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Old 24-05-22, 09:11 AM   #41
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I hope not. Bobby as some sort of advanced midfield option is something I would not like to see against the Real options.

Prefer to have solidity in midfield and players who are naturals in the role than trying to shoe horn Bobby in.

The one thing we know pretty much for sure about Real is they are going to start with three from Casemiro, Modric, Kroos or Valverde in the centre so we need our strongest available three in the middle.
No, definitely not have Firmino as an advanced midfiielder, just playing his usual role, which is a little deeper and more like a #10 than Mane
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Old 24-05-22, 10:27 AM   #42
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If one of Fab or Thiago make it then the starting midfield pretty much picks itself.

Fab
Hendo - Keita

or

Hendo
Keita - Thiago

It only gets interesting if both are out, if that's the case then I'd go with:

Hendo
Keita - Jones

Jones might not release the ball quickly at times but he's excellent on the ball and willing runner/worker.

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Old 24-05-22, 12:57 PM   #43
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I wouldn't like to see Jones vs that Madrid midfield. I worry enough about Keita as is but fuck me if our midfield was Hendo/Keita/Jones I think I'd have a heart attack. That midfield would get dominated by Madrid. We need Fab back and I think he will be. Thiago with such a fresh injury would be a miracle.
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Old 24-05-22, 01:32 PM   #44
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The lack of quality, depth and durability in our midfield has been an issue for a few years and now it's going to eat us.

Playing oxlade, Jones, or miner has rarely seen us maintain the top end quality.
Without fabinho, thiago and (to a lesser extent) henderson or keita we have definitely seen a reduction in our effectiveness.

The use of the squaddie midfielder has possibly been our achillies heel and allowed teams to get an unexpected draw.
Been competing in 4 competitions until the end and you say this. Sorry, but wtf?
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Old 24-05-22, 03:12 PM   #45
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Above is our Official theme tune for our 2021/22 CL campaign complete with footage a regular day in county Cork when me and the lads got into a dispute with a neighbouring village over what sauce goes into a breakfast roll.




and then below is our official half time theme tune.


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Old 24-05-22, 03:31 PM   #46
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The lack of quality, depth and durability in our midfield has been an issue for a few years and now it's going to eat us.

Playing oxlade, Jones, or miner has rarely seen us maintain the top end quality.
Without fabinho, thiago and (to a lesser extent) henderson or keita we have definitely seen a reduction in our effectiveness.

The use of the squaddie midfielder has possibly been our achillies heel and allowed teams to get an unexpected draw.

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Been competing in 4 competitions until the end and you say this. Sorry, but wtf?

Kind of agree with both- how can we be critical of this team, after the season we have had. 3 finals, and a points tally that would normally win the league. But I think it’s fair to say that for a few years, the midfield has been the weakest part of the team. I genuinely believe we have the best keeper in the world, the best back 4 in the world and the best front 3 in the world - we have a very good midfield but it’s definitely the area where we can improve, and the area where we lag behind some of our rivals. For example I think we were second best in both league games against city, because they won the midfield battle so comfortably. In a way it’s a good thing- we know where to improve the squad…
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Old 24-05-22, 04:01 PM   #47
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Old 24-05-22, 04:58 PM   #48
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That's the spirit, pick on a tiny portion and ignore the massive corporate scandal
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Old 24-05-22, 05:00 PM   #49
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That's the spirit, pick on a tiny portion and ignore the massive corporate scandal
You are right - they all should be stopped, fans fleecing fans of the same club is something I hate
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Old 24-05-22, 05:01 PM   #50
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Old 24-05-22, 05:32 PM   #51
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You are right - they all should be stopped, fans fleecing fans of the same club is something I hate
I'm going to say something unpopular here but if you're entitled to a ticket having watched previous rounds etc then I can't see the issue if you can't attend. Going rate seems to be about £2k and I'd rather Joe Bloggs who'd attended 4 CL games pockets it than some fat old suited cunt who goes to all the CL finals and couldn't care less who wins.

But, if they've been successful through the ballot having not attended any other games then fuck em
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Old 24-05-22, 05:40 PM   #52
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I'd rather Joe Bloggs who'd attended 4 CL games pockets it than some fat old suited cunt who goes to all the CL finals and couldn't care less who wins.
What about, if the suited guy takes his tie off, and ties it around his forehead?
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Old 24-05-22, 05:44 PM   #53
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wrong thread
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Old 24-05-22, 06:54 PM   #54
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I'm going to say something unpopular here but if you're entitled to a ticket having watched previous rounds etc then I can't see the issue if you can't attend. Going rate seems to be about £2k and I'd rather Joe Bloggs who'd attended 4 CL games pockets it than some fat old suited cunt who goes to all the CL finals and couldn't care less who wins.
Or it could just go to another fan that wasn't lucky enough to win the balot despite meeting the same criteria as them. The suits have already got their tickets and will still get their cut of the face value of that one.
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Old 25-05-22, 02:08 AM   #55
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What about, if the suited guy takes his tie off, and ties it around his forehead?
excellent question
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Old 25-05-22, 10:17 AM   #56
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Story in The Athletic on Salah and his potential revenge

Mohamed Salah, Real Madrid and revenge
Nick Miller
May 25, 2022



It’s a question — like, “You don’t mind, do you?”, or “Does size matter?” — that is very rarely answered honestly.

When the BT Sport gang asked Mohamed Salah, in the immediate aftermath of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final win over Villarreal, which of Manchester City or Real Madrid he would prefer to play in the final, they probably thought he would give the standard, stock answer. “I don’t mind, both are great teams, I’m just happy we’re in the final, either will be a tough game,” blah, blah, blah.

Instead, Salah moved his head from side to side as if weighing his options up, and said “Well… yeah… I want to play Madrid. I have to be honest. If you ask me personally, I want to play Madrid. Because we lost in the final against them!”

Then he doubled down, tweeting the following evening after Real had completed that extraordinary comeback against City: “We have a score to settle.”


And just in case we didn’t get the message, the following day at the Football Writers’ Association awards dinner, he was asked, “Do you see it as a revenge mission?”

“Yeah. We lost in the final (in 2018). It was a sad day for all of us but… it’s revenge time.”

This, of course, is not just a player wanting to get one over on a team he lost to four years ago. It’s a man who still clearly feels aggrieved that his first Champions League final was brought to a premature end. A man who thought a record-breaking debut season at Liverpool was building to a perfect climax. A man who was felled by an excessively aggressive opponent at best, or at worst deliberately targeted by football’s most decorated hatchet man.

“Salah will never forget the incident with Ramos,” Hamdi Nouh, one of Salah’s first coaches with Al Mokawloon in Egypt, said in 2021.

Nouh would appear to be correct, even though Sergio Ramos, the man whose challenge/wrestling move in Kyiv is at the heart of the payback plot, is now a PSG player.

Let’s go back to May 26, 2018, the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv. It’s 0-0 in the first half of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool. There’s a lot going on, but we’re about to see the genesis of some long-running beef.

It was an innocuous enough incident, or at least felt that way at the time, and it potentially stemmed from an incorrect decision in Liverpool’s favour in the 25th minute. Marcelo and Gini Wijnaldum were challenging for the ball on the Liverpool right, about a third of the way inside the Real half. The ball appeared to come off Wijnaldum and bounce out of play. The linesman indicated a Real throw, but he was overruled by the referee.

Trent Alexander-Arnold tossed the throw into a pocket of space. Ramos had been shadowing Salah from the start of the game, and followed as the Egyptian darted infield to collect Alexander-Arnold’s throw.


Ramos tried once to grab Salah around the shoulders, couldn’t get a good enough grip so then, at the second attempt, locked Salah’s right arm underneath his left, and dragged them both to the ground, Salah spinning around in the middle of the fall and landing on his left shoulder. Ramos had a slightly softer landing: on Salah himself, which caused the problem.
Salah was immediately in agony, but there was a nearby knight in gleaming white Adidas armour to wave over the physios and offer instant and sincere sympathy: Sergio Ramos.

After a couple of minutes’ treatment, Salah gets up and jogs over to the touchline, touching his shoulder, and tries to carry on. A minute or so later, Sadio Mane wins a corner, but Salah lurks at the edge of the box and hunches over, hands on his knees, clearly in pain.

Then he goes down again, lying flat on his back with his hands over his face. By then he knows. He knows his game is done. He’s on the brink of tears and the realisation is starting to dawn on him that his first Champions League final is over.

The physios come on to administer more treatment but it’s no use: the tears are flowing now, and he has to trudge off. Adam Lallana — who had suffered an injury-hit season himself and had only managed 16 minutes of football in nearly two months — comes on instead.

The TV coverage cuts to Ramos and his face appears on the big screens in the stadium. Boos ring out. They know.

Ramos wasn’t done there, of course. In the second half he barged into Loris Karius in the Liverpool goalmouth: as with Salah, you can draw your own conclusions as to whether he deliberately tried to hurt and debilitate an opponent, but Liverpool later said that Karius was concussed by way of explaining his later catastrophic errors.

Those errors eventually resulted in a 3-1 win for Real — their fourth Champions League title in five seasons. We didn’t realise it at the time, but it would turn out to be the last Real game for both Zinedine Zidane (temporarily) and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sometime after the final whistle, a group of journalists were waiting in the mixed zone, where players theoretically stop to speak to the media, in the hope of getting a few words from Ramos. The Real captain was the last player to emerge, carrying the Champions League trophy. An English reporter asked if they could have a word. Ramos said “Yes”, nodding at the silverware on his way out of the stadium.

Nusret Gokce — known better as Salt Bae — was hanging around like some sort of Instagram vulture and accosted a visibly still upset Salah for a picture after the game. With the implausibly famous steak-seasoner pouting and pointing at the camera, Salah stands there looking dazed with a Liverpool tracksuit top draped around his shoulders, nothing but a sling on underneath. Mr Bae also got photographs with the slightly more willing Ramos, Ronaldo, Marcelo and Gareth Bale after the game.

It was initially thought that Salah’s shoulder had been dislocated. Ultimately it turned out that he “only” sprained ligaments, not that it matters hugely: Liverpool’s most dangerous attacker had been eliminated from the final and while he did go on to score twice for Egypt at that summer’s World Cup, he missed their first game and looked off the pace. The damage had been done — the precise definition of the damage wasn’t really important.

Salah, though, was presumably comforted deeply by Ramos’s post-match tweet.

In the days following the final, over 500,000 people signed a petition demanding that FIFA “take measures” against Ramos, who, the initiator of the petition claimed, “represents an awful example to future generations of football players”. The European Judo Union weighed in, identifying Ramos’s move — waki-gatame, apparently — and declaring it “dangerous” and explaining it is “not allowed in Judo to use for transition to ne-waza”.

An Egyptian lawyer called Bassem Wahba filed a €1 billion lawsuit on behalf of Salah and the whole of Egypt for “deliberately” hurting the forward and thus jeopardising the country’s chances at the World Cup. “The whole world saw that (Ramos hurt Salah),” Wahba said, “and we can consider that a crime. Unfortunately, the law does not impose sufficient penalties on that point, but it is the fault of the law, not our fault.”

Did he mean it? Ramos has always denied it, saying in 2019: “It’s part of my life, I have to deal with it… but I have a clear conscience. I would never hurt a fellow player on purpose.”

But former Egyptian striker Mido — admittedly not an entirely impartial observer — voiced the thoughts of many. “Anyone who understands football knows that Sergio Ramos intentionally injured Salah,” he said.

Ramos was also given a tip of the hat by a fellow grand old man of the dark arts. “What he did to Salah was a masterstroke,” said the Italy centre-back Giorgio Chiellini in 2020. ”He, Sergio the master, has always said that it was unintentional but he was aware that falling in the way that he did, without loosening his grip on that hold, nine times out of ten you can break your opponent’s arm.”

Ramos, for his part, played the role of cartoon villain superbly, speaking to the media a week or so after the final.

“Bloody hell, they have given this Salah thing a lot of attention,” he said. “I didn’t want to speak because everything is magnified. I remember the play well: he grabs my arm first and I fell to the other side, the injury happened to the other arm and they said that I gave him a judo hold. After that the goalkeeper said I dazed him with a clash.

“I spoke with Salah through messages, he was quite good. He could have played on if he got an injection for the second half. I have done it sometimes but when Ramos does something like this, it sticks a little bit more. I am only missing Roberto Firmino saying he got a cold because a drop of my sweat landed on him.”

Suitably arch. For his part, Salah quibbled with the idea that all was forgiven.

“He sent me a message, but I never told him it was ‘OK’,” said Salah, shortly after arriving in Russia for the World Cup. “My comment is that it’s always OK when the one who made you cry first, then makes you laugh. Maybe he could also tell me if I’m going to be ready for the World Cup?”

Also, just after landing in Russia, Salah had to deal with an over-enthusiastic fan who, after the player agreed to a quick selfie before getting on the team bus, grabbed the forward around the injured shoulder as he tried to take the picture. Salah looked suitably horrified, and the fan was shooed away by security.

While the whole thing still sticks with Salah, what of his Liverpool team-mates? It was obviously still on Dejan Lovren’s mind when Croatia played Spain in November 2018, proudly bragging that he had given Ramos a little extra elbow when they came up against each other. “Did I deliberately hit Ramos after hurting Salah? Yes, this is possible,” Lovren said afterwards. “I think that what Ramos did was intentional to injure my friend, so it was time to pay for what he has done.”

Ramos was also booed when Spain played England that year. “Of course, I would have liked another reception,” he said, “because they remember a specific action in the final, but not the death threats that my family has received. My conscience is clear, because I wasn’t trying to do any harm.”

A quieter form of protest came when Real were trying to woo Harvey Elliott, then with Fulham, before Liverpool signed him in 2019. Real gave Elliott the big tour of the Bernabeu and their training ground, and when they came to Ramos’s shirt, hanging up in the dressing room, they mentioned that Elliott could meet Real’s then captain if he wanted.

“No, it’s OK, thanks,” Elliott replied. “I don’t like him after what he did to Mo Salah.”

James Milner was, as you might expect, a little more circumspect on the topic, but did hint at the idea of some unfinished business.

“We’ve trained at their training ground two or three times when we’ve played in Madrid and they have all the big European Cups as you drive in and it says ‘Kyiv’ under that one. And you think, ‘That could have been ours’,” he recently told Alan Shearer in an interview for The Athletic. “I think it’ll be a great game and one we definitely owe them. It would be nice to get one back on them.”

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, initially wasn’t keen to talk about the game or the incident, declining to discuss it in his first press conference of the following pre-season, but by the time he spoke to the media again on Liverpool’s pre-season trip to America, he had loosened up a little.

“We are opening that bottle again?” he said, when asked about the incident, before embarking on a 10-minute answer to the question.

“If you watch it back and you are not with Real Madrid then you think it is ruthless and brutal. You don’t think, ‘Wow, good challenge’.

“I’m not sure if it is an experience we will have again — go there and put an elbow to the goalkeeper, put their goalscorer down like a wrestler in midfield and then you win the game. That was the story of the game.

“Ramos said a lot of things that I didn’t like. As a person, I didn’t like the reactions of him. He was like, ‘Whatever, what do they want? It’s normal’. No, it is not normal.

“If you put all of the situations of Ramos together, and I have watched football since I was five years old, then you will see a lot of situations with Ramos.”

If living well is the best revenge, then Liverpool got some form of payback a year later when they did win the Champions League (Real having been knocked out by Ajax), beating Tottenham in the final, partly thanks to an early Salah penalty.

“I am very glad to play a second final in a row and play 90 minutes, finally!” he said after the game. “I looked at the photo (of himself in a sling) to motivate myself to win the final this time. I thought I needed to remember it. Honestly, I didn’t look at it for a long time. It was something I used to motivate myself and I only looked at it once and I thought: ‘OK, this will not happen again, let’s go out and win’.”

And Liverpool have faced Real since, but the circumstances could not have been more different: it was in the 2020-21 quarter-final, behind closed doors, injuries meant Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips were their centre-backs, Ramos didn’t play and Real won 3-1 on aggregate.

The closest Salah and Ramos have come to facing off was at the 2018 UEFA Player of the Year awards. On his way back from the stage where he had been named as defender of the year, Ramos tapped Salah on the shoulder — the left shoulder, of course — while Salah stared blankly ahead, not acknowledging his foe.

Before that 2021 game, Klopp said: “It has nothing to do with 2018, but when we got the draw and it was the first time we played Real Madrid since then, of course I remembered the game. I said after the game that, if someone asked me a week or a month later if I would invite Sergio Ramos to my 60th birthday, I would have said no. (Now) I would think about it again.

“He’s a great footballer but I didn’t like what happened that night. It was a strange night for us, but it’s long ago and I cannot get that feeling, that anger, back so I don’t even try. We are not on a revenge tour.”

Maybe Klopp wasn’t then, and isn’t now. But Salah is. If a Champions League final between teams that have 19 titles between them needs more edge, here it is.
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Old 25-05-22, 12:09 PM   #57
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Old 25-05-22, 12:10 PM   #58
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Old 25-05-22, 12:11 PM   #59
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Can watch it here

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Old 25-05-22, 12:16 PM   #60
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I feel like Fabs missus wouldn't be counting down to Paris so often if he wasn't 100%
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Old 25-05-22, 12:16 PM   #61
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Can't see Thiago making it for Saturday.

Fabinho being back would be really useful though
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Old 25-05-22, 12:18 PM   #62
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Can't see Thiago making it for Saturday.

Fabinho being back would be really useful though
A fit Fabinho would be really useful, he didn't look fit in his last game.
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Old 25-05-22, 12:35 PM   #63
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"yet"

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Old 25-05-22, 12:55 PM   #64
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Old 25-05-22, 01:17 PM   #65
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Just inject the fuck out of him and get 60mins.
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Old 25-05-22, 01:20 PM   #66
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Old 25-05-22, 01:29 PM   #67
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Bit of an anti climax this game for me as the league was the one. Or put it like this, I still haven't digested the fact we ended up not winning the league as I was convinced City would collapse - which they nearly did!

But it's great to be able to win it for the 7th time though and beat Madrid and win the treble which would be a fantastic achievement from this team. I'll be fully on board and rocking by Saturday morning
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Old 25-05-22, 01:38 PM   #68
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Bit of an anti climax this game for me as the league was the one. Or put it like this, I still haven't digested the fact we ended up not winning the league as I was convinced City would collapse - which they nearly did!

But it's great to be able to win it for the 7th time though and beat Madrid and win the treble which would be a fantastic achievement from this team. I'll be fully on board and rocking by Saturday morning
The opposite for me. I had no nerves going into the league game, or much regret after. It was always City's title. But this CL final is different. There is no weighting. It's a chance for us to be the second best team in Europe and I'm nervous as hell already.
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Old 25-05-22, 01:39 PM   #69
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We’ve struggled to win the biggest games this season (four draws with Chelsea and 2 with City). Just that FA cup semi against city won in 90 mins. That, and the fatigue that must come with playing every game, makes me less than super confident for this final. That said, I’d happily take another win in ET or Pens, ultimately.
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Old 25-05-22, 01:45 PM   #70
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We’ve struggled to win the biggest games this season (four draws with Chelsea and 2 with City). Just that FA cup semi against city won in 90 mins. That, and the fatigue that must come with playing every game, makes me less than super confident for this final. That said, I’d happily take another win in ET or Pens, ultimately.

Good point that.

I will be surprised if we win that final easily. It’s going to be one of those long stressful nights. Real are too good and their counter attacking threat is daunting.
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Old 25-05-22, 01:59 PM   #71
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Good point that.

I will be surprised if we win that final easily. It’s going to be one of those long stressful nights. Real are too good and their counter attacking threat is daunting.

Next to zero chance of it being easy

Is a genuine 50/50 match up imo with their strengths countering ours and vice versa.

Great to see a final where both teams are so good and so well matched. Well as long as we win it will be great
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Old 25-05-22, 02:54 PM   #72
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Old 25-05-22, 02:58 PM   #73
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Yesssssss. Things are looking much brighter than they were on Monday.
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Old 25-05-22, 03:05 PM   #74
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Get in! A great day of injury news
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Old 25-05-22, 03:19 PM   #75
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Was about this time last year many were talking about how disappointing Thiago had been. He’s now absolutely pivotal to us winning the CL Final
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Old 25-05-22, 03:33 PM   #76
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That is fabulous.
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Old 25-05-22, 03:45 PM   #77
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Was about this time last year many were talking about how disappointing Thiago had been. He’s now absolutely pivotal to us winning the CL Final

And some were most certainly not doing so. Been on the Thiago Choo choo from day one. Guy could have taken a nap on the pitch and I would have found a way to excuse it and claim it was some sort of genius move.
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Old 25-05-22, 06:34 PM   #78
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Next to zero chance of it being easy

Is a genuine 50/50 match up imo with their strengths countering ours and vice versa.

Great to see a final where both teams are so good and so well matched. Well as long as we win it will be great
Agreed. Think the big issue is Vinicius (rather than Benzema)...unless Bale does another worldie.
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Old 25-05-22, 07:14 PM   #79
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As much as we might deny it, Trent has been targeted this year, he’s perceived as our weak link defensively, so I expect Madrid to do the same, Modric to Vinicius will be the most attempted pass imo. How confident are we that a) Trent to keep up with Vinicius jr and stop him getting balls into Benzema, and b) that, simultaneously, Trent will be able to overlap and play his attacking role? Feels like the result of that battle could be the difference.
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Old 25-05-22, 07:37 PM   #80
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As much as we might deny it, Trent has been targeted this year, he’s perceived as our weak link defensively, so I expect Madrid to do the same, Modric to Vinicius will be the most attempted pass imo. How confident are we that a) Trent to keep up with Vinicius jr and stop him getting balls into Benzema, and b) that, simultaneously, Trent will be able to overlap and play his attacking role? Feels like the result of that battle could be the difference.
We will rely on Hendo and Mo to be diligent or stop them at source
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