It doesn’t get much bigger than this – the Champions League final.
For players and fans alike, the final of Europe’s biggest competition is the absolute pinnacle of club football, and Saturday night’s game in Kiev between Liverpool and Real Madrid promises to be much of the same.
Real Madrid have been here before, into their fourth final in five years, and looking for an unprecedented hat-trick of Champions League titles.
It’s slightly newer territory for Liverpool, however, with none of their squad having any CL final appearances to their name – though the Reds are looking for what would be their sixth European Cup win.
We have taken a look at the online football betting market and picked out some of the best bets for what promises to be a cracking game.
Dark horses Liverpool have the potential to shock Europe again
When Liverpool kicked off their Champions League campaign against Hoffenheim in the qualifiers back in August, only the most optimistic of Reds fans thought it would end 10 months later in Kiev.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have shocked and delighted Europe with their brand of swashbuckling, no-holds-barred football, that has seen them score 40 times in one of the most exciting runs to the final in recent memories.
The Reds hadn’t even reached the Champions League knockout stage since 2009, but now stand on the brink of winning it.
Much of that has been down to the ‘fab three’ of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. The trio have netted 29 goals between them in the Champions League so far, as defences across the continent have been unable to live with their pace and energy.
The addition of Virgil van Dijk in January has helped add some steel to their defence – and boss Klopp will hope to go one step further than he did when finishing as a runner-up with Borussia Dortmund in 2013.
Liverpool are 2/1 to win in 90 minutes with Grosvenorsport.com.
Experienced Real know how to get the job done
Real Madrid’s recent Champions League record is nothing short of remarkable – winners in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and are seeking a third win in as many years.
To put that in perspective – nobody had ever defended the Champions League trophy before Real last season. They might defend it for a second season in succession.
They’ve had to do it the hard way too – being drawn against French champions PSG, Italian champions Juventus, and German champions Bayern Munich.
They may not have put in vintage performances along the way, but boss Zinedine Zidane and his squad know exactly what it takes to win Champions League ties. Zidane has never lost one in his managerial career.
It would be a brave man to bet against any team containing Cristiano Ronaldo – and the likes of Toni Kroos, Isco, Sergio Ramos or Luka Modric aren’t bad either.
Real are 11/10 to win inside 90 minutes.
The stage is set for a classic
If there’s one thing this match should promise – it’s goals.
Both teams are set up to attack, and both have a soft defensive underbelly that could be exploited.
Liverpool’s Loris Karius and Real’s Keylor Navas have both made some pretty sloppy errors this term, and with Salah and Ronaldo spearheading the respective attacks, I’m certain this will be a game for the ages.
It depends how brave you want to be when picking the goal lines, but I’d certainly suggest going all in on the overs.
Over 4.5 goals at 3/1 looks a great bet to me.
I can certainly see Liverpool getting off to a flyer, in the same way they did against Porto, Manchester City, and Roma – and flying out of the traps with an early goal. Mane got the opener in the semi-final second leg in Italy – and his 15/2 to score first appeals.
It certainly seems a game where anything could happen – which means I’m wary of sticking my neck out with a match-winning tip.
If push came to shove, however, I’d plump for the team who have just seemed destined to win it – and will back Liverpool to lift the trophy at 5/4.