Real Madrid have more reason to worry about Liverpool than revenge for Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah has been talking revenge since Liverpool qualified for the Champions League final. The Egyptian forward has posted on social media that he has a ‘score to settle’ against Real Madrid after losing to them in Kyiv four years ago.
And after winning this season’s Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, Salah was once again asked about this weekend’s clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s men in Paris. “We lost in the final, it was a sad day for all of us, now it’s time for revenge,” he said.
The 29-year-old has certainly made his intentions known ahead of the top-flight rematch but there’s another reason he should be keen to face Madrid. In other words, their defensive game is not particularly strong.
Manchester City could have been Liverpool’s opponents for the final, but after a series of late goals and a pinch of chaos, the new La Liga champions managed to progress after scoring three goals after the 90th minute at the Bernabeu.
Madrid have a glorious history in European football but despite their mentality and resilience, Jurgen Klopp and Salah should be happy with what they are up against compared to what might have been in terms of Pep Guardiola’s outfit.
Real have conceded at least once in each of their knockout matches en route to the final. Paris Saint-Germain scored twice against them, Chelsea four and Man City found the net five times.
Looking at their numbers throughout the season, the case doesn’t look much better for the Spanish giants.
Despite winning La Liga, Madrid had faced 368 penalty kicks in their 34 league appearances before being crowned champions. It was more than Real Betis, Villarreal, Celta Vigo, Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
The shots Madrid allowed on their goal also came from decent pitches, which can be captured using expected goals (xG). According to xG, the 368 shots Madrid faced in the 34 matches it took to win the title was worth around 36.8 goals, again putting them below a host of teams. Up to eight teams – including Osasuna, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano – have allowed fewer goals.
For context, liverpool had played the same number of Premier League games at this stage, but had faced 95 fewer shots.
Salah and his teammates will have chances to score against Madrid. The big question will be whether Klopp’s players are capable of beat Thibaut Courtois between the sticks.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper has saved Real several times this season. His shot saves rank him among the best in Europe and it’s one of the main reasons why his side have conceded just 31 goals in the Spanish top flight despite their openness.
Salah wants revenge on Saturday but his obsession with goals is well known. In Paris, the Liverpool talisman could end up delivering both.
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