Gary Neville sees a ‘weak point’ at Liverpool that will see them lose to Real Madrid on Saturday in the UEFA Champions League final. Only, he said the complete opposite in March.
Liverpool face Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday as the two teams compete in the UEFA Champions League final. It’s the showpiece event of the season and promises to be a fantastic game.
Predicting a winner is tough, too. These are the two most resilient teams on the planet right now. Each carries strengths that can win any game. But what about their weaknesses?
Gary Neville sees a ‘weak point’ in Liverpool that could cost them on Saturday. It’s something, he says, that Real Madrid can exploit.
“I look at Real Madrid’s midfield with Casemiro, [Toni] Kroos, [Luka] Modric and then [Federico] Valverde and [Eduardo] Camavinga and I think those five drive them right from the first minute right to the end,” he told The Overlap.
“And the last 15 minutes, I think Liverpool’s midfield is the weak point in their team.
“I think that midfield for Real Madrid – the five of them combined – I think that will see them win the game on Saturday.”
Liverpool’s weak point
We’re not sure we agree with Neville on this one. Liverpool’s midfield has looked incredibly strong this season when fully fit.
Someone else who disagrees with Neville is former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville. The now Sky Sports pundit said in March that while some see Liverpool’s midfield as a weakness, he believes it’s actually their strength.
“People say that the midfield at Liverpool is maybe their weakness – I think it’s their strength,” he told The Overlap. “Because the back and the front are so exceptional. Those two full-backs are forward all the time, they’re up there, the three up front go up there.
“That three in midfield, because of their discipline and their subservient nature – Fabinho, Thiago and [Jordan] Henderson – their subservient nature to the rest of the players means they just hold everything together.”
Okay, so maybe we’ll give Neville a bit of credit and assume he’s saying that Liverpool’s midfield is a weakness in the last 15 minutes because of a lack of depth. And there’s no doubt that Real dramatically changed games against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City late on with midfield substitutions.
But that’s a very niche weakness, really, and not one we agree with. Liverpool haven’t shown any slack in midfield towards the end of games.
The only real concern is whether Fabinho and Thiago will be fit for the game. We believe they will be – that’s what comments out of Liverpool suggest – but Jurgen Klopp’s options don’t look great if they can’t play.
We’ll cross our fingers. Injuries certainly could turn midfield into a weakness for Real to exploit.