Champions League Final Preview
The 2023/22 Champions League final is fast approaching, as Liverpool and Real Madrid are set to trade tackles at the Stade de France in Paris on May 28.
Europe’s elite club competition is reaching its climax, with the Reds looking to inflict revenge on Los Blancos following an unfathomable 3-1 defeat in the Kyiv showpiece in 2018.
These are two of the most successful clubs in European football, with Liverpool winning the premier European competition six times while Madrid have lifted the trophy a staggering 13 times.
As such, and given both teams’ global popularity, this game is likely to be one of the most-watched Champions League finals of all time, and this list of sites on TheSportsToday is an ideal starting point for you to find the best sports streaming site for you to watch this game as well as any other sporting event.
Let’s see how the Champions League finalists booked their tickets to Paris.
Liverpool’s Road to The Final
Liverpool enjoyed a stellar Champions League Group B campaign in the autumn, finishing top of the section with all six victories and an eye-catching +11 goal difference.
Jurgen Klopp’s men left the likes of Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Porto in their wake en route to securing a fifth successive progression into the competition’s knock-out phase.
The Reds scored two or more goals in all six group fixtures, averaging 2.83 per game during an utterly impressive march into the elimination stages.
Reigning Serie A champions Inter Milan were first to fall victims to Liverpool’s sublime form in 2023.
The Merseyside powerhouse cruised to a 2-0 triumph at Giuseppe Meazza in the first leg of their last-16 tie before slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Anfield in the return fixture.
Benfica, who finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in Group E, were no match for the quadruple-bidding Reds in the quarter-finals.
Liverpool pulled off an overwhelming 3-1 first-leg win in London and moved on to entertain the Anfield crowd with an action-packed 3-3 draw in the second leg.
Champions League surprise package Villarreal hoped to maintain their European dream and break into their first-ever grand final, but Klopp’s side had none of that.
Pervis Estupinan’s unfortunate own goal and Sadio Mane’s follow-up catapulted the Premier League giants to a well-deserved 2-0 first-leg win in England.
Unai Emery’s team came nowhere near Alisson’s goal on Merseyside, making everyone believe in Liverpool’s routine qualification for a third Champions League final in five years.
However, Villarreal’s sensational first-half showing at La Ceramica helped the Spaniards haul back a two-goal deficit before half-time and cast doubt on Liverpool’s showpiece credentials.
Klopp’s men looked tired and toothless in the final third, but Luis Diaz’s introduction at half-time completely changed the dinamics of the game, swaying it in the visitors’ way.
Fabinho paved the way for Liverpool’s jaw-dropping comeback midway through the second half before Diaz and Mane completed the turnaround, sending the Reds straight to Paris.
Real Madrid’s Road to The Final
Madrid claimed a comfortable top-table finish in Group D, leaving second-placed Inter five points behind, with Sheriff Tiraspol and Shakhtar Donetsk occupying the bottom two.
Despite winning five of their six group outings, a shocking 2-1 home defeat to Moldovan minnows Sheriff on Matchday 2 left a bitter taste in Los Blancos’ mouths.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men then headed into their round-of-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain as outsiders to make it to the Champions League quarter-finals for the second season running.
Kylian Mbappe’s last-gasp first-leg winner at the Parc des Princes fuelled Madrid’s fears of enduring another lackustre European campaign, but the tie took a sensational twist at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Mbappe fired PSG in front on the stroke of half-time to further dent Madrid’s progression hopes, yet Karim Benzema’s second-half masterclass turned the tie on its head.
The current Champions League top-scorer notched up an epic second-half hat-trick to take Los Merengues into an enthralling quarter-final tie against Chelsea.
Benzema picked up where he left off against PSG, hitting another hat-trick at Stamford Bridge as Madrid came out 3-1 victors in the first leg.
Thomas Tuchel’s side came close to staging a second-leg comeback, with Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner securing a 3-1 win in regulation time for the Blues.
However, Benzema, who has soaked up the limelight as this season’s Champions League standout performer, showed up again to rescue Ancelotti’s skin.
The Frenchman’s extra-time winner ensured Madrid’s 5-4 aggregate triumph, setting up an iconic semi-final showdown against Manchester City.
Epic Semi-Final Comeback
Madrid succumbed to a goal-friendly 4-3 first-leg loss at the Etihad Stadium, though it is fair to say they could have ended up suffering a heavier defeat.
Wasted scoring opportunities in England came back to haunt Pep Guardiola’s side in Spain, even though the Cityzens were a few minutes away for reaching back-to-back Champions League finals.
When Riyad Mahrez slotted home a devastating effort from inside the box in the 73rd minute, not even the most die-hard Los Merengues’ fans had any realistic hopes of another turnaround.
But second-half substitute Rodrygo came up huge to take the tie to extra-time.
The Brazilian winger drew Madrid level in the 90th minute and went on to bring the aggregate scoreline back to square one only 60 seconds later.
Benzema made sure to shatter Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for a number of goals scored in a single Champions League season (17) by converting an extra-time penalty.
Inspired by the talismanic veteran forward, Madrid have reached a record-extending 17th Champions League final.
Champions League Final Preview
The Paris showpiece could be a history-defining fixture for Liverpool.
The Reds, who already have the EFL Cup trophy under their belt, are bidding to become the first Premier League side to claim a coveted quadruple.
Klopp’s men are going toe-to-toe with Man City in the Premier League title race, while they are set to encounter Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 14.
Each of Liverpool’s four remaining league fixtures will be ‘make or break’ contests, which will ultimately serve to either build or crush their confidence ahead of the Champions League grand final.
Liverpool have been nothing short of impressive this calendar year, and it is hard to put it past them to achieve an unprecedented feat in English football’s history.
Excluding a Inter’s futile last-16 win at Anfield, the Merseysiders are unbeaten in all of their remaining 28 competitive matches in 2023 (W24, D4).
Los Merengues have found their La Liga campaign a stroll, dethroning cross-town rivals with four games to spare.
After cruising to a record-extending 35th league title, the Spaniards will have plenty of time to rest and prepare themselves for the upcoming showdown against Liverpool.
Madrid’s ageing squad led many to believe the old guns, including Benzema, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, would run out of steam this late in the season, but Ancelotti’s men have defied their doubters.
Not many teams in European football are superior to Los Blancos’ stalwarts in high-stake moments, and Ancelotti’s veterans will be out to silence the skeptics in Paris.
The record-time European champions have lost just three of their 16 Champions League finals and it is virtually impossible to write them off before the kick-off.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid Prediction
A piece of history is up for grabs as Mohamed Salah and co look to complete a stunning season on a high.
However, we back Benzema and his comrades to throw a spanner in the works and take home another piece of European silverware.