MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 02:25:33
May 26, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex
Attendance: 61,561
Real Madrid
3-1
Liverpool
Benzema (51'), Bale (64', 83')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mane (55')

Combined XI: Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Sports Mole picks a combined XI from those expected to be available for this weekend's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.

Two of Europe's most successful clubs lock horns in the 2018 edition of the Champions League final this weekend, as Real Madrid take on Liverpool at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.

Madrid are going in search of a third successive triumph in the competition, and a fourth in five years, having also lifted the trophy in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Los Blancos are the most successful side on the continent, with 12 European Cup wins to their name, while Liverpool are aiming to get their hands on 'Big Ears' for a sixth time.

Ahead of the sixth meeting between the two sides, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both teams using those expected to be available this weekend.


Combined XI: Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Out: Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Gomez

For a goalkeeper capable of pulling off extraordinary saves, Keylor Navas may feel a little hard done by when repeatedly linked with the Bernabeu exit. While David de Gea would be an obvious upgrade - the Spaniard is the best shot-stopper in the world, after all - Zinedine Zidane is more than happy to continue with Navas in goal, and the Costa Rica international has far more about him than an improved-but-still-not-great Simon Mignolet.

One of the key aspects of Liverpool's run through the knockout stage of the Champions League has been the form of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, who have grown into the finest full-backs in the Premier League. Both remain inexperienced, however, which is in stark contrast to opposite numbers Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo, each seeking their fourth Champions League title - they have been here and done it many times before.

Liverpool have also managed to improve defensively in the second half of the season, which can quite simply be put down to the record signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. Van Dijk has managed to get the best out of Dejan Lovren, although whether that will be enough to stop Jurgen Klopp delving back into the transfer market for a new defensive partner remains to be seen. Raphael Varane, now in his seventh season in the Spanish capital, has been a reliable presence for Madrid, but Sergio Ramos quite simply has to get the nod in this side due to his incredible ability to pop up with key goals in fixtures of this magnitude.

While the Reds' front three has been the envy of many sides in Europe, the midfield department is not exactly oozing in quality. That said, a mixture of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner have been able to get their side to this first European final in 11 years, and each certainly have their own special talents. Neither can trump Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos, however, with the Madrid trio building up a special rapport that could end with yet another winners' medal.

Up top, Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way in Europe with 15 goals this season - no great surprise there! - while Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have chipped in with 10, 10 and nine respectively. If Ronaldo and Salah are the first two names on teamsheet, selecting a third member to slot in alongside them, with Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco also in contention, is a far tougher task. For his ability to get the best out of those around him, though, as well as chipping in with a fair few goals of his own, Firmino has to get the nod through the middle.

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Who will win Saturday's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool?

Real Madrid
Liverpool
Real Madrid
55.4%
Liverpool
44.6%
Isco in action for Real Madrid in October 2017
Read Next:
How Madrid could line up against Liverpool
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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