Here’s the Liverpool team that lost to Real Madrid in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final. Three Reds have since left the club.
Liverpool get the rematch with Real Madrid on Saturday as the two clubs clash in Paris. It will be their third meeting in a European Cup final, having done so in both 1981 and 2018.
And so it’s only been four years since their last such meeting. That came at the end of a pulsating UEFA Champions League campaign that, of course, ended in heartbreak. Some devastating mistakes and a ridiculous Gareth Bale goal ended Liverpool’s dreams as they lost the final 3-1.
Mohamed Salah, who went off early in that game, maintains that the Liverpool squad all hoped to play Real in this year’s final. It was about getting their win back, he says – not that Jurgen Klopp quite agrees with that.
But how many of Liverpool’s players would be out for revenge, then? Let’s have a look at who played in the 2018 final – most of whom could start in Paris.
Liverpool’s XI in the 2018 Champions League final
Well, we’ll start with the goalkeeper and the big talking point from that game. Karius made two horrendous mistakes in that eventually cost Liverpool the trophy. It’s maintained that the German had a concussion at the time but all we can say for sure is that he hasn’t played for the Reds since.
This was the Scouser’s breakout season and he’s gotten better and better ever since. Now quite undisputedly the world’s best right-back, Liverpool will turn to Alexander-Arnold as one of their key players in this final.
This would be Lovren’s last game as a genuine first-XI player for Liverpool. He’d stick around for two more seasons but only played a combined 33 games. And in truth, this was his best spell with the club – the Reds have upgraded since, however.
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool jumped from an also-ran to a Champions League contender when Van Dijk joined the club five months prior. He remains, in our minds, the world’s best defender and will lead the backline in Paris.
A £10m signing from Hull City to arguably the world’s best left-back – it was an incredible season for Robertson. He maintains his spot, of course, and will start against Real. Like Alexander-Arnold, he’s only gotten better.
Henderson did a wonderful job in this season as a holding midfielder but it’s never been his true position. The Reds would sign Fabinho shortly after the final and move their captain to a more box-to-box role. This was Henderson’s first European cup final as captain and Saturday will be his third – a club record.
Milner was out of the starting XI following this game but there’s a chance he starts the final this year. Thiago’s injury could make him Klopp’s best option. And just like in 2018, we can expect as reliable a performance as ever.
What a player Wijnaldum was for Liverpool. He left the club at the end of last season, of course, in what now looks like an ill-advised move to Paris Saint-Germain. Thankfully, he’d get his Champions League medal the following year – a fully deserved one.
Salah put in one of the all-time great Liverpool seasons in this campaign, breaking scoring records. Injury took him out of the final early, however, and he’s openly out for revenge this time around. Let’s hope he gets it.
This Champions League campaign was Firmino’s peak as a goalscorer – he was incredible. We’re not sure he starts the final against Real this time around, though, as he’s somewhat lost his place. But make no mistake – he could still have a key part to play.
Mané got Liverpool’s goal in this final but he’ll likely play a different role than he did in Kyiv. His new central role has him playing the best football of his career and he could well be the Reds’ star man in Paris.