'I fancy them as slight favourites' - Roy Keane makes his Champions League final prediction
Roy Keane was highly critical of Liverpool in the first half of this season, but he has lavished praise on Jurgen Klopp's side after they made it through to the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev.
Former Manchester United captain Keane suggested he "wouldn't watch Liverpool if they were playing in my back garden" earlier this season, but he has changed his tune after Klopp's men plotted a route through to the final of Europe's biggest competition after a 7-6 aggregate win against Roma in a thrilling semi-final.
Defending Champions League kings Real Madrid scraped through to the final with a fortunate semi-final win against Bayern Munich, yet Keane suggests they will be a threat in the final despite Liverpool leading the competition's scoring charts this season with 40 goals (46 if you include the goals scored in the qualifying stages).
When asked whether he expected a free-scoring game in the final predicted both sides will attempt to outscore each other rather than pay too much attention to their defensive duties, Keane told ITV Sport: "I think that's exactly what's going to happen. Obviously it's slightly different as it's not over the two legs and there's different mentalities.
"We could look at Real Madrid tonight and pick holes in them, but they'll be doing exactly the same with Liverpool.
"Look at Liverpool, the young right-back (Trent Alexander-Arnold) had a nightmare, the goalkeeper (Loris Karius) was poor. So Real Madrid will be rubbing their hands as much as Liverpool will be that's why it's such an intriguing game.
"The one word I use for Real Madrid and always fall back on is quality. They still have pure quality in their squad and that's why I fancy them as slight favourites in the final.
"When you win a football match there's a great satisfaction when you play well, but to me it's just as good when you play badly and get a result and that's what Real Madrid against Bayern Munich in their semi-final."
Keane went on to offer his congratulations to Liverpool and Klopp after their run to the final, as he suggested the Reds were always assured of a place in Kiev after their 5-2 first leg win at Anfield last week.
"I never felt they were in any danger tonight, remember over two legs there were a couple of penalties that were never penalties," added Keane while analysing Roma's goals.
"They've got into some bad habits, a bit sloppy again. They've given some daft goals away, they've got into some bad habits.
"Over the last couple of league games they've switched off a little bit and you want to go into the final with some sort of momentum behind them and they've just got to be careful.
"Even tonight, a bit of pride has still got to kick in. I know they're celebrating but to lose four goals in a game should hurt you a little bit.
"I give them credit though. We would not have predicted at the start of the season that they would be in the Champions League final, but they have grown in strength.
"They reflect their manager's personality and they have recruited very well. They deserve to be in the final and they will fancy their chances."