Liverpool 1981 UEFA European Cup Final Winners

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Here's what happened the other two times Liverpool faced Real Madrid in a European cup final

Saturday will be the third time Liverpool face Real Madrid in a European Cup or Champions League final. Here’s what happened previously.

Liverpool face Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday for the UEFA Champions League final. These are two of the most storied teams in the history of European football, with the Reds boasting six titles already and Real a whopping 13.

Only AC Milan (seven) sit between them in the standings.

And so it isn’t really a shock to see that this isn’t the first time Liverpool and Real Madrid have met in European football’s showpiece event. This will be the third time, in fact, as they battle for the biggest trophy possible.

So what happened the last two times? Let’s have a look at the history books (even if we don’t have to go back too far for one of them).

Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid – 1981 European Cup final

The Real Madrid that went into this final wasn’t quite the same Real Madrid that heads into Saturday. They were still one of the world’s best teams, of course, but their European pedigree had faded somewhat. While this was their ninth final, it was their first for 15 years.

Liverpool, on the other hand, were playing their third final in five years – much as they will this season. Unlike Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, however, Bob Paisley saw his side win both of their previous efforts in 1977 and 1978.

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And they’d win here, too. Alan Kennedy popped up with an 82nd-minute winner in a pretty dull game, not that anyone in Red minded. It would be Paisley’s third European Cup – a record that stood until Carlo Ancelotti won his third in 2014 with Real Madrid. He’ll be in the dugout with Real this weekend.

And if that wasn’t enough for weird coincidences, this final took place in Paris. Much as Saturday’s will.

Liverpool 1-3 Real Madrid – 2018 Champions League final

Everyone will remember this one, of course. It’s one of the more memorable Champions League finals and that’s for all of the wrong reasons.

Liverpool did incredibly well to reach the final after an 11-year absence. No one expected them to do it but the signing of Virgil van Dijk transformed the team from also-rans into a formidable force.

Still, they were massive underdogs against a Real Madrid team that had won three of the last four, including the previous two. 0-0 at half-time was a decent enough scoreline, then – but things collapsed from there.

Loris Karius made two horrific blunders to gift goals to Real, while Gareth Bale scored a ridiculous overhead kick. Sadio Mané’s 55th-minute strike wasn’t enough in response.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Coincidentally, this would be Zinedine Zidane’s third trophy – equalling the records of Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti.

Saturday in Paris

Real return to the showpiece event on Saturday as they hunt their 14th trophy. Liverpool found their way back to the final following their defeat in Kyiv, however, as they beat Tottenham Hotspur in 2019.

That, says Klopp, means this will be a very different Liverpool team to the one Real last faced. It also means we should get a very different final – here’s hoping, anyway.

It’s a meeting that usually leads to history being made, too. We’ll just pray that it won’t be Ancelotti winning a fourth.

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