Thibaut Courtois has already claimed that Real Madrid will have an advantage over Liverpool in the Champions League final.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS after the semi-final last night, Courtois said that as Madrid have already wrapped up the La Liga title, they’ll be able to put full focus on the final.
“Liverpool are playing really amazingly this season, so it will be a really hard game,” said the goalkeeper.
“The only good thing for us is that we aren’t playing anymore for anything, we can rest really well for that game, whereas they are playing for the Premier League, so for them it will be a bit harder. But we just need to keep training well and do our best and hopefully win it.”
An early line in the sand from Courtois, let the mind games begin!
Liverpool’s intensity is an advantage
The point that Courtois makes is a valid one. Los Blancos ran away with the domestic title in Spain this year. After Barcelona’s early season struggles, Carlo Ancelotti’s side secured their 35th title last weekend with four games to spare.
That’s in sharp contrast to Liverpool who are slugging it out with Manchester City seemingly right to the bitter end.
In the midst of all that, the Reds also have an FA Cup final to think about on May 14th.
So in that respect, Courtois won’t be alone among the Madrid squad and neutral observers in thinking the Spanish Champions chances are enchanced.
Lessons learnt from Madrid
However, it may actually benefit Liverpool to keep playing with intensity right up until the final. We saw in 2019 against Tottenham Hotspur how a break leading up to the game can have a negative effect on the intensity of the teams.
On that occasion, Liverpool had three weeks to wait between playing their last game in the Premier League and lining up in Madrid.
That won’t be the case for Ancelotti’s men. But given that the final is more than three weeks away, if Real take their foot off the pedal now it may be difficult to push it back down against a Liverpool team who will have the bit between their teeth.
Jurgen Klopp will certainly be of that viewpoint. The Reds are notoriously sluggish after an extended break, it suits the German’s style of play to keep the intensity high right up until the very last second of the season.