Jason McAteer predicts Liverpool FC v Real Madrid in Champions League final
The Liverpool FC legend explains why the Reds need to make a brisk start to their Champions League final
Jason McAteer believes the opening 30 minutes will be crucial to Liverpool FC’s chances of beating Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.
The Reds booked their place in the European showpiece thanks to a 7-6 aggregate win against Serie A giants AS Roma in the semi-finals.
Liverpool FC stormed into commanding leads in both of their home legs against FC Porto, Manchester City and AS Roma in the previous three rounds.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have developed a reputation for their attacking brand of play, while the Red tend to adopt a high press irrespective of the opponent.
Liverpool FC will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final as Zinedine Zidane’s side look to win the competition for a third successive season.
Former Reds midfielder McAteer believes Liverpool FC need to make a fast start against Real Madrid to have any hope of beating the 12-time winners.
“It’s a fascinating match-up,” McAteer, speaking exclusively to 888sport.
“Liverpool have stayed away from the big boys aside from City and this is their true test. It’s a one-off game. I always felt a two-legged Champions league tie played into Liverpool’s hands.
“People say Liverpool can beat anyone over ninety minutes but I’m not really having that: I’m having it over two legs. That’s when they can beat anybody because they get them back to Anfield. Psychologically the home game was always the winner for Liverpool, the banker.”
“Now it’s completely different and they’re going into the unknown against a side looking to make it three from three. The Real Madrid players have played in World Cup finals, they live for these moments. Ronaldo, Kroos, Ramos, Marcello, Bale, the list is endless and this is their stage; where they come alive and perform.”
“Liverpool are so inexperienced at this final hurdle and that might be the difference. Tactically there are two ways of looking at it. You can try and stay in the game for as long as you can and nick something on the break or go with your Anfield game-plan and set out at a hundred miles an hour. You press high and win it high up the pitch and you’re clinical with the energy and pace in that early half an hour. That’s what it comes down to – who is clinical – and, for want of a better word, who has the biggest b*****ks.”
Liverpool FC lost both home and away against Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage in 2014-15.
However, the Reds were 5-0 aggregate winners against the Spanish side in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2009.
The Merseyside emerged as 1-0 winners in their only previous meeting in a European Cup final in 1981.
Read the full 888sport interview with Jason McAteer, including his thoughts on Real Madrid’s ticking time-bomb in defence.