Liverpool know £249m transfers have changed Champions League final destiny against Real Madrid
Jürgen Klopp’s first Champions League final as Liverpool manager didn’t end the way he would have liked, but the German boss moved quickly to reinforce a squad that could now execute the perfect revenge against 13-time winners Real Madrid.
Since that night, the Reds have made a number of signings, but there is a £251m investment across six acquisitions that could ultimately be the difference this time.
Los Blancos ran out 3-1 winners in 2018, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side will know that this Liverpool side is much-evolved since then, with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson much more experienced, while Mohamed Salah comes into the match with unfinished business.
As the Reds prepare to catch a seventh title that would match AC Milan’s second place tally, a history-defining night awaits for Liverpool in Paris at the Stade de France on Saturday evening.
A difficult night for Loris Karius saw Klopp look to spend big on a star between the posts, with Liverpool rarely having a stand-out goalkeeper throughout the entirety of the Premier League era. Now, they have one that is arguably the world’s best.
Liverpool fans kept a close eye on the 2018 World Cup on Alisson, who was heavily linked with the Reds, but it was difficult to imagine the impact he would make on Merseyside. The 29-year-old is now regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s history, having proven his relentless consistency as the protective ward in front of goal. A steal at £67m.
Ibrahima Konaté (£36m)
Former RB Leipzig star Ibrahima Konaté arrived on Merseyside with a notable reputation for being one of the best upcoming players in his position, and his performances this season have proved just that. Konaté has been trusted in the biggest games by Klopp this season and delivered. After a carousel of defenders came and went from Anfield, Klopp now has four of the highest quality at his disposal to deal with the threat of Real Madrid’s attack.
Just days passed from the date of the 2018 Champions League final before Liverpool confirmed the signing of then AS Monaco star Fabinho. The 28-year-old has since formed a granite lock in the Reds’ spine, providing the base for Klopp’s marauding attack to press with intensity. After picking up an injury in the FA Cup final, the Brazil international will be back for the Champions League on Saturday, and his presence against the fast counter-attack of the La Liga champions will be crucial to keeping the game under control.
Thiago Alcântara (£25m)
Many doubted the arrival of Thiago, with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believing that Bayern Munich wouldn’t have let him go without a reason, but it looks as though Klopp, as he normally does, saw something different. Thiago had a song crafted for his arrival while he was still on the plane to Melwood, and has formed a partnership with Fabinho in midfield that sets the foundations for dominating the game. An achilles issue picked up against Wolves means his availability for the final could come down to the final minutes before kick-off on Saturday.
Luis Díaz has made the left wing position his own since arriving from Porto, and he could be the most dangerous player on the night for Real Madrid to contend with. While Carlo Ancelotti’s side can make adjustments to deal with the threat in behind of Sadio Mané and Salah, there is not much a coach can do for trying to stop Díaz when he isolates a full-back.
Diogo Jota (£41m)
Jota’s clinical nature inside the box means Liverpool’s infamous front three of Roberto Firmino, Mané and Salah has now evolved once again. Klopp’s attack is capable of applying maximum pressure to Madrid, and after they only edged past an injury-ridden Liverpool side last season, the Reds will be confident of spoiling the Karim Benzema fairytale.