Champions League

Liverpool can beat Real if they conquer their nerves - Alonso

2018-05-21 17:08
Xabi Alonso (Supplied)
Xabi Alonso (Supplied)

Madrid - Xabi Alonso believes Liverpool can beat Real Madrid and be European champions but only if they cope with the pressure of playing in a Champions League final.

Alonso won Europe's premier tournament with Liverpool in 2005 and Real in 2014, having spent five years playing for both of this seasons finalists.

Real are no strangers to this stage of the competition. They have reached three of the last four Champions League finals and won them all, with Saturday's showdown offering them the chance for a third consecutive triumph.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are without a single player to have experienced a match of this magnitude. Only their coach Jurgen Klopp has gone the distance in Europe, with Borussia Dortmund, who were beaten by Bayern Munich in 2013.

"They have to prepare for the game very well because Real Madrid have all the experience," Alonso said, in a video interview sent to AFP on Monday.

"For all the Liverpool players it will be their first Champions League final. They have to deal with this emotional side which is almost as important as the football side.

"If they can get the right balance between the excitement and the motivation, that will be the right way to approach this final."

Alonso thinks Liverpool will need to play "the perfect game" to cause an upset in Kiev but Klopps men have arguably Europes most dangerous attack in their favour.

Three of the four top scorers in this seasons Champions League belong to Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both on 10 and Sadio Mane on nine. Reals Cristiano Ronaldo is out in front on 15.

"Whenever they have space, Real need to control them," Alonso said. "They are able to attack through the middle of the pitch, they can connect with short passes very well, they combine very well.

"They are definitely one of the biggest strengths of Liverpool at the moment."

While Liverpool are gunning for their sixth European success, Real are chasing their 13th to move six clear of AC Milan in the all-time list of champions.

"They are making history, they are big and getting bigger," Alonso said. "What they have achieved in the last few years is not only a big surprise, a few years back you would think it was absolutely impossible.

"Zidane has done so well to manage the team and make the players have great belief in what he does. He has my total respect and admiration."

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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