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Real Madrid heavy favourites to win UCL final

25 May 2018
This Saturday, Kiev will host the final of the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid are up for what could be their third consecutive win of the most prestigious club tournament in the world, while Liverpool will try to break the Spanish dominance with, as their own manager once described his preferred approach, "heavy metal football". Remiqz takes a closer look at both teams and shows that Zidane is likely to snatch up yet another Champions League trophy.

As appears from the data, Liverpool’s main strength is their front line. This is also reflected in their performance in Europe this season as Liverpool scored an incredible amount of 46 goals in the Champions League. Attackers Mohamed Salah (5193), Roberto Firmino (4913) and Sadio Mané are Liverpool’s best players based on the Euro Player Index (EPI). Cristiano Ronaldo (5751) is the only striker of Madrid that can match the trio of The Reds.

In the other lines, Real Madrid appears to be stronger than Liverpool in terms of EPI. The back four of Real Madrid have an average EPI of 4712 whereas Liverpool’s have 4203. This is, however, not reflected in the number of goals conceded. Liverpool conceded 16 goals. Real Madrid conceded one goal less although it should be mentioned that Liverpool played two additional games in the qualification round against Hoffenheim. On the contrary, this observation could be explained by the fact that Real’s opponents (PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich) were stronger than Liverpool’s (Porto, Manchester City, and AS Roma). The Madrid midfield also turns out to be better on average than the Liverpool counterpart (4707 versus 4321). The match odds based on the Euro Club Index put Real Madrid in favor with a 69% chance of a win. Liverpool is the dark horse with only 31% of winning the final.






The strength of the bench

Another remarkable difference between the two teams is in their strength on the bench. Comparing the composition of the bench of the last game in the Champions League shows that Real Madrid’s bench is much stronger than Liverpool’s. In the last game against Juventus, Zinedine Zidane could decide to bring high-quality players Gareth Bale (4697) and Casemiro (4785) onto the pitch. The average EPI of the players on the Real bench was 3793. Liverpool appears to lack some quality here. Klavan (3466), Moreno (3383) and Ings (2169) for example contribute to an average EPI of 3012 on the Liverpool bench. In games that might end up in overtime, the strength of the bench might become crucial in Saturday’s final.

Ronaldo versus Salah

Both sides have, of course, one big star in their team. Mohamed Salah, already awarded with the PFA Player of the Year award, showed his brilliance throughout this year’s Champions League campaign. Salah managed to score 11 goals in 15 games. Considering Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo has shown stunning performances in the Champions League over the last decade making him the all-time top scorer with 120 goals (qualifying excluded). In terms of EPI, Ronaldo (5751) outperforms Salah (5193) although it should be said that Salah improved 1061 points this season. Ronaldo broke the barrier of an EPI of 5000 already at the end of 2009, shortly after his transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid. Forever since he managed to keep his EPI above 5000. In that sense, it is highly interesting to see which star player will leave his mark in the Champions League final: superstar Ronaldo or Salah, the new kid on the block.