Luis Garcia has explained to Liverpool that Real Madrid are the one side that they cannot underestimate.
The two sides meet in the Champions League final on Saturday in a repeat of the 2018 final which saw the Reds fall to a 3-1 defate in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
The last time the Spaniards lost a European Cup final was against Liverpool in Paris in 1981, but despite Madrid only qualifying through the last three rounds of the competition with late goals, Garcia has warned Jurgen Klopp’s side of the threat the Los Blancos will carry.
“Against Real Madrid you never know because we’ve seen City, Chelsea, PSG – different styles and ways of playing – and they managed to get results,” he said (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo).
And when asked about Carlo Ancelotti’s side’s determined mindset, the ex-Red believes that is one of the main characteristics that has ensured Madrid have tasted so much success in this competition.
“We’ve seen it. There’s no other team that has won the competition three times in a row, there is no team that has managed to get 13 European Cups. If there’s one team you have to worry about in the final, it’s Real Madrid.
“I think they would have been more afraid had the knockout stage for Real Madrid been different. It looked like they were not in the best moment and I don’t know how they managed to pull off results and make comebacks against amazing teams. It is very difficult to see this team out of the competition. (Mohamed) Salah made a point of saying ‘we want Real Madrid’ because of what happened back then and I think it is going to be a great game. Liverpool will need to bring their A-game because you cannot put Madrid on the side for any minute because they will come back.
READ MORE: ‘Let’s do it’ – Fabinho in good spirits as he returns to full training ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final clash with Real Madrid
Garcia, who won the Champions League with Liverpool back in 2005, was keen to highlight that Real Madrid fans are wary of the threat that Klopp’s side carries with them and he’s expecting an ‘open’ game in the French capital.
“They [Real Madrid fans] know Liverpool is one of the toughest teams you can find in the competition because of the rhythm they put on the game and the amazing strike force they have up front. It looks like the team is very balanced with Fabinho in the middle. Thiago has been in fantastic form and we all know (Joel) Matip, (Ibrahima) Konate and (Virgil) Van Dijk have been in great form. They know it’s going to be a tough game and they have to do well if they want to hold this Liverpool side, but it’s going to be open.”
Both Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho have returned to training in recent days whilst there is still uncertainty over the fitness of Thiago Alcantara.
The Spaniard picked up a knock to the achilles during our final Premier League game of the season on Sunday and he’s reportedly carrying out physio at the AXA Training Centre in an attempt to be passed fit for the game at the Stade de France.
If the No. 6 is ruled out of the game it will be a serious blow.
The midfield battle will be vital against the likes of Real’s experienced Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and whoever wins the tussle in the middle of the park will have a great chance of lifting the trophy at the end of the night.
We’re certainly expecting an exciting game, we just hope we’re experiencing similar emotions to those we experienced back in 2019 when we defeated Spurs in Madrid.
#Ep51 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Can Steven Gerrard do Liverpool a big favour? Do we need an Origi replacement… & more!