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Real Madrid v Liverpool: Champions League final in Opta numbers

25 May 2018 10:00

History is up for grabs when Real Madrid take on Liverpool in the final of the Champions League this weekend.

Saturday's clash in Kiev sees Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane aiming to win the competition for the third year in a row, while Liverpool are hunting their sixth success in the tournament.

Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo have grabbed much of the pre-match build-up due to their stunning form in 2018, but the match is about more than those twin superstars.

Here, we assess the Opta numbers to see what the statistics can tell us about how the Champions League final could play out.

COMPETITION HERITAGE

Liverpool and Real Madrid are two of the most famous clubs in world football and their history in the European Cup - or Champions League in the modern era - matches their reputations.

Madrid will be playing in the final for the 16th time, which is more than any other club have managed. It will be the eighth final for Liverpool, three more than any of their English rivals.

Liverpool have met Madrid in the final once before - in 1981 - when Alan Kennedy's goal earned the Reds victory. In their six finals since that year, Madrid have won them all, taking their tally to a record 12.

And if Madrid make it a lucky 13 in Kiev, they will become the first team to lift the trophy three years in a row since Bayern Munich, who defended the title in both 1975 and 1976.

Zidane could also become the third manager to win the European Cup or Champions League three times - joining Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti - but he would be the first to win it three years running.

RONALDO'S RECORDS

Madrid will expect Ronaldo to be their talisman again, with the Portugal international having scored four goals in Champions League finals, more than any other player.

If he finds the net in Kiev, he will be the first player to score in consecutive Champions League finals, and the first to do so in the competition since Bayern's Franz Roth in the 1970s.

Ronaldo had a slow start to 2017-18 but his 15 goals and three assists means he has the most goal involvements in the Champions League this term, ahead of Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, who has recorded 10 goals and seven assists.

The 33-year-old's record in the competition is the stuff of legend, but no players who have featured for Liverpool this season have ever won the Champions League before.

LIVERPOOL LOVING IT?

Salah's superb season will give the Reds hope despite their underdog status, but he has strong support. Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane have scored a combined 29 Champions League goals this season, more than any threesome in the competition's history.

James Milner has also starred in midfield for the Reds, with the former England international providing a competition-high eight assists in this season's Champions League. If he gets another in the final, nine will be the most since Opta began collecting this data in 2003-04.

Liverpool are the top scorers in the Champions League this season with 40 goals and perhaps surprisingly they have also kept the joint-most clean sheets - six - the same as Barcelona.

However, Jurgen Klopp was beaten on his only previous appearance in the Champions League final - Borussia Dortmund losing to Bayern in 2013 - and the German has lost five of his six major finals as manager.

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