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Champions League final predictions: BT Sport's writers cast their votes for Liverpool vs Real Madrid
The BT Sport writers make their Champions League predictions ahead of Saturday night's final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Paris' Stade de France.
The big night has finally arrived. The 2022 Champions League final is on Satuday 28 May with the action available across BT Sport's platforms.
For the third time in European Cup history, the final will be contested between Liverpool and Real Madrid as the two giants battle it out for Champions League supremacy.
Will Jurgen Klopp's men get revenge for the 2018 final in Kyiv? Or will Real secure a 14th European Cup in the French capital?
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Tim Williams - Liverpool 2-1 Real Madrid
There will be no unprecedented quadruple, but Liverpool will bounce back from Premier League heartache and be crowned kings of Europe for the seventh time in Paris.
Memories of the fateful 2018 final against Real Madrid remain exceptionally vivid and Mohamed Salah has made it clear that he has unfinished business and is out for retribution four years on.
Thiago would be a seismic miss in midfield in what could be a compelling tussle for supremacy against the ageless Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, but Virgil van Dijk and Salah will return for one last push at the Stade de France.
The battle between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Junior could prove decisive - as could the form of top scorer Karim Benzema.
Granted, Madrid are streetwise and coached by one of the most prolific winners in recent history but Liverpool will rise to the occasion and end a fine season with a flourish.
Rob Cottingham - Liverpool 1-2 Real Madrid AET
Against any other team who'd endured any other path to the final, I’d go with Liverpool. But they are facing a Real Madrid side who seem destined to win a 14th European Cup.
You don’t spring three comebacks on the trot – against PSG, Chelsea and Man City, no less – without starting to believe it's your year.
Not to mention history always seems to be on the side of the competition's most successful team. On all four occasions since 2014 that Real have made the final, they've lifted the trophy.
Liverpool have the better players and Mohamed Salah may be out for revenge after Kyiv, but an exhausting season will have taken its toll on Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Reds will need to pick themselves up from missing out on the Premier League title in such emotional fashion to Manchester City.
Carlo Ancelotti's side have experience in spades across their squad and that ability to manage the pressure, plus Karim Benzema, will be the difference in Paris.
Chris Bryant - Liverpool 3-1 Real Madrid
Two globally revered football institutions with 19 European Cups between them. Two managers at the absolute peak of their powers. A sparkling collection of superstar players, all capable of bending such a prestigious occasion to their will.
Liverpool v Real Madrid is about as tantalising as it gets. Everywhere you look there are gripping sub-plots, from Jurgen Klopp v Carlo Ancelotti to the race for Ballon d’Or supremacy.
Madrid, of course, are in their most natural habitat when contesting this game in this competition.
You underestimate the Champions League’s ultimate clutch team at your peril.
And yet, that is exactly what I’m going to do.
We are right to marvel at the brilliance of Karim Benzema, the enduring class of Luka Modric, the breakneck thrills of Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, and the awe-inspiring potential of Eduardo Camavinga.
But forget all the talk of destiny. The escapology Real have displayed on the road to Paris borders on the absurd and their luck will finally run out on Saturday night.
Liverpool’s defensive unit, marshalled by the peerless Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, will not prove as accommodating as those of Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG.
As they’ve already shown in the 2019 Champions League final and the two Wembley wins over Chelsea in 2022, the current Liverpool vintage know how to manage these high-stakes one-off games.
Yes, they folded against Real in Kyiv but they have developed a true killer instinct in the intervening four years, while the Spaniards have arguably regressed from that high watermark in their most recent spell of European dominance.
Liverpool, put simply, are a better team and I expect them to show it by smothering Real from the off and reversing the scoreline from 2018 to clinch a historic treble.
Martin Robbins - Liverpool 1-1 Real Madrid*, Real Madrid win on pens
Real Madrid will feel it’s their destiny to win this Champions League, after securing three miraculous comebacks in a row.
However this mighty Liverpool team seem to have been reserving energy in the last few matches. I expect them to start with a bang and get the first goal.
Madrid will use their experience to slowly curb Liverpool’s pace and nick a goal back. The game will then peter out to a cagey 1-1 draw, with the Spaniards lifting the trophy on penalties.
More on the Champions League final
George Mills - Liverpool 2-1 Real Madrid
It’s been a while since we had a real humdinger of a Champions League final; the last three produced little that will live long in the memory outside of those involved in these spectacular occasions.
The 2018 final was perhaps the last great game on this stage, played between the very same two teams at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv - and I think we’ll see a repeat of that drama when Liverpool take on Real Madrid this Saturday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are undoubtedly the form team heading into the final having won three of the last four and remaining unbeaten since before the New Year. Madrid, meanwhile, have only won one of their last four.
But the Reds have not done it the easy way in recent weeks having conceded the first goal in five of the last six games; I believe Real Madrid will ensure that run extends to six in seven by drawing first blood Paris.
The Spanish giants are the most seasoned side in Champions League history and with the talismanic Karim Benzema enjoying a historic season as the tournament’s runaway top goalscorer, Madrid will be more than confident they can upset the odds to secure a record-breaking 14th trophy.
However, Liverpool’s relentless physicality and ruthlessness in the final third should provide plenty of opportunity for them to score, particularly against a Madrid side who have allowed the second-most shots on goal of any side in the competition.
The match will be won and lost in how Liverpool deal with Vinicius Jr’s lightning pace, exploiting the space behind the marauding Trent Alexander-Arnold; the Brazilian has been involved in nine goals for Los Blancos in the competition and has created the most chances of any player in the Champions League this year.
Ross Kelsall - Liverpool 1-2 Real Madrid
My head says a tough but ultimately convincing Liverpool win, but my heart says Real Madrid’s love affair with the Champions League will continue.
Los Blancos’ results in the knockout rounds have defied belief. They’ve been dead and buried so many times but clawed their way back to reach the biggest game in club football once again.
As much as the Reds have an incredible storied history in Europe, they are coming up against the undisputed kings and when Real Madrid make the final they invariably win it.
However, the Spaniards are facing a generational side in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and the treble-chasers rightly start as favourites.
Both sides have so many match-winners and that makes it tough to call, but I’m letting my heart rule my head and I’m backing Real to edge a classic.