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Liverpool dealt a defensive quandary with a forward form a major concern ahead of the Champions League final

Liverpool dealt a defensive quandary with a forward form a major concern ahead of the Champions League final.

Liverpool must put their disappointment at missing out on the Premier League title behind them as they aim to end the season as strongly as possible.

The Reds prepare for their third Champions League final in five years in Paris versus Real Madrid.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team is striving for not only a seventh European Cup in the club’s history – and a second under the German – but also vengeance.

In the 2018 final, Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Kyiv.

The next year, the Reds won the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

Klopp will be looking for an undisturbed week of training after finishing second in the Premier League with a 3-1 victory against Wolves.

Here, we take an early look at Liverpool’s squad’s present condition as the game approaches.

Goalkeeper and defence

Alisson Becker delivered an outstanding performance against Wolves.

With 20 clean sheets, he shared the Golden Glove title with Manchester City’s Ederson.

Alisson, who was called in after Loris Karius’ terrible performance against Real Madrid in 2018, is a foregone conclusion.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are also playing fullback.

Alexander-Arnold has had his best season to date, with two goals and 19 assists, while Robertson has created 15 chances and scored three times, the most recent against Wolves.

However, it is central defence that causes the most issues.

Virgil van Dijk was unable to play on Sunday after suffering a knee injury in the FA Cup final loss to Chelsea.

He did, however, exercise with his teammates prior to the game, and Klopp was most likely erring on the side of caution when it came to the Dutchman’s health.

The question is who will start alongside van Dijk.

This season, Ibrahima Konate has been van Dijk’s primary partner in the Champions League, starting five of the last six games.

Since joining Liverpool for £36 million from RB Leipzig last summer, the Frenchman has had a successful debut season. Liverpool remain unbeaten in Konate’s appearances, which is a stunning statistic.

However, Konate made his first big mistake against Wolves when he misjudged Jose Sa’s goal kick, allowing Pedro Neto to put the visitors ahead.

Klopp must decide whether to stick with Konate, 22, or go with the experience of Joel Matip.

The 30-year-old appeared in the 2019 final against Spurs so will be prepared to handle the occasion.


As Thiago Alcantara walked down the tunnel shortly before halftime against Wolves, the disappointment was palpable.

Given his previous injury troubles and abilities, he was one of the major players who supporters would have hoped would survive the game undamaged.

Thiago’s Achilles injury appears to be minor, according to scans, but the Reds are concerned about his fitness.

That will be a setback if he is unable to play, especially if Fabinho is also unable to play.

Fabinho has missed the last three games due to a hamstring injury, but Klopp is hopeful he will be ready for Paris.

In Fabinho’s absence, Jordan Henderson has been acting as a defensive screen.

Liverpool’s captain will be desperate to win a second Champions League.

If Thiago is unavailable, Henderson is a virtual lock to start alongside Naby Keita.

If both Thiago and Fabinho are cleared, Klopp will have to pick between his captain and Keita for the other place.

Thiago was replaced by James Milner against Wolves. If the Spaniard and Fabinho are ruled out, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are among the choices.

Up front

Mo Salah gave Liverpool a major lift by scoring the game-winning goal against Wolves after coming off the bench.

With a groyne complaint, the Egypt international went off in the first half of the FA Cup final victory and missed the win at Southampton.

In reality, Klopp’s choice to replace Salah with Diogo Jota is clear.

This season, the Portuguese has scored 21 goals in all competitions, albeit his form has waned recently.

Jota has scored in his last 12 games, and a grueling season that included 60 appearances for club and country may have caught up with him.

Real Madrid will confront a different Sadio Mane than in previous encounters.

The Senegal international is no longer a left-winger; his goal against Wolves was his eighth in 13 games.

For the first time, Los Blancos will be exposed to Luis Diaz’s raw abilities.

Since joining from Porto in January, the Colombian has left an indelible impression.

Roberto Firmino should not be overlooked, but Divock Origi has been ruled out due to a muscular issue.

Takumi Minamino will now be able to sit on the bench.


Liverpool dealt a defensive quandary with a forward form a major concern ahead of the Champions League final.

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