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Real Madrid vs. Liverpool UEFA Champions League Final: Players that can make the Difference

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Finally, the stage is set; we now know that Real Madrid and Liverpool will go head to head for the ninth time on May 28 at the Stade France. We got clarity after the extra time whistle was blown in a thrilling encounter between Real Madrid and Manchester City. The whole world never saw the aggregate 6-5 scoreline in favor of Madrid coming.

While it is a regular practice to go straight into possible picks & predictions for the upcoming final, making decisions off mere parameters like ‘previous head to head’ or ‘player fitness levels’ doesn’t provide accurate insight into what might unfold.

A rather comprehensive and technical approach is to look at each team’s individual players, specifically the pivotal contributions to the team’s gameplay. This article will review the players that can make a difference in a game as big as the UCL final.

 

Player to Watch in the 2022 UCL Final on May 28.

Although the heading is somewhat biased to draw attention to the ‘shot callers’ in the team, it has no way negated the contributions of others in the squad.

Real Madrid

We will start with the most successful team in the competition. They’ve won 13 out of 16 appearances in the final. The closest to them, AC Milan, sits almost halfway with seven titles.

  • Karim Benzema

As the fans now call him Big Benz. Benzema is the team’s point man, and he’s proven to be efficient so far, scoring 43 goals out of 43 appearances in all competitions. We don’t expect less; more so, when he’s not scoring in regulation time, he will be on the assist sheet. We’ve seen this in multiple games, including the second-leg semi-final clash with the Citizens. He gave a stoppage-time assist to Rodrigo to net the equalizer on the night. He’ll be a player to watch as he’s a big performer for big games.

  • Vinicious Jr. 

Vini seems to be the only starting true-winger in the team as players like Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard have been frozen out for the season due to consistent injuries. While that’s the case, Vinicious Jr. hasn’t been exceptional so far, combining excellently with Big Benz in the center forward to create goals on multiple occasions. Perhaps the reason why he comes first in the hierarchy above Eden Hazard.

 

Liverpool

If we want to go with historical performances, Liverpool is the underdogs going into this encounter. However, we do know that history doesn’t always repeat itself.

  • Virgil Van Dijk 

When we consider influential players in any team, the strikers usually come first, but that’s not the case for this team – not since they signed VVD. His performance week-in & week-out has proven that he does more than just defend the team. Aside from being good on aerial challenges, he also plays a pivotal role in Jürgen Klopp’s buildup from the back. His character and composure will be instrumental in guiding the Liverpool team to victory – if the cup is theirs to win at least.

  • Mohammed Salah

The whole world is watching the Egyptian King on that day. Liverpool’s trusty winger will look to face Real Madrid and see the encounter with full fitness. We can’t forget in a hurry how he took an injury barely minutes into the 2018 Champions League final with former Madrid player Ramos. His record thus far this season has been exceptional, and we can’t expect him to perform any less in the final.

Conclusion

Football is getting delicate by the day. We now see coaches implement scientific data to evaluate players and prepare them for competitions. Something as trivial as boots going into a game can become crucial when players get to the pitch.

Furthermore, many players not mentioned here can equally make a difference. Players like Luka Modric, Thibaut Courtois, Eduardo Camavinga, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, and Thiago Alcântara will be exciting to watch; hopefully, they’ll all be fit to start.