Thursday, August 11, 2022

Liverpool picks: 2022 UEFA Champions League final predictions as the Reds face Real Madrid at Stade de France

Their bid for the quadruple may have ended in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon, but Liverpool can still cap what should go down as one of the greatest seasons in their illustrious history in Paris this weekend with a seventh European crown.

Jurgen Klopp’s side head to the Stade de France as firm favorites to do what Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City could not: Apply the killer blow to a Real Madrid side that keep finding ways of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Reds have lost just once in 2022 – and even that was by a one-goal margin to an Inter Milan side who needed more to advance — while their EFL Cup and FA Cup final showdowns with Chelsea proved this team have the mettle to go the distance and win, even if it needs penalties. Can they do it again? Let’s look ahead to Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final …

How to watch and odds

Date: Saturday, May 28 | Time: 3 p.m. ET 

TV: CBS | Live stream: Paramount+ (Try it free)

Location: Stade de France — Saint-Denis, France

Studio: Kate Abdo, Thierry Henry, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards

Commentators: Clive Tyldesley and Rob Green | Rules expert: Christina Unkel  

On-site: Peter Schmeichel, Jules Breach, Jenny Chiu and Guillem Balagué

Odds: Liverpool +104; Draw +270; Madrid +245 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

Featured Game | Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

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Matchup to watch for Liverpool

I’ve expanded on this further in my bold predictions column, but this certainly feels like a game where the winner of the battle between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Junior could carry their team to victory. The latter is statistically the best chance creator in Europe and his lightning pace roasted the Liverpool right back last season. But Alexander-Arnold has improved defensively more than he gets credit for. If he can get into a position to fire crosses into the box, then Madrid are going to be seriously tested. 

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.  

Liverpool player most likely to score

He may be struggling to find the net of late and his record in finals for Liverpool is not as spectacular as in most other games (just the penalty in the win over Tottenham three years ago), but it would be a bold man indeed who doubted Mohamed Salah’s ability to deliver. The Egyptian has finally been afforded the rest that he has got so infrequently in his side’s recent run of games. Even in half an hour against Wolves, he looked like a reinvigorated force. Add to that the clear desire for avenge himself on Madrid for what happened in Kyiv four years ago and this may be a game where we see the best of Salah.

Most likely to keep a clean sheet

Thibaut Courtois and Alisson are two of the best in the business. What is probably going to separate these two is how reliable their defense is on the night. Liverpool’s defense has been known to have its wobbles, but across the Champions League so far it has been Madrid’s that has given up more goals, expected goals and almost twice as many shots on target. Not once in the knockout rounds has Courtois kept a clean sheet; against Europe’s most formidable attack, you would expect that to continue.

Man of the Match pick for Liverpool

If Karim Benzema is quelled for the first time in this competition, one might make a case for Virgil van Dijk. But if recent form is anything to go on, then, providing he is fit, Thiago might just be the star who shines brightest in the Paris night. The Spaniard has been one of Europe’s outstanding players this season and has delivered a string of Man of the Match displays when it has mattered most in the Champions League. Set against Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, this could be the game where Thiago proves he is the best of the best. 

Predictions

Match prediction: It’s hard to shake the sense that Madrid used up their nine lives getting this far and that Liverpool, who seem to be most at ease on the biggest occasions, will not crumble under the pressure as PSG and Manchester City did. I’m backing them to win rather comfortably, 3-1 to be precise.

Champions League final picks

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