In the run-up to the game, most people expected plenty of goals from both Liverpool and Real Madrid, in a game that was seen as a neutral’s dream.
Both sides have star men in their ranks in Mo Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo, and many expected the Champions League final in Kiev to be an end to end affair and packed full of action, and it certainly had the latter in abundance.
In the opening exchanges, you could say that Liverpool looked like the dominant force. They were moving the ball around the pitch well and forcing Real Madrid back inside their own half. Zinedine Zidane’s side looked slight stunned at the confidence running through their opponents, and if they were to have an impact, it looked like it would be on the counter-attack.
Then, on the half-hour mark, disaster struck for Liverpool. Mo Salah, who has been arguably the best player on the planet this season, had gone down earlier clutching his shoulder following a rough challenge by Sergio Ramos, and after trying to play on the left the pitch in tears with his World Cup campaign now under threat too. Real Madrid then lost Dani Carvajal just minutes later to injury too, as the first half fizzled out with the deadlock yet to be broken.
It was a different story after the breakthrough as the game came to life following an error from Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius. He looked to release the ball by rolling it to a teammate, but rather than find a red shirt, he found Karim Benzema who didn’t have to do anything more than stick out a leg for the goal to cross the line and send Real Madrid on their way to their record third successive Champions League crown.
Liverpool wasn’t behind for long though as they looked to get back on terms as quickly as possible. A corner from the right was superbly met by Dejan Lovren, who had done brilliantly to get above Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos, he headed the ball on for Sadio Mane to poke home and restore parity. This saw Zinedine Zidane call on Gareth Bale on the hour mark, and it didn’t take the Welshman much time to make the difference.
Bale’s first, three minutes after coming on as a sub, saw a ball delivered by Marcelo from the left that Bale somehow managed to direct the ball past Loris Karius with a superb overhead kick. It could quite easily be the greatest ever goal scored in the Champions League, eclipsing the strike by Bale’s manager, Zinedine Zidane, against Bayer Leverkusen all those years ago.
Real were now 2-1 up and Bale looked hungry for more as he hit a bit of a pot shot from distance that travelled straight at Karius in the Liverpool goal, however, the German somehow managed to fumble the ball into his own goal, seeing Real now extend their lead further, with 3-1 being the final score. It was certainly a tough night for Liverpool, and especially Mo Salah and Loris Karius.