The Road to Kiev: View from the Other Side

Alex Rogers spoke to Sam Gilbertson, a Real Madrid supporter, about the Champions League final set to take place in Kiev this evening.

Here we go, Reds. It’s the Champions League final! The single most important game for the club in over ten years is upon us. For the last few weeks, I’ve thought about nothing but Kiev. I can’t even begin to describe just how nervous, excited and tense I am for this.

The only thing that is a worry is that we’re up against Real Madrid, the most successful Champions League team in history. I wonder if they have the same sense of nervousness as us considering it’s expected of them that they reach the final.

This is what I set out to find out. What is a Real Madrid fan’s perspective on the final?

For this piece, I contacted Sam Gilbertson, an avid fan of the Galacticos. Sam was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for us to show us their side to the story.

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So without no further ado, here are his answers.

It’s no secret that Liverpool’s front three has been, arguably, one of the best attacks in the world this season. Does the prospect of playing against this three worry you?

Yes. Salah, Firmino and Mané have been incredible this season and Madrid have been vulnerable at the back on more than a few occasions. You try and mark one of them out of the game and it frees up space for the other two so you have to give each of them the same care.

Real Madrid are undoubtedly the big boys when it comes to the Champions League, winning it three times in the last four years. What would it mean for Real Madrid to lose the final after a somewhat disappointing domestic season by Real Madrid standards?

It would be truly disastrous to lose the final and end without a major trophy. With Barcelona clinching the league and domestic cup, the only way to outdo their season is by winning a 3rd Champions League in a row and achieve something which hasn’t been done under the new format.

The expectation to win every final is prominent in every Madrid players mind, and Zidane’s. Of course, they’re used to this pressure but results are still demanded.

The general consensus from a lot of Liverpool fans is that our greatest chance at winning is to target Real Madrid’s fullbacks. What is your view on this?

There’s little doubt that the game will be won primarily in defence – both teams have problems at the back. Both sets of fullbacks like to attack and that often leaves space which invites players like Ronaldo and Salah to take advantage of.

It will be interesting to see how both Zidane and Klopp deal with this with their tactics and setup. I think Marcelo, in particular, will be told he can’t go forward as often.

There’s been a lot of talk from various sources saying Real Madrid expect a walk in the park, including Diego Torres from El Pais saying Zidane and his players are expecting their easiest final yet. What are your thoughts on this?

Most of the talk has been from the Spanish media trying to write stories and gain interest. Zidane has recently said it will be the hardest final he’s managed. The players will not be taking it lightly. Liverpool have a special European pedigree like Madrid. Both teams come alive in the competition.

And finally, what is your match prediction?

I’m predicting a goal fest, and hopefully a Madrid win with Ronaldo scoring. I think both sides will score but I’m going for a Madrid 3-2 win.

So there you have it! Do you agree with Sam? Or do you have an opinion that wasn’t mentioned?

Everyone at Rousing The Kop would like to thank Sam Gilbertson for being a fantastic sport just before the final. However, I’m sure he understands if we don’t wish him luck!

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