Vinicius Jr scored the only goal as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final to become European champions for the 14th time.
Kickoff was delayed by more than half an hour amid security issues and organisational disarray outside the ground. Jurgen Klopp’s side started the brighter, with Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois brilliantly tipping Sadio Mane’s 21st-minute strike against the post.
Shortly before half-time, Karim Benzema had the ball in the net for Los Blancos but a lengthy VAR check adjudged him to be offside.
Vinicius held his position perfectly at the back post, though, to survive a VAR examination and tap in Federico Valverde’s cross.
For the third cup final this season, Liverpool were unable to find the net — largely as a result of a performance for the ages from the magnificent Courtois.
MORE: ‘You are Ronaldo, Messi, or you won the Champions League’ — Paris final pits Mane and Benzema in Ballon d’Or battle
The Belgium number one had already thwarted Mohamed Salah at close quarters from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s early cutback and he excelled himself midway through the first half when he tipped Mane’s shot against the upright at full-stretch and earned the good fortune of the ball rolling across his goalline and back into his grasp.
The Liverpool defence breathed a sigh of relief as half-time approached when Benzema capitalised upon a penalty box scramble. Even though Fabinho got the final touch of the ball before the France striker scored from an offside position, the Liverpool midfielder was ruled not to have played the ball intentionally.
A cagey start to the second period appeared to be to Madrid’s advantage and, after Salah had a couple of snapshots blocked, the tireless Valverde caught Alexander-Arnold napping at the back post and Vinicius completed a simple finish to send the Madrid fans behind the goal wild.
Klopp sent on Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino, the former on after Dani Carvajal unblinkingly stifled Luis Diaz, but a Madrid defensive unit that looked ragged at other times during the knockout rounds held firm.
It should be said Liverpool still managed to fire off 24 attempts on goal, but Courtois would not be denied — his stupendous 83rd-minute stop after Salah powered past Ferland Mendy and ripped a right-footed shot towards the top corner bringing a familiar finishing line into sight for Europe’s most successful club.
👑 Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League crown means they now have double the amount of AC Milan, who sit in second place with seven.
⚪️ They’ve won all of the last 7️⃣ #UCL finals they’ve reached.
𝙐𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚.#UCLFinal | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/KSMutuqE4r
After their move for Kylian Mbappe collapsed earlier this month, it paid to recall the last time Real Madrid pulled off their signature transfer market move of buying the best player in their position in the world. Arguably, Courtois became the ‘last Galactico’ when he joined from Chelsea in 2018.
It was not easy at first as fans grumbled at him unseating Keylor Navas, the hero of Zinedine Zidane’s three in a row in the Champions League between 2016 and 2018. But this is undoubtedly his triumph after coming to his team’s aid time and again.
The 30-year-old went past Navas’ single-season record for Champions League saves and his nine stops were the best ever final performance since Opta began collecting such data in 2003.
9 – Thibaut Courtois’ nine saves tonight is the most on record (since 2003-04) of any keeper in a single #UCLfinal. Impenetrable. #LIVRMA pic.twitter.com/zIKhl5zaXT
It would have been easy for Ancelotti to throw in Rodrygo after his semi-final heroics against Manchester City but the Italian tactician stuck with Valverde to play a hybrid midfielder/forward on the Madrid right to perfection.
The Uruguay international embodies the grit that has seen Madrid overturn the odds throughout the knockout stages and his cross for the winner was sublime. He carried out the brief to perfection for a man who knows how to get the job done on these occasions better than anyone else. Ancelotti’s four Champions League crowns as a coach — two with AC Milan, two with Madrid and two at the expense of Liverpool — put him at the top of the all-time rankings.
⚪️ Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first manager in competition history to win 4️⃣ Champions League titles! 👏 #UCLFinal | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/7AmrqMrJH5
It would be easy to say Liverpool just faltered at the last after an incredible season where they played every single game available to them across four competitions. But this defeat has arguably been in the mail for some time.
As Klopp’s men targeted an unprecedented quadruple, their supposedly superior firepower was suggested as a key factor in their favour. Undoubtedly, Salah and Mane are among the very best forwards on the planet. But the goals have dried up a bit.
It feels remarkable that such a lauded attacking unit played three cup finals this season and didn’t score in any of them. Vinicius made sure penalties weren’t an option as they were against Chelsea after the goalless Carabao and FA Cup showpieces. Salah scored four times in his final 20 appearances of the season, while none of Jota’s 21 in all competitions came in his last 13 outings of the campaign.
🥺 His wait for revenge must go on.
🔴 #UCLFinal | #LFC | #YNWA pic.twitter.com/LFBTCyHoVu
MAD — Vinicius Jr. (Federico Valverde) — 59th min
Full-time: REAL MADRID ARE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS FOR THE 14TH TIME!!!!!
90th minute +4: Madrid fan Rafael Nadal is a picture of calm in the stands. The recently substituted Modric is, by contrast, in something close to pieces in the dugout. Liverpool have a minute to salvage this.
90th minute +3: Mane wriggles his way to the byline to chip a cross but Militao heads clear.
90th minute +2: Benzema tees up Camavinga, who batters his shot miles over, which probably isn’t the worst idea right now. Vinicius makes way for Rodrygo. Will he end up being the matchwinner?
90th minute +1: Ceballos in on goal but makes a mess of it! Madrid corner and they’ll take their time.
90th minute: Modric makes way for Ceballos. There will be five minutes of injury time.
88th minute: Courtois holds an arcing Alexander-Arnold corner under extreme pressure from Konate. Of course he does.
87th minute: Camavinga is on for the tireless Valverde, who looks to have cramped up. Given the amount of work he’s got through, I don’t think that’s gamesmanship.
84th minute: Madrid deal with the corner and look to break but Alisson gets there ahead of Vinicius this time. It feels like there’s another goal in this.
83rd minute: Stop it Thibaut Courtois! That’s the best of the bunch from the Madrid keeper – Salah gets menacingly into the penalty area and hammers towards the far left corner. Courtois somehow gets it behind.
82nd minute: The ball breaks to Keita on the edge of the area and he blazes over. Camavinga getting ready to come on, probably because Madrid are starting to get overrun.
81st minute: More supreme reactions from Courtois. What a night he’s having. Fabinho and Keita are on for Henderson and Thiago as Liverpool got with four up front.
80th minute: Liverpool turning up the volume here as Alexander-Arnold and Mane clatter balls into the box to no avail. Militao, who spent a lot of extra time against Manchester City in the sedentary position, is on the floor again and the referee is having none of it.
76th minute: Oh my, that could have been game over. Kroos aims a looping free-kick into the Liverpool box and Casemiro is unmarked after a late run. The Brazil midfielder, who has had an excellent game defensively, tries to square the ball on the volley instead of going for goal and makes a pigs ear of it.
75th minute: Alexander-Arnold piles through one from 30 yards but it’s wide. He’s keen to make amends for that opening goal.
74th minute: Let’s not forget, Liverpool were behind in each of their final three Premier League games and won them all. In a sentence that can’t have been typed before, can Real Madrid succeed where Aston Villa, Southampton and Wolves failed?
🏟️🤩 THE BERNABÉU IS BOUNCING TOO#APorLa14 | #UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/kqEtMgEyDk
71st minute: Madrid break and Vinicius has Konate in his sights. Here come the stepovers but the Liverpool man is unfazed and puts in his latest excellent challenge.
69th minute: A couple of Liverpool corners, the second aimed at the hulking Konate but Madrid deal with them.
Now Salah is in, but it’s another fantastic save from Courtois. Some display from the Belgium number one.
66th minute: Klopp decides to act as Jota comes on for Diaz. Mane moves out to the left wing and his is headed clear by Militao, who is getting through a pretty heroic amount of work in the Madrid back four.
65th minute: Another fine save from Courtois as Salah cuts in and lets fly. That got the Liverpool fans going again because, as Joe Wright reports, it had all gone quiet over there.
There was plenty of talk before the game about Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Jr, and whether Liverpool’s full-back could be caught out at any stage. It only had to happen once. Valverde fizzed the ball across the box and Vinicius was there to tap in, holding his run to stay onside but still sneak behind Alexander-Arnold, who didn’t react in time. It’s a goal that’s sucked the life out of the Liverpool fans, whose team had been on top in this half.
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REAL MADRID LEAD! 🔥
Vinícius Júnior steals in at the back post to tap home from close range ⚽️#UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/owgAzrA75V
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VINICIUS JR. BREAKTHROUGH FOR REAL MADRID. 💥 pic.twitter.com/GVzH0BsgvZ
63rd minute: Liverpool need to score in a cup final now. Fabinho is booked for a petulant foul and they just need to regain their composure here. Ancelotti won’t be complaining about taking the lead, but Madrid’s gameplan seemed to be based around attacking substitutions for the final 20 minutes. What will they do now they’re in front?
59th minute: GOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!!! Vinicius Jr.
Madrid strike first in the Champions League final. Vinicius is just onside to pop in Valverde’s cross at the far post.
58th minute: Salah has a couple of snap shots. Both are blocked and the Egypt star screams for handball. He’s on a hiding to nothing.
56th minute: Diaz accidentally trod on Militao, causing a break in play. The Madrid fans have really found their voice. Do they think this contest is moving to exactly the place they want it?
53th minute: Militao and Casemiro block shots from Mane and Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool need more of that urgency.
51st minute: Cagey start to the second half, which you reckon Madrid will have no issues with.
47th minute: Heroic block from Carvajal as Alexander-Arnold looks for Diaz. The Spain right-back probably doesn’t share my sentiment but I’d love to see more of that battle.
46th minute: We’re back underway. That’s now 285 goalless minutes in cup finals for Liverpool this season, after winning both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup on penalties following goalless extra-time draws with Chelsea at Wembley.
🔴 Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson is getting through the work on his 5⃣0⃣th Champions League appearance! ©
◆ Most tackes (2).
◆ Won 100% of his duels.
◆ 13 successful passes in the final-third.
◆ Won back possession four times.#UCLFinal | #LFC | #YNWA pic.twitter.com/eEnW9wfcv4
Halftime update: Our man Joe Wright has members of the Madrid press pack in his immediate vicinity. Safe to say the decision to disallow Benzema’s goal hasn’t gone down too well with them!
Well, that was quite the ending to the first half. Karim Benzema had the ball in the net, we had a long, long VAR delay, and the on-field decision of offside was eventually allowed to stand.The replays showed Fabinho got the last touch on the ball before it reached Benzema after a scramble in the Liverpool box, but that was after Federico Valverde had challenged for it and made contact.There are plenty of dissenting points of view. The only certainty is that it’s 0-0 at halftime.
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Karim Benzema’s opener is ruled out for offside! ❌
What do you make of this decision? 🤔#UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/dnez8spmJA
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BENZEMA WITH THE BALL IN THE NET. …But he’s ruled offside. 😲 pic.twitter.com/obMLUwCQBF
Halftime: Liverpool have been the better side here but they maybe got away with one on that VAR call for the disallowed Benzema goal. The on-field decision being offside has undoubtedly helped, but there was a camera from behind the goal that didn’t do Fabinho too many favours.
Anyway, irrespective of that decision, Madrid will probably be the happier of the two sides. The first leg of their semi-final against Manchester City suggested this Liverpool side might just run over them. That hasn’t happened and if it remains all square heading into the final 20 minutes, Los Blancos will massively fancy their chances. Catch you in 10 minutes or so.
45th minute+1: OFFSIDE! NO GOAL
45th minute: It’s a long check. Benzema was in an offside position when he scored. But the question revolves around whether or not Konate or Fabinho played the ball deliberately.
43rd minute: GOOAA…no. Benzema brings the ball down beautifully in the Liverpool box and checks back, Dennis Bergkamp style. There’s a scramble, with Alisson involved and Benzema smuggles the ball home. The flag goes up and we go to VAR…
41st minute: Robertson’s corner is cleared as far as Henderson. He catches that sweetly but it fizzes wide.
38th minute: Valverde tears back to help Carvajal thwart Diaz. The experienced right-back manages it this time but Liverpool need to explore that avenue of attack more frequently.
36th minute: Vinicius gets the better of Konate this time but Jordan Henderson comes steaming back to clear behind and Liverpool deal with the corner. Now the Reds have a free-kick in the Madrid half, a little further out than Robertson’s first effort of the evening.
34th minute: Salah heads into Courtois’ bucket hands and another half-chance passes Liverpool by. Here’s Joe Wright on an absorbing spectacle so far:
This has been a great half-hour of football. Madrid have used the ball well and Luka Modric is starting to come to life, but it’s Liverpool who’ve had the better chances. That Courtois save from Mane was a sight to behold. One thing Los Blancos are generally doing well is stopping Liverpool’s front three before they can turn to face goal. The moment Mane or Salah in particular get the ball to feet, they are being closed down quickly. It’s a more compact Madrid than we’re used to seeing in the competition this season. The fans seem to appreciate it – they’re making an absolute racket to my left.
What a save from Thibaut Courtois to deny Sadio Mane! 😱
🧤 That was his 54th save in the #UCL this season – the joint-most made by any goalkeeper in a single season since 2012 (also Keylor Navas with 54 in 2020/21).
⚪️ #UCLFinal | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/wztOlqi1nP
30th minute: Oof, Alexander-Arnold had to be alert there and was. Vinicius was lurking on the shoulder and had a clear route to goal before the interception.
28th minute: Fabinho has a long-range shot. It’s pretty rubbish.
27th minute: Carvajal chases down a long ball at the expense of Robertson but Madrid fail to get enough bodies around him and the attack breaks down.
25th minute: Vinicius lumps one into the box towards Benzema but Alisson is able to collect unfussily.
24th minute: A sliding David Alaba cuts out Thiago’s attempted through-ball for Salah. Everything feels a little bit last-ditch for Madrid at the moment, but this Liverpool team force periods like this.
21st minute: Magnificent save from Courtois! Mane’s dancing feet engineer some room in the box and he fires towards the bottom left corner. The big man gets down at blistering speed once again and tips onto the base of the post. He earns his luck as the ball trickles along the goalline and back into his grasp.
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Thibaut Courtois with an outrageous save to deny Sadio Mané! 🤯#UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/RjMFEVyra9
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Thibaut Courtois coming up huge again! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/wk0RXP5gIP
19th minute: Alexander-Arnold’s eyes light up but he blazes high and wide from outside the box. Nevertheless, from a Madrid point of view, Liverpool are settling into an ominous rhythm.
17th minute: Diaz gets a first look at Carvajal and seems to like what he sees. Robertson then finds Mane in the box, who lays it off to Salah. Better contact this time but it’s a nice height for Courtois.
16th minute: If Konate keeps that up, Alexander-Arnold can raid forward with abandon. He does just that inside the Madrid box and Courtois gets down low to his left as Salah turns the ball goalwards. Ancelotti’s side only partly clear and the Belgium goalkeeper holds on to Thiago’s speculative strike.
15th minute: Konate shows exactly why he’s been selected by getting out to address Vinicius and emerging unfussily with the ball. Excellent defending.
14th minute: A deflected Robertson cross could have caused panic for Madrid then, with Mane lurking, but Mendy coolly chested back to Courtois.
Tonight’s finalists 🌟 #UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/ibX0puAXuL
13th minute: Liverpool enjoying some time in Madrid territory now. Mane and Salah taking turns to come deep but not a lot happening for either.
10th minute: Salah slips the ball towards Mane but it runs over the byline before he can make the cutback. Those are a couple of examples of players perhaps struggling for weight of pass on the much-discussed playing surface.
8th minute: Liverpool had those concerns in the warm-up about Thiago and now Mane appears to be moving a little gingerly at centre-forward. The Senegal international comes deep but slides his attempted through-ball to Diaz harmlessly out of play.
6th minute: Nice spell of possession for Madrid, but it comes to nought. Militao spun a lovely ball out to Vinicius and Benzema pulled out to the left-wing to help, with even Salah joining in the defensive effort.
THE REDS ❤#UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/m6BF7d1XrO
4th minute: Early up-and-under aimed towards Vinicius but Alexander-Arnold heads clear. The Brazil winger gets on the ball shortly afterwards and Liverpool shirts swarm him, unveiling a pretty clear plan.
2nd minute: Scrappy start. Liverpool have a free-kick about 35 yards out and Robertson is going to swing it into the box. Konate a threat, but Madrid clear easily.
3 mins from kickoff: The teams are out, Ian Rush and Raul have brought the trophy out onto the pitch and the Champions League anthem – arguably on account of UEFA’s claims about fan punctuality on the big screens – is being roundly booed. We’re almost ready. Here’s Joe:
The opening ceremony – from the laying of the protective pitch cover, to the Camila Cabello choreography, to the fireworks – was slick and effective. In other words, everything that the authorities’ handling of the scenes outside the ground was not. The whole event felt like a distraction for the broadcast cameras and special guests. The Champions League anthem is being loudly booed and, this time, everyone understands why.
8 mins from kickoff: Camilla Cabello is into her work, which just feels completely bizarre given the story developing around this game. But it probably means we’re getting no further delays to kickoff unless she’s planned a succession of encores.
Camila Cabello is getting on with the opening ceremony. At least the fans outside can see the smoke from the fireworks #UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/D1QRBt642j
14 mins from kickoff: Because we’ve had a further delay until 21:36 from UEFA. There’s going to be a bit inquest into all of this in the days ahead, no doubt. A complete shambles at a major sporting event. I regret to report that one of our journalists outside the ground has been tear-gassed but he’s safe.
22 mins from kickoff: Liverpool are back out to do a second warm-up and we have another delay until 21:30 local time. Significantly, Thiago Alcantara has joined his Liverpool teammates.
15 mins from kickoff: BT Sport, broadcasting in the UK, have reported tear gas being used outside the stadium. This is becoming a very worrying situation.
20 mins from kickoff: A little bit of meat on the bones regarding that news of a delayed kickoff from Joe Wright:
Given the situation outside the ground, UEFA has taken the rare decision to delay kickoff. We’re expecting another update in about 10 minutes’ time. On the side of the stadium where the world’s media enter — which was apparently the scene of some problems earlier as fans tried to get in — things seem a little quieter, although there was still a queue of supporters when The Sporting News checked. UEFA says the delay is due to a “security issue”. Those already in their seats are making their frustrations clear. Meanwhile, the costumed stars of the pre-match entertainment are standing to the side of the pitch, waiting.
29 mins from kickoff: Nope, I’ve not got my counting wrong. The aforementioned problems getting people into the ground have resulted in kickoff being delayed by 15 minutes until 21:15 CET.
20 mins from kickoff: At this ground in 1998, there was a lot of will he/won’t he drama surrounding Ronaldo’s participation in the World Cup final. Is another Brazilian-born star struggling?
Some suggestions Thiago might be withdrawn from the starting XI. He’s been warming up on his own but looks fine. UEFA just announced him in the #LFC team #UCLfinal
25 mins from kickoff: You’re probably all settled in front of your TV with your favourite food and drink for the entertainment ahead, but things aren’t quite so idyllic outside the ground. Here’s our man in Paris, Joe Wright.
Reports are filtering through to inside the stadium about problems for fans outside. It sounds like police bag searches, which were already taking place on the entrance to the stadium’s exterior walkways four hours ago, are causing hold-ups. It seems the police’s decision to use vans to funnel supporters via certain routes is making things very difficult for those trying to get to the ground. There are also suggestions of problems on public transport and, again, that was also the case a few hours earlier, with metro trains being delayed and, in at least one instance, people were asked to disembark only to then have to hurry back on board before it left. The Liverpool team bus got held up in traffic outside the ground and, as the teams warm-up on the pitch with less than half an hour to go before kickoff, there are still lots of empty seats in the Liverpool end.
35 mins from kickoff: The teams are well into their warm-ups. Excitement building and all other such cliches. Alexander-Arnold into the history books behind Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero tonight. If you’re of a certain age and remember Football Italia on Channel 4 in the UK, I’m sure you adore hm just as much as I do. Swoon.
🔴 🏴 The second-youngest player in history to play in 3️⃣ Champions League finals, behind Alessandro Del Piero.
👏 𝙏𝘼𝘼.#LFC | #UCLFinal pic.twitter.com/c6aDFhyReT
50 mins from kickoff: It’s hard not to feel for Joel Matip, who has been superb for Liverpool this season, but the presence and problem of Vinicius Jr has probably played a part in Jurgen Klopp’s thinking. Trent Alexander-Arnold has a huge part to play in building Liverpool’s attacks, so Konate and Fabinho are both likely to be needed when it comes to shackling the livewire Brazil winger.
1hr 5 mins from kickoff: Here’s Joe Wright on that Liverpool XI. If he ends up lifting the Champions League for the second time in his career, Henderson will certainly have earned it!
Jurgen Klopp had seemed confident Fabinho and Thiago would be fit enough to start, and they’ve both been named in Liverpool’s lineup. Ibrahima Konate will partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back, while it’s Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in the front three. There will be plenty of scrutiny on Thiago and his fitness as the game gets going, but spare a thought for captain Jordan Henderson, who tonight plays in his 57th match of the season, the most of anyone from Europe’s top five leagues.
🇧🇷 Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior in the #UCL this season! ⚪️
◆ Joint-most assists (6).
◆ Most chances created (31).
◆ Most touches in the opposition box (103).
◆ Most duels won (76).
😬 Liverpool will need to keep him quiet tonight.#UCLFinal pic.twitter.com/fabhrNsul4
1hr 15 mins from kickoff: Liverpool, despite getting stuck in traffic, are at the Parc des Princes. Their line-up is in and Thiago is fit to start in midfield alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. Ibrahima Konate gets the nod over Joel Matip to partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back.
Here’s how we line up for the #UCLfinal
1hr 20 mins from kickoff: Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and the city of Madrid are inextricably linked in the Champions League. Each of his campaigns in charge of Liverpool in the competition have either ended with defeats to Real Madrid (2018 final, 2021 quarter-finals) or Atletico Madrid (2020 round of 16) or in triumph in the Spanish capital (2019 final). But Liverpool, Madrid and Paris go back a little further than that. Here’s Joe Wright to tell us more:
Liverpool and Real Madrid have met in this very fixture in Paris once before: in 1981, Alan Kennedy scored the only goal of the game as the English side claimed a 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes. Andy Robertson said yesterday that he hadn’t given much thought to the idea of becoming another match-winning left-back in the City of Light, but this is a fixture that still means more than any other. Speaking to the official match programme, he said: “That night in Madrid [the 2019 final] will live with me for the rest of my life. For days after, I couldn’t stop smiling.”
1hr 30mins from kickoff: All eyes are on the big prize of the big cup tonight, but the final could also decide who lifts the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year, with Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane unquestionably among the frontrunners. We gathered some expert opinion and, right now, it’s a coin toss.
🆚 “I don’t think he’ll go up against Van Dijk – he’ll drift wide, then suddenly run off the holding midfielder.”
📹 Watch in full: https://t.co/IylenFr3MV #UCLFinal pic.twitter.com/HpPVy4kgr1
1hr 45mins from kickoff: Paris was late replacement venue after St Petersburg was stripped of hosting rights. No doubt we’re at one of Europe football’s finest arenas, but all eyes will be on a playing surface that might not measure up to its surroundings. Here’s Joe Wright:
There’s been a lot of discussion here about the pitch, which was only re-laid a few days ago. Neither Klopp nor Ancelotti seemed overly concerned (I mean, when is Ancelotti concerned about anything?), but it will be interesting to see how the surface holds up once Camila Cabello’s pre-match performance gets underway. Whether she opts for studs or blades will tell us everything we need to know.
Lots of ♥️ for Divock Origi in Liverpool’s fan park! 🎶#UCLFinal | #LFC pic.twitter.com/PIIoGBEIta
2hrs from kickoff: This week, Mohamed Salah described the 2018 Champions League final against Madrid as the “worst moment in my career. Take a trip down memory lane to remind yourselves what he’s referring to, although I understand Liverpool fans might not be keen!
2hr 5 mins from kickoff: Here’s some team news reaction from Joe Wright, who hasn’t been caught on the hop by Ancelotti’s eagerness.
Carlo Ancelotti said in Friday’s press conference that he knew his starting lineup – he just hadn’t told his players. Perhaps they already had an inkling, because it’s not a surprising starting XI. David Alaba is fit to play at centre-back, but the key thing perhaps is Federico Valverde’s inclusion, presumably on the right-hand side where he can have a few running battles with Andy Robertson. Club captain Marcelo is on the bench for what could be his final match for the club. Gareth Bale is also a substitute, just as he was for the final four years ago. We all know what happened then.
2hrs 15 mins from kickoff: As has been their habit throughout the latter stages of the competition (part superstition, part flex?) Real Madrid have announced their line-up far earlier than is necessary. It makes sense when there are no particular surprises. Semi-final heroes Rodrygo Goes and Eduardo Camavinga are primed to make an impact off the bench again as Federico Valverde starts in what will be a hybrid 4-3-3/4-4-2, with the Uruguay international bolstering the attack alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr and the midfield alongside Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro as he sees fit.
📋✅ Our #UCLfinal 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗫𝗜! #APorLa14 pic.twitter.com/uj9fib8ZoZ
2hrs 20 mins from kickoff: There will be intriguing battles across the field, perhaps none more so than the world’s best centre-back versus the world’s best centre-forward. But the duel between Virgil van Dijk and Karim Benzema isn’t quite as simple as that. We gathered some expert opinion on how that one might play out.
2hrs 35 mins from kickoff: Our man Joe Wright is at the Stade de France taking in the action. He’s been getting around Paris over the past couple of days — here’s his chat with former France and Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf about the big one.
🔴 “If Liverpool play high with lots of pressure, Real Madrid will be in big trouble.”
📹 Watch in full: https://t.co/gm77UFiYLI #YNWA pic.twitter.com/BFr0BwdaQ8
2hrs 45 mins from kickoff: How are your nerves? Where’s your money? All of those questions and more. We could have a Champions League final for the ages tonight, with two of Europe’s great clubs meeting in one of Europe’s great cities. Will it be number 14 for Real Madrid (and number four for Carlo Ancelotti) or will Liverpool add their seventh European Cup to the Carabao and FA Cup that are already at Anfield for safekeeping this season? Finding out should be fun.
3 hrs from kickoff: Hello and welcome to Sporting News’ live coverage of the 2022 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
🤩 One more day until the #UCLFinal!
🏆 Will record-breakers Real Madrid make it 1️⃣4️⃣ or will it be 7️⃣ for Liverpool in Paris? 🤔#LFC | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/m9LdtOh2Td
Klopp declared midfield duo Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara fit to take part, meaning the only major dilemma for the Liverpool boss was who out of Joel Matip or Ibrahima Konate would partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back. He went for Konate.
Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right) : Alisson (GK) — Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Alexander-Arnold — Thiago, Fabinho, Henderson — Diaz, Mane, Salah
Liverpool subs (12): Kelleher, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Minamino, Jota, Tsimikas, Matip, Elliott
Ancelotti might have given thought to starting Rodrygo, the two-goal hero of their semi-final turnaround against City. But Federico Valverde will play on the right of attack and midfield as required, with Rodrygo, Eduardo Camavinga and Marco Asensio all primed to make an impact off the bench if needed.
Real Madrid starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Courtois (GK) — Mendy, Alaba, Militao, Carvajal — Kroos, Casemiro, Modric — Vinicius, Benzema, Valverde
Real Madrid subs (12): Lunin, Nacho, Hazard, Asensio, Marcelo, Lucas, Bale, Ceballos, Rodrygo, Isco, Mariano, Camavinga
MORE: Champions League final: Virgil van Dijk and Karim Benzema’s battle of will and skill can define Liverpool vs. Real Madrid
Australia: Fans Down Under can watch the final for free on TV via 9Gem or on the streaming service Stan Sport.
Canada: As with all Champions League matches in Canada, the final will be streamed live and on demand via DAZN.
Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore: For fans in these countries, beIN Sports is the place to find all of the action.
India: Sony Sports will show the Champions League final in TV in India, while SonyLIV will stream the match.
New Zealand: Kiwis can tune into the game via streaming service Spark Sport.
UK: The Champions League final will be available on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate for subscribers. It will also be shown free-to-air for Virgin Media customers on channel 532.
The BT Sport app will stream the Champions League final for subscribers. Additionally, a free live stream will be available on the BT Sport website and YouTube channel.
USA: The match will be available on TV via CBS (in English), and Univision and TUDN (Spanish) and all three channels are streamed on fuboTV, which is available to new users on a free trial.
The match will also be streamed on Paramount+ for subscribers. A Spanish-language stream can be found on Univision streaming platform ViX.