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FIVE KEY CLASHES AHEAD OF THE UCL FINAL

The Uefa champions league final comes off this Saturday at the Stade de France in Paris, when Liverpool takes on record winners Real Madrid in a highly anticipated fixture for fans all over the world.

It will be the final game for Marcelo, the most decorated Real Madrid player in history.

After missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City over the weekend, the reds head into the most important game of their season with a chance that Spanish International Thiago Alcantara will not feature.

The Possible return of Fabinho is a major boost for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

For Real Madrid, the hope of clinging onto a 14th European title is within reach and on Saturday night, Carlo Ancelloti’s men will look to be at their upmost best to be Europe’s kings again.

Here are the five major clashes to look forward to on Saturday night in Paris.

COURTOIS VS ALISSON
With sixteen clean sheets in La Liga Santander this season, Thibaut Courtois has been in impeccable form for Los Blancos.

Crucial saves in the semi-final kept Real Madrid in the game against Manchester City before Rodrigo’s inspirational comeback against the Champions of England.

However, Liverpool’s Alisson Becker finished the season in the premier league with 20 clean sheets joint with Manchester City’s Ederson.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has been crucial for the reds, especially in the quarter against Benfica.

These two goalkeepers will come up against each other in a quest to prove at the ultimate stage who claims the European prize.

For Courtois, it will be his second European final after losing to Real Madrid in 2014 in his time at Atletico de Madrid.

Alisson also makes his Second final after winning his first in 2019

ALABA VS VAN DIJK

Madrid’s reinforcement for the defense last summer, David Alaba, has definitely lived up to expectations after the departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

After winning his first La Liga title in his first season in Spain, The Austrian sets his gaze on a possible addition to his two already won Champions league trophies at Bayern Munich.

Containing Sadio Mane will be a huge task on the night.

However, after returning from a long injury last summer, Virgil Van Dijk has proved his doubters wrong yet again in an amazing season with Liverpool after winning the Fa cup and League cup.

The Dutch International will have his plate full when Liverpool takes on Real Madrid with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr in the form of their lives.

CASIMIRO VS FABINHO

Three-peat winner with Real Madrid between 2016 and 2018, Casimiro will be decisive in shielding the Madrid back four on the night.

The 2019 Copa America winner is likely to Partner with Kroos and Modric to cause havoc to the six-time winners Liverpool.

It is yet to be seen if he completes the full 90 minutes or is subbed off if the game goes into extra time.

On the other hand, with Thiago Alcantara a major doubt for the final, Liverpool’s next man to keep an eye on will be Fabinho.

A talented midfielder with a great ability to break the lines and read the game brilliantly, Fabinho will have to be at his very best if Liverpool stands a chance of dominating Real Madrid in midfield.

A tough decision lies with Jurgen Klopp as to who will partner the Brazilian in midfield on Saturday night.

The Brazilian’s first goal in the semi-final second leg in Spain against Villarreal was crucial to their comeback and their appearance in the final.

Naby Keita, Edouard Camavinga and Federico Valverde could all feature in the game on Saturday.

VINICIUS JR VS LUIZ DIAZ

Simple Stunning. Turning his situation around was important for Real Madrid’s current position in the Champions League this season.
Vinicius Jr has been one of the best players in Europe this year and will look to cause problems to the Liverpool defense with his electrifying pace and skill.

40 goal involvements in all club competitions including six assists in the Champions League this season, Vinicius is feared by many fullbacks in Europe.

Hard to handle, his presence will be absolutely crucial for Los Blancos on Saturday night.

However, Columbia winger, Luiz Diaz has been absolutely mesmerizing down the left flank of the Liverpool attack.

Like Vinicius, Diaz has the pacy attribute and skill to get past his marker.

His discipline and mentality have got him fixed in Liverpool’s starting XI leaving little room for Portuguese star Diego Jota.

BENZEMA VS SADIO MANE

At the core of the Real Madrid attack this season, Deputy Captain of Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, has been by far the best player in the world.

With 15 goals in the competition, the four-time Champions League winner hopes of clinging to a 5th European Title.

His link-up play in attack is phenomenal to watch and on a personal level, it seems as though the French international is growing like fine wine.

He will lead the Attack with Vinicius Jr after winning his first trophy as la Liga’s top scorer with 27 goals and 14 assists and more than 60 goal contributions in all competitions this season.

Also, the forward from Merseyside Sadio Mane has been absolutely vital for Liverpool this season.

Known as one of the best strikers in the world, Mane will lead the Liverpool attack with Mohammed Salah on the night in Paris.

After winning the Afcon in 2022 and winning two domestic trophies in the Carabao and the Fa cup, the Senegalese international sets his eyes on the grand European club competition prize, the Uefa Champions League.

Widely known for scoring decisive goals, Sadio Mane ranks as the number one top scorer in the knockout phase of the Champions League for an African.

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