How Liverpool reached this weekend’s Champions League final against Real Madrid
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 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)
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.
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