Perfect group stage and wins in Spain and Italy: Liverpool’s route to the Champions League final

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds face Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp has guided Liverpool to three Champions League finals (Adam Davy/PA)
Jurgen Klopp has guided Liverpool to three Champions League finals (Adam Davy/PA)

Liverpool will take on 13-time winners Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to Paris bidding to bounce back from missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City by adding to their FA Cup and Carabao Cup successes.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the Reds’ route to the Stade de France.

Group stage (Liverpool 18pts, Atletico Madrid 7, Porto 5, AC Milan 4)

Liverpool dominated a tricky group containing two former European champions and three-time finalists Atletico to make history. Klopp’s team took control of the standings with thrilling 3-2 wins over Milan and the Spanish side, either side of thumping 5-1 victory in Portugal’s second city. A 2-0 triumph over Diego Simeone’s men at Anfield secured progression to the knockout stages with two games to spare . Victory over  Porto by the same scoreline and winning 2-1 in the San Siro saw the Merseyside club emerge with an impressive unblemished record – the first English club to do so.

Last 16: Inter Milan (won 2-1 on aggregate)

Liverpool won 2-0 in the San Siro (Fabrizio Carabelli/PA)

Liverpool returned to the San Siro in the knockout stage to face Inter. Second-half goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah earned a healthy first-leg advantage. Yet the Serie A side made the Reds sweat in the return meeting. Lautaro Martinez’s 61st-minute goal gave Inter a chance of overturning the deficit but Alexis Sanchez’s red card less than two minutes later blew a hole in their hopes. Salah hit both posts in the second half as, despite going through, the hosts slipped to a first Anfield defeat in a year.

Quarter-finals: Benfica (won 6-4 on aggregate)

Just like the previous round, Liverpool established a two-goal lead in the away leg before surviving some sloppiness on home soil. Reds winger Luis Diaz – formerly of Porto – marked his return to Portugal with a crucial late strike to secure a 3-1 win in Lisbon after Darwin Nunez halved the deficit following goals from Ibrahima Konate and Sadio Mane. Defender Konate was also on target in the return game, where a Firmino brace proved decisive as Benfica, who levelled at 1-1 through Goncalo Ramos, fought back to claim a creditable 3-3 draw thanks to Roman Yaremchuk and Nunez.

Semi-finals: Villarreal (won 5-2 on aggregate)

Liverpool were victorious in their last-four meeting with Villarreal following chaotic 3-2 win in Spain (Adam Davy/PA)

Klopp hailed his “mentality monsters” after booking a third Champions League final in five seasons courtesy of a chaotic 3-2 win in Spain. Liverpool once again claimed a two-goal first-leg advantage – courtesy of a Pervis Estupinan own goal and Mane’s 20th strike of the season – but it was wiped out by Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin inside 41 minutes in the return meeting at El Madrigal. The Reds swiftly put aside the dismal opening period to set up a third final meeting with Real. Fabinho, Diaz and Mane each hit the net in a fruitful 12-minute spell before Villarreal’s misery was compounded by Etienne Capoue’s late dismissal.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in