Liverpool’s midfield is their weak point and it will cost them in the Champions League final, claims Gary Neville.
The former Manchester United defender doesn’t think Liverpool will win the 2022 Champions League although it was unlikely he would ever tip them for success.
The Reds will play their first game since miss out on winning the Premier League in heartbreaking fashion when they face Madrid in Paris.
🔴 Liverpool hit 31 goals en route to Paris 🍿
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 25, 2022
It’s a chance for revenge on Madrid as well as a chance to bounce back from missing out on a trophy for the first time this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side already has two trophies this season and the players will now look to win their first treble in the Klopp era.
Gary Neville says Liverpool have a weak point that Real Madrid can exploit
He told the Overlap that he doesn’t think Liverpool’s midfield can match Real Madrid’s and that Carlo Ancelotti’s men have the upper hand in that regard.
“I look at Real Madrid’s midfield with Casemiro, [Toni] Kroos, [Luka] Modric and then [Federico] Valverde and [Eduardo] Camavinga and I think those five drive them right from the first minute right to the end,” he claimed.
“And the last 15 minutes, I think Liverpool’s midfield is the weak point in their team.
“I think that midfield for Real Madrid – the five of them combined – I think that will see them win the game on Saturday.”
Liverpool midfield vs Real Madrid will be the difference
While Gary Neville may believe that the Liverpool midfield is not on the same level as Real Madrid’s, he’s glossing over how Klopp sets his team up.
Most teams have four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards and play your bog-standard 4-3-3. That’s not how the Reds set up.
They play a 4-2-4 out of possession where the three forwards are joined by a midfielder. Thiago and Naby Keita are often the ones to spring from their midfield role to trigger a press which forms a front four.
These four squeeze the opposition and force them to play the way Liverpool want them to play. Madrid will not get the time and space on the ball that they did against PSG and Chelsea.
Manchester City was a much bigger test of Madrid’s credentials and although they scored three goals in quick succession to leave Pep Guardiola and his players reeling, Madrid were second best for most of the game.
Madrid must be praised for their relentless approach to chasing a lead and so Liverpool will need to be mentally strong.
That said, the front three of Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah should keep them pinned back for large portions of the game.
Thiago and Fabinho are reportedly set to be fit for the final so long as there are no setbacks. Read more here.