Following the completion of the Europa League final on Wednesday 16th May, there is just one major European trophy to decide this season and it’s the big one. The Champions League final will be contested on Saturday 26th May in Kiev, Ukraine.
Liverpool will play Real Madrid and while the Spanish club has one remaining domestic league fixture to play on the weekend prior to the Champions League final, Liverpool’s and Mohamed Salah’s attention are firmly on the showpiece occasion.
Personal Battle Key
Salah will likely be in direct competition with Real Madrid left-back Marcelo and how their personal battle develops could define who wins the Champions League this season.
Real Madrid’s Brazilian full-back has the upper hand in terms of experience, having won the Champions League 3 times with the La Liga giants and played in the World Cup finals on home soil, under extreme pressure.
However, nothing compares to what Marcelo is about to face in Kiev against Salah. Watching the Brazilian international play for Real Madrid, you would think he was a left-winger, not a full-back. Marcelo spends a lot of time in the opposition half and its become notable how he is out of position when asked to defend against the counter-attack.
This should play into Liverpool and Salah’s hands, who would love nothing more than to have space in behind the full-back to attack.
It will not be the first time Marcelo has been asked to defend against Salah. The Real Madrid left-back played against the Egyptian when he was at Roma in the Champions League back in 2016. There were times in that match when Salah got the better of the full-back and in the second leg, the Liverpool forward had chances to score against the Real Madrid defense.
Salah and Marcelo’s history can be traced back even further and in 2012 the pair came together when playing for their country in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Salah on Top
Again, it was noticeable how Salah had the better of Marcelo during the match and despite Brazil going on to win the match 3-2, Salah scored a goal for Egypt. The goal came as a result of Salah coming in off the flank and Marcelo was left back-peddling in the penalty area before the Egyptian placed a shot beyond the goalkeeper.
Egypt’s captain for that match was Mohamed Aboutrika and speaking to beIN Sports MENA he said, “Liverpool have a big chance to win the Champions League against Real Madrid,” before continuing, “I was playing with Egypt against Brazil. Marcelo is terrified of Salah.”
The contest between the two players is going to be a key aspect of the Champions League final and if Salah can continue his dominance over Marcelo, Liverpool has a good chance of leaving Kiev with the trophy.
source featured image: trivela.uol.com.br