Liverpool pattern under Jurgen Klopp may need to change vs Real Madrid if Thiago injured

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Liverpool pattern under Jurgen Klopp may need to change vs Real Madrid if Thiago injured

Liverpool have only scored more than one goal in 90 minutes of a cup final on one occasion under Jurgen Klopp. And that is a record they will surel

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Liverpool have only scored more than one goal in 90 minutes of a cup final on one occasion under Jurgen Klopp. And that is a record they will surely need to change against Real Madrid in the Champions League final this Saturday if Thiago Alcantara is absent in Paris.

The Reds have contested 10 finals under Klopp if you include the two Community Shield defeats under him. They’ve also played in two Champions League finals, two Carabao Cup finals, one FA Cup final, one Europa League final, one European Super Cup final and one Club World Cup final.

But across those 10 finals, they have only ever scored 10 goals. Just eight of those goals came inside 90 minutes, with two in extra time against Chelsea and Flamenco in the Super Cup and Club World Cup wins respectively. The only time they have scored twice in 90 minutes of a final under Klopp was when they won the European Cup in Madrid in 2019, and Divock Origi only scored that goal in the 87th minute.

Their record of just one goal per game in finals is a massive contrast to their scoring form under Klopp. Across 380 matches under the German, the Merseyside outfit have averaged two goals per game. And without the controlling Thiago against Real Madrid, Liverpool are surely going to need to be able to score more than one goal in 90 minutes if they wish to avoid having to lift the trophy via winning in extra time or on penalties. 

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The Spaniard is touch and go for the final with a muscle injury but certainly stands a chance of a spot on the substitutes’ bench. Without him in the starting line-up though, a 1-0 win would be a huge ask against a Los Blancos side boasting the Champions League’s top goalscorer Karim Benzema (15 goals in 11 appearances) and top assist provider Vinicius Junior (six assists in 12 apps). Across all competitions, the pair have provided a combined 65 goals and 35 assists this season for the La Liga champions.

Luka Modric and Rodrygo, with five goals and six assists in Europe, can also not be underestimated by the Reds. Thiago is very much Liverpool’s own Modric – the man who controls the possession and dictates the tempo.

And how well Liverpool can control proceedings at the Stade de France will no doubt be affected if the Italy-born playmaker is only fit enough for the bench, or does not make the match-day squad altogether. Fabinho’s return will be a huge bonus in the holding role but Thiago’s quality on the ball is unmatched by Liverpool’s other midfielders. Their midfield is significantly better with both Fabinho and Thiago in it.

Though Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita represents a midfield trio still capable of inspiring Liverpool to a seventh European Cup, it is a three unlikely to provide the same control as one with Thiago in it would. Perhaps though, if the Merseyside outfit are more ruthless in front of goal than in previous finals, that will not matter.

Sadio Mane is in brilliant goalscoring form with nine goals in his last 13 games while Salah, on a mission of personal revenge against Real Madrid, scored from open play against Wolves on Saturday. He had only done so twice in his previous 18 matches before that and the strike, which saw him share the Premier League Golden Boot, will provide him with a timely confidence boost.

With Luis Diaz also likely to start and Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota on the bench, Liverpool have the offensive weapons to blow Real Madrid away. But to do so they must be more prolific than in previous finals, especially if there’s no Thiago. It could be a chaotic affair if he’s not starting.



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