Liverpool are preparing for possibly their toughest test of the season yet this weekend, as they travel to Paris to take on Real Madrid in the 2022 Champions League Final.
The Reds previously faced Los Blancos in their first final in the competition under Jurgen Klopp four years ago and failed to claim the trophy, but are arguably looking much stronger this time round.
Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti’s side have looked like they could be on their way out of the tournament on multiple occasions but were able to punish their opponents that couldn’t put the game to bed.
Liverpool have proved themselves as a team that will never give up and have often fought back from behind in the Premier League - a characteristic key to their domestic success that saw them narrowly miss out on the title.
Saturday’s clash is a very unpredictable one and one thing we have learned so far this season is that you definitely can’t base it on statistics.
That said, there are some intriguing findings to be seen in how both teams have fared in Europe so far this season, which could give some indication of what we could expect at the Stade de France.
Despite many tipping Real Madrid as this weekend’s winners, it is worth noting that they’ve actually suffered four losses in their European campaign this season - three more than the Merseyside club.
Liverpool’s only loss came against Inter Milan in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie after beating them 2-0 in the first, while the Spanish club fell to defeat against FC Sheriff, PSG, Chelsea and Man City.
While some may see this as more deserving for Liverpool, it also shows that they have had to get through some of the world’s best teams in comparison, whilst also clearly being very capable of overturning a deficit in 90 minutes or less.
Liverpool and Real Madrid have both scored a similar amount of goals this season, with the Premier League side bagging 30 compared to Real’s 28.
Meanwhile, the Reds have conceded 13 goals to Real Madrid’s 14.
It is hard to place much between the two teams in terms of goal as these statistics make it very clear both are great in front of goal, with only Bayern Munich scoring more (31), while also both being solid at the back - despite conceding surprise goals to the likes of Villarreal and FC Sheriff.
Possession and passing
Liverpool’s possession percentage (63.2%) is significantly higher than Real Madrid’s (51.2%), which comes as little surprise given how dominating the Reds have been in Europe, and the face they also haven’t had to face the likes of PSG and Man City.
Also, in each of the final three rounds, Real Madrid spent a large period of time dominated by their opponent and fell to defeat in one leg every time.
For example, in their second leg against City, the Manchester club enjoyed most of the possession and also a lot more shots, however it was a late shock attack that knocked them out.
Ancelotti’s team have shown that they certainly don’t need most of the possession to win a game.
Fouls and fouled
Real Madrid have committed a lot less fouls than Jurgen Klopp’s side - 104 to Liverpool’s 138 - which is quite surprising, as you might presume they would often be battling for possession and are a lot more likely to foul the opposition if they spend more time off the ball.
Saying that, in a number of Real Madrid’s recent Champions League matches, they appear to wait for possession to be lost before they pounce and, more often than not, score.
It wasn’t often that their pressing and tackling seemed too much of a threat for whoever they faced.
Liverpool’s 138 fouls is the most of any team in the competition this year, however they have only picked up the 16th most yellow cards (14) compared to Real Madrid’s second most (26).
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have been fouled more than any other side (130), while only the La Liga side and Benfica have been fouled more than Liverpool (116).
This comes as no surprise when their rosters include the likes of tackle-magnets Vinicius Jr, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Looking at the statistics certainly hasn’t made this weekend’s final any easier to predict, with both teams coming very close in all aspects.
Both teams have been banging in the goals and it could all depend on how solid the two defences are, while Liverpool will know they can’t get comfortable given Real Madrid’s recent comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and Man City.
From two of the best teams in the world we can certainly expect some slick passing and most likely a more even possession percentage for each side, while it also wouldn’t be surprising if it was a rather dirty match - especially given how nervy and tense it could be inside the Stade de France.