For the fourth time in five years Real Madrid are the champions of Europe, in what is an incredible feat not seen since the seventies.
The match itself was decent to good, not a special game but one which included a special moment and some absolute howlers. Bale’s first goal is one of the best goals I’ve ever seen, when you consider the stage it is made even better, his technique on the strike and leap to get to the ball were both really special. He may have only played about half an hour but he was the most impactful attacking player in the match.
Karius had one of those days, an ok goalkeeper playing on the biggest stage which turns out was too big for him. The first goal is a complete freak, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, however I sort of get how it happened. He could throw that ball out a thousand times and nothing would happen, he was just trying to keep a high intensity in play and got caught out. How many times does the ball get past Benzema? How many times does it come off his foot and go wide of the post? Almost every single time, yet here we are talking about a monumental fuck up which cost Liverpool massively.
The third goal killed the game and again Karius made a complete arse of it, this one however is totally unacceptable. This is poor goalkeeping technique, he gets caught in two minds between padding it down and putting it over, in the end he didn’t do either. It’s a shame for Karius because mistakes happen, it was a good strike and he got caught out. It’s even more unfortunate for him that he got caught out twice in the biggest match of his life, not the best time to fuck up twice with the two goals that ultimately cost his team.
Despite all of that football is a team game, you win as a team as you lose as a team, you never walk alone…well…that is you never walk alone unless your teammates think that you cost them the Champions League final. I thought the Liverpool players embarrassed themselves after the match, they embarrassed the club with their lack of support for their teammate. I understand that after the match you will be gutted at the outcome, however the one player who will be more distraught than the rest is Karius, who cares if he cost you the game, you go over and console him. To see Madrid players go over and console him after the match with no Liverpool player in sight, that’s pathetic.
Real were easily the better side in the game, basically outplaying their opponents throughout. I did find it odd that Liverpool came out in the first half an hour and didn’t really play their normal game (so good for the not changing shit). Liverpool played a very conservative game, allowing Real at times to hold possession, not the usual high press that we’re used to seeing from Liverpool. I can only assume that Liverpool knew that they can’t play their usual game for 90 minutes and that giving Real 15 minutes at the end to batter them wasn’t a viable option.
Prior to Salah getting injured it looked like Real would win because Liverpool looked nervous, were playing conservatively (not viable with their defence) and are just sort of shit, after Salah went off it seemed like a forgone conclusion. I think it’s fair to say that Liverpool have had one quality player this season, so to see him go off in the biggest match of his life is pretty disheartening for his teammates. They looked lost for ideas, they increased the press to try and combat the loss of Salah but it never really worked. They needed somebody to step up and simply put they lacked the characters and the quality to do so.
It was always going to be a big ask for Liverpool to actually win the game because they aren’t really of the quality required, however they matched up well against Madrid and then didn’t use that potential advantage at all. A lot of people will blame Karius for the loss, however I think Klopp is more to blame as he betrayed his philosophy and sent his players out with their hands behind their back, then lost control of the game after Salah got injured. He completely mismanaged the match and he and his players looked totally out of their depth.
Madrid showed their quality and experience in the match, I wouldn’t say they were brilliant but they got the job done with relative ease. It didn’t really feel like a final with the way that Real played with Liverpool throughout, easily scything through their defence and never looking under threat going the other way. Benzema, Ramos, Bale and Modric were all absolutely fantastic and Real generally dominated the match.
It’s weird to think that in two and a half years of management Zidane has won three Champions Leagues, something that nobody else has done in history. For all the world Zidane should be being talked about as one of the greats, if this was Guardiola the media would be cumming in their panties, yet personally I still don’t think he’s that good a manager. I couldn’t see Zidane being successful anywhere else and he probably doesn’t really care cause in the end medals are worth more than theory.
So there you have it, another year of European football and another year of Real Madrid being the champions of Europe. I felt it was a poor season of the Champions League with an average team and a below average team making it to the final. The results this year were all over the place and the teams which should have been making it to the latter stages managed to falter and fall on their faces. Football very much feels like it’s in a transitioning period and Madrid are taking advantage of that by adding numerous European crowns to their cabinet.
So what did you think of this season’s Champions League? Are you disappointed that Karius is walking alone? Are you wondering why Klopp decided to play conservative? Or are you too busy celebrating the fact that we won’t need to listen to endless shite from scousers? Well leave a comment and share those thoughts.