Few clubs in English football are as proud of their history, particularly their European history, as Liverpool – and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to write a new chapter of his own on Saturday. Whether the Reds beat Real Madrid or not, this Champions League campaign will always be remembered for scintillating football and Mohamed Salah’s goals. But the German gaffer has the chance to follow in the path of Rafa Benitez, beating theoretically the greatest side in Europe with a Liverpudlian underdog.
Indeed, as the Champions League’s first ever back-to-back winners, Real Madrid are inevitably the favourites for the showdown in Kiev. But can previous meetings give Liverpool another cause for optimism? Here’s the complete history of Real Madrid vs Liverpool…
This will be Liverpool and Real Madrid’s sixth encounter in all competitions and from their previous five, it’s actually the Reds who come out on top with three wins opposed to two. Those victories, for both parties, have included a curious knack as well with all accompanied by a clean sheet – although that seems incredibly unlikely on Saturday considering the firepower both teams possess.
Liverpool fans shouldn’t be getting too excited just yet though; while their first three meetings with Real Madrid produced a perfect record, the Reds have lost the last two. Under Brendan Rodgers, they lost both Group Stage fixtures in the 2014/15 season by an aggregate scoreline of 4-0, ensuring a swift exit from the competition.
In terms of prestige too, while Liverpool are England’s most successful club in Europe’s top competition, Real Madrid are the most successful club indiscriminate of nation with an incredible twelve titles. That of course includes the last two, and three in the last four years.
Nine players have plied their trade with both Liverpool and Real Madrid, a cohort that unsurprisingly includes some of the greatest talents of their eras. Perhaps the most obvious are Michael Owen and Steve McManaman; the latter made a shock move to the Bernabeu from Anfield on a free transfer and won two Champions League titles during his time in the Spanish capital, whereas Owen lasted just a single season but still netted 16 times despite playing second fiddle to Blancos legend Raul.
Fernando Morientes and Nicolas Anelka, meanwhile, went in the opposite direction. The Spaniard won three Champions League honours during his seven years with Real Madrid, before trying his hand in the Premier League to significantly lesser success. Anelka, meanwhile, just couldn’t make his mark in La Liga and by way of PSG ended up spending a largely unspectacular loan season on Merseyside.
Alvaro Arbeloa and Miracle of Istanbul hero Jerzy Dudek also lifted a Champions League title with one of either club, while Antonio Nunez and Nuri Sahin endured underwhelming spells with both.
But the only player to bring Europe’s top honour to both teams is Xabi Alonso; he was part of the side that pulled off the miracle of Istanbul, scoring the equaliser to make it 3-3, and lifted La Decima in 2014 – although he unfortunately missed the final through injury.
Pretty much everybody is anticipating a thriller on Saturday yet Liverpool and Real Madrid’s only previous meeting in a European final was anything but, a 1-0 Reds win at Parc de Princes back in 1981. Liverpool will always be associated with vibrant attacking flair but this was very much a tactical battle, due to a mismatch in formations and footballing cultures, in which there were only a handful of clear-cut chances.
One of those, though, fell in the 81st minute to left-back Alan Kennedy, one of the real unsung heroes behind Liverpool’s huge success in the 1970s and 1980s. After latching onto a throw-in from namesake Ray Kennedy, the full-back galloped past one Real Madrid defender and charged into the box, before shooting beyond goalkeeper Agustin Rodriguez. The Blancos stopper was then forced into a succession of saves as Real Madrid’s attempts to score late on left them open at the back, but eventually Kennedy’s goal proved to be decisive.
That sealed Liverpool’s third European Cup, and made Bob Paisley the first ever manager to lift three.