UEFA Champions League Final 2018 – Real Madrid vs Liverpool

The football season in Europe comes to its end on Saturday as the Champions League winner is decided in Kiev, Ukraine. It is no surprise the finalists include Spanish giant and last year’s winner Real Madrid, but the challenger has definitely emerged from out of the blue.

Liverpool’s last visit in the UCL final back in 2007 resulted in defeat to AC Milan, but they’ve also won the trophy five times, most recently in a legendary matchup against the very same Milan team in 2005. It’s been slim pickings since then for the Liverpool fans as they’ve not won a major trophy after 2006.

Liverpool’s route to the Champions League final could be seen as somewhat easier than Real Madrid’s. Jürgen Klopp’s team beat Porto, Manchester City and AS Roma on their way, while Real Madrid overcame the champions of three different nations: French PSG, Italian Juventus and German Bayern München. While all of those knockout games were rather close battles, it did seem that Real only did the bare minimum and there might be some tricks still up their sleeve come final.

Liverpool’s games were seemingly more lopsided in favor of the Reds, but they did struggle defensively at times and almost dropped the ball in 2nd leg against Roma, despite leading 5-2 after the first encounter. Attack first mentality has worked wonders so far for Liverpool, but it remains to be seen how it’ll pan out against another extremely skilled and more seasoned team in Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Accuscore’s Analysis

The UEFA Champions League knockout stages have proved profitable once again. Accuscore’s predictions for all the knockout stage games turned a side value profit of +2910 units, if played with 100 unit even stake. Altogether 43 side value bets were placed and 13 hit their target – with excellent odds of course!

The Champions League final is always a tricky one to predict. There are plenty of random factors involved, such as travel to Ukraine – not an easy task especially for the fans – and playing in a neutral venue unknown to both sides. The oddsmakers have set reigning champions Real Madrid as favorites to win with approximately 60.6% probability, meaning odds of -154 | 1.65.

Accuscore’s simulations, however, disagree with that assessment. Based on statistical data from the current season’s Champions League games and overall player performance data, the simulations have Liverpool as favorites, if only by tiny margin: Liverpool wins the Champions League final, in the end, with 52.3% probability.

Liverpool have scored more goals and conceded less in this season’s Champions League. Their scoring chances are converted with higher rate and their attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane has scored altogether 29 goals with 14 assists, while Real Madrid’s offense is relying almost solely to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 15 goals and two assists. Their next best scorers are Karim Benzema with four and Marcelo with three. Neither team has excelled in defense, but Real Madrid has a slight edge defensively and between the pipes.

While Real Madrid has the edge on quality all over the pitch and has more experience in winning big games, Liverpool will push hard on attack and is likely to cause problems for Real’s somewhat shaky defense. It’s a risky pick, but with the current odds, lean slightly towards Liverpool in the Champions League final!

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