Friday 20 September 2019

'It can affect any player' - John Aldridge reveals his one big fear for Liverpool in the Champions League final

Liverpool players celebrate knocking Manchester City out of the Champions League
Liverpool players celebrate knocking Manchester City out of the Champions League
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goal-scoring great John Aldridge has urged Jurgen Klopp’s players to ignore the fear factor when they take on Real Madrid in this weekend’s Champions League final in Kiev.

Most members of Klopp’s side will be looking to win their first major trophy in the biggest competition of them all on Saturday night, with Aldridge suggesting belief could be a key factor in the final outcome.

"Liverpool will be working on plans to nullify Cristiano Ronaldo, to target their keeper Keylor Navas and to find ways to make the most of the attacking talent in their side, but all that planning counts for nothing if the players freeze on the day," states Aldo.

"Klopp’s front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino can tear any team in European football apart and they have proved that time and again this season, yet the tension and nerves that come with a final of this magnitude can affect any player.

"This is one area where Real Madrid have a clear advantage over Liverpool, as they have won three of the last four Champions League titles and have players who turn up in big games.

"They also have an edge when it comes to the depth of their squad, with the substitutes Zinedine Zidane can call upon late in the game offering some world class options that Liverpool simply don’t have in reserve.

"Gareth Bale could be coming off the bench for Real Madrid in Kiev and that highlights the quality they have in reserve, with Liverpool’s best eleven players starting the game and needing to get the job done for Klopp."

Despite his words of caution, Aldridge is convinced Liverpool can lift the biggest prize in European football for a sixth time this weekend, as he is backing Klopp’s side to expose the flaws in the side that have lifted the Champions League trophy for the last two seasons.

"You can see weaknesses in that Real Madrid side that appear to be ready made for Klopp’s team to attack," he added.

"Tottenham pulled them apart at Wembley a few months back playing the kind of high energy football Liverpool promote and that could be a blueprint for how to get at Zindane’s side now.

"They are not great defensively, their keeper is prone to high profile errors and they don’t like teams attacking them with speedy forwards.

"We will see a game between a side that know they can win the Champions League and have players who have done it time and again coming up against a side that may feel this is their one shot at glory.

"That mentality can create unique pressures and I’m sure Klopp’s biggest wish will be that his team perform at their best because if they do that, there is a very good chance they will end up as winners."

Read John Aldridge every week in the Sunday World.

Online Editors

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport