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Liverpool news: Reds issued Real Madrid game plan warning over Champions League final

The Sky Sports pundit and Spanish football expert believes the reigning European champions will play just as they did in Saturday’s 6-0 win over Celta Vigo.

Gareth Bale netted twice to push his case for a start in the final as Real ended a three-game run without a win in emphatic style at the Bernabeu.

And the tactics employed by Zinedine Zidane were crucial in helping Los Blancos see off Celta – a team who play with an intense press not too dissimilar to Liverpool’s – with such ease.

Madrid are looking for a third straight success in the Champions League but will face a huge test in keeping Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League outfit quiet.

Liverpool have scored more goals than any other team in the tournament, netting 40 since the start of the group stages with their front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino managing 29 of that tally.

And Balague believes that in their attempts to counter-act the Reds’ energy and explosive forward play in the capital of Ukraine later this month, the Spanish giants too will take up an aggressive attacking game plan.

“The way Real played against Celta suggested a style that would be put into practice against Liverpool,” Balague told Sky Sports.

“It was a direct Real Madrid, one with an intention of being offensive; when [Toni] Kroos, Isco and [Luka] Modric got the ball, they quickly turned and looked for the players up front.

“That type of football is difficult to beat. In fact, I would expect Liverpool to do exactly the same. 

“Interestingly, I was in Newcastle this week and spoke with Rafa Benitez about what he expects from the final, given he managed both.

“He pointed out something which could take the game into Liverpool’s favour; the intensity of their play with or without the ball. The fact that when they have the ball, their sole intention is to go forward.

“For Real, it is about quality, control and game management at times. No doubt they have the experience for it, but the intensity of Liverpool’s football can beat Real, Rafa believes.

“But then we saw that same intensity when Real played Celta on Saturday; that’s why this game seems like a coin flicked in the air for me. It could go either way.

“This was a good game for Real; they started to recover some of their injured players. 

“Isco was back, Carvajal will be ready for the final, Ronaldo may even get some minutes in the last game of the season, and things are going well in that department. Everyone will be fine for the final.”

Third-placed Real Madrid end their league season away at Villarreal on Saturday (7.45pm) while Liverpool have a break until meeting Real in Kiev on May 26. 

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