competition already.

Real Madrid have won this trophy more times than anyone and triumphing tonight would see them lift it for the 14th time.

Liverpool, meanwhile, would go joint-second with Milan on the list if they prevail for a seventh occasion.

Both sides, meanwhile, are hoping to avoid being runners-up for the fourth time in their history.

There are rumours of a potential late change with Keita replacing Thiago, but here are the teams as it stands anyway…

It’s just been announced that the kick-off will be delayed until 8.15pm, due to fans having problems getting into the stadium.

paris-france-28th-may-2022-kenny-dalglish-takes-a-wreath-of-flowers-to-lay-in-front-of-the-liverpool-fans-to-mark-the-anniversary-of-the-heysel-stadium-disaster-of-1985-prior-to-the-uefa-champions Kenny Dalglish takes a wreath of flowers to lay in front of the Liverpool fans to mark the anniversary of the Heysel Stadium disaster of 1985. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

The latest update suggests that kick-off will be delayed until 8.30pm Irish time.

The sides have started warming up again, while there’s still no sign of the pre-match entertainment.

This is via AFP…

The kick-off of Saturday’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Paris was delayed by 15 minutes “due to a security issue”, Uefa said on Saturday.

The match was supposed to kick off at 9pm (8pm Irish time) at the Stade de France but announcements in the ground said the hold up was caused by the “late arrival” of supporters.

“A younger generation of Liverpool fans got to live out similar European adventures to their older brothers, fathers and uncles but without a great team to celebrate. The immediate aftermath of Istanbul saw Benitez pledge to overhaul his team, seemingly willing to cash in Gerrard to Chelsea to pay for it.

“The same pattern was repeated after 2007, when Liverpool’s best player in Athens had been Jermaine Pennant, their most dangerous spell when Peter Crouch was launched into action from the bench. A great team never remotely came into being.

“It took a long time for Liverpool modernise beyond the heyday of the 1980s. The dominant force of that era was slow to wake up to the commerce that paid for United and Ferguson’s rise, the club shop infamously closed the morning after Istanbul.

“Only once Fenway Sports Group, and slowly at first, began to sweat the asset properly, modernising the back office, Anfield, and then in turning to Jurgen Klopp, that Liverpool was able to reclaim its status as a global superpower.”

You can read John Brewin’s pre-match preview in full here.

There’s plenty of anger on social media about the organisation (or lack thereof) of this final, with Gary Lineker’s tweet below summing up the general feeling.

The opening ceremony is finally underway, with plenty of boos ringing around the ground as it’s announced.

Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello is this evening’s entertainment. 

Both teams are on the pitch and we’re finally ready to go…

We’re underway…

It’s been a fairly scrappy opening few minutes.

Neither team has really threatened yet.

Liverpool are controlling the tempo at the moment.

It’s been a fairly cagey approach from Madrid, who are sitting back, as they know how dangerous the Reds can be when afforded space to run into.

As I type, Alexander-Arnold’s deflected cross finds a stretching Salah, but Courtois gets down well to make the save.

Salah lays it to Alexander-Arnold on the edge of the area, but the full-back’s first-time strike sails well over.

Liverpool are well on top now and are starting to put their opponents under a bit of pressure.

So close!

Mane wriggles away from a couple of players on the edge of the area.

The Senegal international’s low shot looks destined for the net, but Courtois produces an excellent save to tip it onto the post and then away to safety.

A rare venture forward from Madrid but Vinícius’ cross goes straight into Alisson’s hands.

Ancelotti’s men have barely threatened at all so far, with Liverpool very much in the ascendancy. 

Nervy moment for Liverpool.

Vinicius gets away from Konaté, but Henderson then does well to get back and intercept.

Militão has to make a last-ditch challenge to prevent Mane from getting a clear shot at goal.

Robertson’s subsequent corner is only half-cleared, and Henderson’s fierce first-time effort from the edge of the area goes just wide.

Liverpool continue to look like the better team.

Benzema puts the ball in the net, but it’s ruled offside after a long goal check.

He initially is played through on goal, then hesitates as he contemplates shooting. 

Benzema loses it. There is a subsequent goalmouth scramble before it comes back to the France international who smashes it into the empty net.

It’s in that second phase when the officials adjudge the offside to have taken place.

So that’s the opening 45 minutes done.

Liverpool were the better side overall. They controlled the play and created a couple of half-chances.

However, it’s arguably Madrid who will be more frustrated at the break.

The Benzema disallowed goal on the brink of half-time was not clear cut by any means — it was only ruled out after a lengthy VAR check that feels like it could have gone either way.

One thought that has already entered my mind — could Liverpool end up winning a third successive final this season on penalties?

It’s been a closely fought final so far, with neither side giving away too much, so extra time at the least feels like a realistic prospect.

The second half has begun…

Great ball from Alexander-Arnold towards the head of Diaz in the area but Carvajal does enough to prevent him from getting on the end of it.

Liverpool starting this second half as they played much of the first — on the front foot.

Alexander-Arnold puts in another dangerous cross that Courtois is forced to parry away.

Thiago was in the area and came very close to making a connection on it.

Real Madrid go ahead against the run of play.

They break nicely, with some tidy build-up play.

Valverde then fires a low cross that Vinicius gets on the end of for an easy tap in at the far post.

Liverpool go close!

Salah finds space on the edge of the area and shoots.

It’s a relatively easy save for a goalkeeper of Courtois’ quality, as the low shot is parried away.

Meanwhile, the Reds’ first change sees Diogo Jota come on in place of Diaz.

Close again!

Henderson’s cross is headed back across goal by Jota.

Salah makes a connection but Courtois — a candidate for man-of-the-match so far — is alert to make the save from close range.

real-madrids-thibaut-courtois-saves-from-liverpools-mohamed-salah-during-the-uefa-champions-league-final-at-the-stade-de-france-paris-picture-date-saturday-may-28-2022 Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois saves from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Alexander-Arnold shoots across goal and Jota can’t quite deflect it into the net, which is what he was clearly attempting to do with his outstretched foot.

It’s pretty much an attack-v-defence session at the moment, with Madrid just about hanging on, as it feels they have done for almost the entire knockout stages.

Two changes for Liverpool.

Firmino and Keita are on, while Henderson and Thiago are off. The latter has done well to last this long, given that he was a major fitness doubt going into the contest.

Courtois has to make another save as Salah’s deflected effort threatens to go in.

Moments later, Keita shoots woefully off target inside the box after Firmino cuts it back to him.

It’s starting to feel like it might not be Liverpool’s night.

Salah runs through on goal, but Courtois makes arguably his best save yet to parry the low shot away for a corner.

The Belgian international has had a brilliant game.

Meanwhile, down the other end, Benzema comes so close to playing through Vinicius, but Alisson gets to the ball just before the young attacker.

Real finally make their first change.

The youngster Camavinga replaces Valverde.

There will be five minutes of stoppage time…

Real have made two late changes.

Vinicius and Modric are off, while Ceballos and Rodrygo are on.

So that’s that.

Another Champions League triumph for Carlo Ancelotti!

Real Madrid are now champions of Europe for an incredible 14th time.

In many ways, it was a performance typical of their journey in this competition.

Liverpool were better for long spells, but the Spaniards did enough to stay in the game and were absolutely clinical and ruthless when they needed to be.

The Reds will rue some missed chances, while Thibaut Courtois produced an outstanding performance and was the obvious candidate for man of the match.

The most disappointing aspect from Klopp’s perspective was that Liverpool went off the boil a bit towards the end.

Perhaps it was tiredness as a result of a long, hard season, but for all their possession and territorial dominance, the late rally never really materialised and Madrid saw the game out fairly comfortably after going ahead.

Still, it’s easy to forget that Liverpool were just two games away from a quadruple and a perfect season, so when he gets over the disappointment of tonight, Klopp will reflect on a very good campaign that fell just short of being an unbelievable one.

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here and we’ll have more reaction to follow.

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Paul Fennessy

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