Jamie Carragher is ‘confident’ his former club Liverpool will beat Real Madrid in the Champions League final but Gary Neville believes Jurgen Klopp’s side will leave Paris disappointed.
Premier League giants Liverpool and La Liga champions Real Madrid meet in the French capital on Saturday evening, with both clubs desperate to be crowned the best team in Europe.
Liverpool have enjoyed a stunning campaign, winning the FA Cup and EFL Cup and threatening to secure a historic quadruple before Manchester City clinched the domestic title on the final day of the season.
Real Madrid have also thrived under Carlo Ancelotti, storming to the Spanish title and beating Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City during a remarkable Champions League run.
Asked to give their predictions for tomorrow’s clash, Carragher told Sky Bet’s The Overlap podcast: ‘I’ve watched Real Madrid in the Champions League this season and they’ve lost more games in the Champions League than Liverpool have lost all season in all competitions.
‘Real Madrid are a very good team but they’re not as good as Man City and I don’t think they’re as good as Chelsea – even though they beat both of them.
‘You can spin it both ways with the spirit, the winning, the coming back, but they’ve carried a lot of luck in those games, which you need.
‘If you win every game in the last minute coming from behind, if you’re that good a team you don’t get yourself in that position all the time.
‘Man City should have battered them, they should have won [their semi-final first leg ] 6-2 at home – and then they’re 3-0 down at home to Chelsea.
‘Of course, Real can win – it’s a one-off game. I just think if City or Liverpool were playing Real Madrid in a one-off game, having their team and playing near their best, they’d win the game. I’m confident.’
Former Manchester United defender Neville disagreed with his Sky Sports colleague, saying: ‘I don’t think Liverpool will win the European Cup.
‘I’ve thought a lot about [the final in] Paris and I’ve thought about Real Madrid and why they’ve won their games, why they keep coming back.
‘I thought back to 1999 and how we kept coming back in games and winning late on. It was our midfield of [Roy] Keane, [Nicky] Butt, [Paul] Scholes, [Ryan] Giggs and [David] Beckham. They were absolutely phenomenal, beyond any level of what I’ve ever seen.
‘I look at Real Madrid’s midfield in Casemiro, Kroos, Modric – plus the two that come in late with Valverde and Camavinga – those five players drive them right from the first minute and right to the end. And Carlo Ancelotti interferes with them until the very end.
‘I think Liverpool’s midfield is their weak point and in the last 15 minutes that midfield for Real Madrid – the five of them combined – will see them win the game on Saturday.’
Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final but the setback did not traumatise Jurgen Klopp’s side, who went on to win Europe’s top club competition 12 months’ later.
Liverpool have been European champions six times – more than any other English team – but Real Madrid are the Champions League specialists with a record 13 wins.
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