Football News

Real Madrid predicted XI v Liverpool: Team news as Courtois explains how Conte influence could sway UCL final

By Ben Green

Published: 10:45, 27 May 2022

Real Madrid and Liverpool renew their recent European rivalry when they contest in Saturday’s Champions League final at 8pm (UK time).

The 2018 showpiece saw Los Blancos claim a record 13th European crown at the expense of Jurgen Klopp’s men, who went on to lift ol’ ‘Big Ears’ 12 months later. Four years on, and the two continental heavyweights converge on Paris for a sequel to their mouthwatering tie un Ukraine.

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Real Madrid team news vs Liverpool: Alaba in line to start

The only major question mark heading into the Parisian final this weekend is that of David Alaba, who hasn’t appeared for Real since their semi-final first leg against Manchester City in April. But, the Austria international has since returned to training and is very much expected to make the starting line-up, meaning Nacho is likely to make way. Other than that, Ancelotti has a clean bill of health to his squad.

Turning attention to more tactical matters, and Thibaut Courtois has recently been talking up the potential of this final going the distance and being decided on penalties. Were 120 minutes not enough to separate these sides, then the Belgian believes he could have the edge from 12 yards, even going as far as to suggest he may be one of the front-runners to step up from the spot.

Courtois famously bagged the winning spot-kick for Chelsea in a 2015 pre-season shootout against PSG, while he then skied a penalty as the west Londoners lost the 2017 Community Shield to Arsenal. Despite his volatile form from the spot, Courtois has hinted that he could be in line to step up in a tactical gambit that was first devised by ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

He said: “I remember in pre-season with Chelsea against PSG I scored one and in the Community Shield against Arsenal I missed one.

“(Antonio) Conte put me there because he knew I could shoot well, but obviously standing on the spot, in an important moment, is different.

“I wouldn’t be one of the first five (takers), for sure, but maybe after, if you need to shoot, you have to shoot. I don’t fear it. It’s a moment to shine.

“We won one (shootout) against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup a few years ago when I saved one penalty. This season I have saved three.

“You study ahead. Against Chelsea we had two penalties and you study them, because you can see the similarities. Hopefully it will not come back to that but if it does, I will be ready.”

Predicted Real Madrid XI vs Liverpool:

Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Ferland Mendy; Casemiro, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos; Fede Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior (4-3-3)