It was a devasting night for Liverpool’s goalkeeper Loris Karius after gifting Real Madrid two goals and Gareth Bale scoring arguably one of the best Champions League final volley.
Liverpool started the game well with a good build up and pressured Real Madrid’s midfield however in the 28th minute Sergio Ramos locked arms with Mohammed Salah and collapse on him causing an injury to the Egyptian winger’s shoulder.
While many people are debating whether it was an accident or on purpose, this exposed Liverpool’s weak bench when Salah was forced off.
Jurgen Klopp sub on Adam Lallana and shifted the Liverpool formation from a 4-3-3 to a traditional 4-4-2 until half-time but reverted to 4-3-3 in the second half with Mane playing on the left instead.
The half ended goalless but Liverpool lost the lethality on the attack because, without Salah’s speed and threat, Real Madrid could shift their focus elsewhere.
Ironically, Klopp subbed Salah off early in some Premier League games to protect him from injury, therefore, losing the opportunity to score more goals to overtake Lionel Messi’s European golden boot and Real Madrid knew without Salah, Liverpool’s attack would lose their free-flowing play and their defence would have been exposed.
Nonetheless, the defenders played well for Liverpool but a really stupid mistake by Karius in the 51st minute gifted Karim Benzema the easiest goal in a final in his career after the ball Karius threw deflected off Benzema and rolled in.
However, Liverpool responded well when Sadio Mane scored from a setpiece 4 minutes later.
But the celebration was short lived when Zinedine Zidane subbed on Gareth Bale in the 61st minute and scored a sublimed bicycle 3 minutes later.
Since then apart from Mane, Liverpool lost their confidence on the attack but was still in the game until Bale took an audacious shot from outside the box in the 83rd minute which should have been an easy stop by a keeper.
It proved to be the final nail in the coffin in Karius’ career at Liverpool when the ball went into the net.
The game ended 3-1 awarding Real Madrid their 13th European title and their 4th Champions League in the past 5 years.
Even when Salah was subbed off early, Liverpool was still in the game, but the mistakes of the keeper proved to be too costly.
Learning from their defeat, I believe next season Liverpool could go on another incredible campaign in Europe’s most prestigious tournament with the addition of Fabinho and the incoming Naby Keita but there will be more signings which will increase the depth of the squad and now Klopp is seriously considering buying a world-class keeper.
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