As Liverpool prepare for what could be another famous European night, Australian football icon Harry Kewell has offered an intriguing and surprising perspective on one of the greatest chapters in Champions League history.
Kewell played for Liverpool in two Champions League finals – the incredible 2005 comeback win on penalties against AC Milan and the 2-1 loss to the same opponent in 2007.
“We were unlucky in that game,” Kewell told Stan Sport FC ahead of Sunday’s (AEST) showdown between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
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“I actually think AC Milan should have won the 2005 one and we should have won the 2007 one.”
Kewell started the 2005 final in Istanbul but succumbed to a groin injury in the first half.
“On a personal note it was a hard one for me to take,” he said.
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“You work your whole life to play in these big moments and I did get injured and had to come off. But the great thing is that I play a team game. Individuals can win games but teams win tournaments and that night I saw my team do something special.
“It was unbelievable, I’ll never forget it and I’m pleased to say I’m part of it.”
While Milan gained Champions League revenge in 2007, this time it is Liverpool with a score to settle.
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The Reds have painful memories of the 2018 final which they lost 3-1 to Madrid in Kyiv.
Striker Mohamed Salah was controversially injured by Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in that match and left the field in tears.
Winning the Champions League would be the perfect tonic for Liverpool after finishing second behind Manchester City in an epic Premier League title race.
“We have our league to be part of every week and on rare occasions you can have the off game,” Kewell said.
“But in European nights, in competitions in Europe you can’t – you have to be at your best. It’s a cup competition so you can’t have nights off and I think that’s why they are special, because it’s do or die. If you don’t perform that night you’re out of the cup and you won’t make the next one unless you qualify again.
“So it’s important that you’re playing at your very best every time you’re playing in these tournaments.”
WHEN IS THE 2022 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL?
The 2022 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid will kick off at 5am AEST on Sunday, May 29.
WHERE IS THE 2022 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL?
The Stade de France in Paris will play host to this much anticipated match. The stadium holds more than 80,000 spectators.
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HOW TO WATCH THE 2022 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL IN AUSTRALIA
Club football’s biggest game will be live and free on 9Gem and streamed ad-free on Stan Sport from 4.30am AEST on Sunday, May 29.
In the studio to cover the action hosted by Max Rushden will be Socceroos legends and Stan Sport expert commentators Mark Bosnich and Craig Foster.
On the ground in Paris will be English football presenter Mark Pougatch and La Liga TV host Semra Hunter, with studio crosses from European football expert Lars Sivertsen.
Early rising fans seeking a communal football experience can head to Melbourne’s Federation Square for Stan Sport’s special live site for the big match.
LIVERPOOL AND REAL MADRID TEAM NEWS
The official UEFA website has put together its ‘possible’ starting XI for both sides.
Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is in doubt after picking up an Achilles injury at the weekend although manager Jurgen Klopp said he was set to return to training during the week after a “surprisingly good” prognosis from the medical staff.
Fellow Reds midfielder Fabinho has also been battling a hamstring injury but has resumed training.
Klopp must also choose between Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip at centre-back.
The red-hot Luis Diaz is pushing hard for a start up front ahead of Roberto Firmino.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, have a settled lineup although two goal semifinal hero Rodrygo has put his hand up for a place in the XI ahead of Federico Valverde.
Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Keita, Salah, Mane, Diaz
Possible Real Madrid XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Eder Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
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HOW DID LIVERPOOL AND REAL MADRID REACH THE FINAL?
Liverpool topped Group B by winning all six of its pool games.
The Reds then knocked out Inter Milan in the round of 16 (2-1 on aggregate), Benfica in the quarterfinals (6-4 on aggregate) and Villarreal in the semifinals (5-2 on aggregate).
Real Madrid, meanwhile, had a wild ride to the final.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side topped Group D with just one loss before having to come from behind in all three of its epic knockout ties against heavyweight opponents.
Paris Saint-Germain (3-2 on aggregate) were the first victim in the round of 16 before defending champions Chelsea in the quarterfinals (5-4 on aggregate) and Manchester City in the semifinals (6-5 on aggregate).
HOW MANY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TITLES HAVE THESE TWO CLUBS WON?
Real Madrid are easily the most successful club in the competition’s rich history with a whopping 13 titles.
Liverpool are equal-third on that list with six trophies.
WHO ARE THE FAVORITES FOR THE 2022 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL?
Despite Real Madrid’s unrivaled record in the competition, bookmakers have installed Liverpool as hot favorites for the final.
As of Thursday, Sportsbet were listing the Reds at $2.05, Real at $3.40 while a draw after 90 minutes is paying $3.60.
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