Welcome to the debut of GraveTalk! My original starting post is being held back for now, but I think this will be just as good for a first post. Got a little bit of #FootballFever? Well why not get to grips with our Champions League Final: Liverpool Preview! Enjoy.
Back in 2005 a small, little-known football club called Liverpool FC reached something called “Champions League Final” for the 6th time. Having produced the greatest comeback in the tournaments history, Liverpool went on to win their 5th European Cup. Now 11 years on from their last final appearance they take part in final for an 8th time, coincidently under similar scenarios as in 2005. Let’s take a look at the 2018 Champions League preview.
Fun Fact: Liverpool are the ONLY British football club to have the ACTUAL European Cup in their trophy cabinet! Having kept the trophy after winning it for the 5th time in 2005! Haha Man U! Saying that, Real Madrid are the only ones to have two real European Cups having on it 12 times (Well maybe?)
In 2004/05, Liverpool started their Champions League campaign in the Third Qualifying round. They faced Grazer AK and won 2-1 on aggregate. In 2017/18 Liverpool started in the Play-Off (The new round replacing the third qualifier for a place in the group stage) and beat Hoffenheim 6-3 on aggregate. Liverpool just edging through both times.
The 2004/05 group stage, Liverpool just scraped through by needing to beat Olympiacos by two goals (They won 3-1 – The fantastic Sinama-Pongolle getting a goal too). However, in 2017/18 Liverpool managed to remain undefeated in the group easing through with three wins and three draws. Both groups featured a Spanish team!
Fun Fact: Liverpool had a 3-game winning streak, without conceding a goal, to Real Madrid in the European Cup (1981, final 1-0 and last 16, 2007 – 1-0 away and 4-0 at home) until Real Madrid ended that in the 2014 group stage (Madrid won 1-0 at home and 3-0 away). This doesn’t really count as these defeats came under Brendan Rodgers’ reign.
Liverpool cruised into the Quarter-finals in both seasons. 2004/05 Quarter-Final against Juventus was probably more difficult than the 2017/18 same stage opponent Manchester City. But both Semi-Finals proved to be quite exciting. In 2005, Liverpool faced Chelsea with the first leg (Away) finishing 0-0, Liverpool went through with an amazing goal by Luis Garcia 1-0 on aggregate. In 2018, against Roma, Liverpool won the first leg (Home) 5-2 and lost the second leg 4-2. Thrilling stuff!
Fun Fact: Liverpool have faced an Italian team the last 5 times they have reached the European Cup final) Including this one! (1984, 1985, 2005, 2007, 2018)
Another, similar scenario is the fact that Liverpool will be playing in red and Madrid in white – Just like AC Milan back in 2005! (Just forget about 2007, when the white team won).
Want another similar comparison? Well, in 2005 Milan had a player regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe – Andriy Shevchenko – and every shot he had was saved by Dudek! Fast forward 13 years and Madrid have a player regarded as one of the best players in the world – Christiano Ronaldo (Others regard him as an arrogant, little weasel).
Fun Fact: Liverpool have only lost 2 European Cup finals -both to Italian teams! (Juventus, 1985 and AC Milan, 2007)
On May 26th, Liverpool will travel to Kyiv looking to win their 6th European Cup and look to get back to winning ways against Real Madrid. One good comparison is that (Some people say) the squad Liverpool had in 2005 is the worst squad to win the European Cup (Even though the players were very under-rated) and in 2018 arguably the worst captain to play in the European Cup final could be lifting the cup (Jordan Henderson). The 2018 squad is probably worse than 2005 – ]#Yes Liverpool have some decent players, but they haven’t got the final experience nor experience at winning trophies like the 2005 squad had. So can the Spirit of Istanbul travel across the Black Sea and up the Dniepe River to Kyiv? Will Kyiv be home to another special night?
Benitez or Klopp? Well, Benitez is a proven winner, whereas Klopp… Klopp gets to finals! What a time to break your trophy winning drought! Hopefully, this year is Liverpool’s year. Bring on European Cup No.6! #KyivIsRed
Fun Fact: Liverpool are the last team to beat Real Madrid in a European Cup final – Way back in 1981!
Watch the UEFA Champions League Saturday 26th May, Live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm and Live FREE on YouTube by BT Sport
And remember, two ex. Sunderland players will be in the squad and one of them could be lifting the trophy! Just take a second to let that sink in!