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How the UCL finalists have changed since 2018 tie

Then and now: How Real Madrid and Liverpool have changed since 2018 UEFA Champions League final

May 26, 2022 By Ali M.
The Reds and Los Blancos will meet in the European final in a rematch of their infamous showdown in Kyiv back in 2018. However, both sides have undergone remarkable transformation.

This season's UEFA Champions League final is upon us! Liverpool and Real Madrid will lock horns this Saturday at the Stade de France as both teams look to cap off a brilliant campaign with European success.

However, one side has added motivation and that is the Reds. The reason is simple: these two continental powerhouses lock horns at this very same stage in 2018, with the Merseyside giants suffering a disappointing 3-1 defeat after Mohamed Salah was forced off the pitch due to a heartbreaking shoulder injury.

The Egyptian has spoken about the chance of getting revenge over Los Blancos, admitting that it is something he is relishing. Before their much-anticipated rematch, here's a look at those two teams who faced off four years ago and how they have changed since.

How have Liverpool's and Real Madrid's lineups changed since the 2018 UEFA Champions League final?

A lot has changed since these two European giants faced off in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final, and this is particularly the case for their starting lineups. Six of the 21 players who started in that clash have moved on while an extra few aren't expected to lead the line on Saturday. Here's a closer look:

Liverpool's lineup in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final

Karius; Van Dijk, Lovren, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino

2018 UEFA Champions League final, Liverpool, Real Madrid, lineup, Salah, Mane, Firmino, Van Dijk, Karius, Lovren, Henderson

Karius, the man accused by many Liverpool fans for costing them that final after two goalkeeping blunders, is no longer at the club, with the renowned Alisson set to start in goal. Additionally, Lovren has left, with one of Konate and Matip set to start alongside Van Dijk.

In midfield, Wijnaldum is no longer at the club while Milner isn't a starter, meaning Henderson will be joined by Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara or Naby Keita, depending on whether the Spanish maestro is deemed fit. From the three attackers that started, all remain at Anfield, but the addition of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz has relegated Firmino to the bench more often than not, with the recently-signed Colombian winger expected to spearhead the attack alongside Salah and Mane.

Real Madrid's lineup in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final

Navas; Ramos, Varane, Carvajal, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco; Cristiano, Benzema

2018 UEFA Champions League final, Liverpool, Real Madrid, lineup, Cristiano, Benzema, Modric, Kroos,. Casemiro, Ramos, Varane, Navas, Carvajal, Marcelo

The biggest difference between Real Madrid's squad today and back then is Cristiano Ronaldo, with the club's top scorer leaving Santiago Bernabeu that summer after helping his team to victory over Liverpool. Now, Benzema will be team up with Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Similarly, the spine of that Los Blancos team bar Casemiro and Carvajal has changed, with Navas, Ramos, and Varane all leaving the Bernabeu. Additionally, Marcelo is no longer a staple of the Merengues starting eleven. Further up the pitch, Isco no longer features for the club.

What have both teams won since that 2018 UEFA Champions League final?

Real Madrid emerged triumphant in that showdown, beating the Reds 3-1. However, since then, Klopp's men have taken their game to a whole new level. The following season – 2018/19 – saw the Merseyside giants make amends for their European heartbreak, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League final to become the kings of the continent. They would go on to win the UEFA Super Cup that year, beating Chelsea, before getting their hands on the FIFA Club World Cup.

Domestically, 2019/20 saw Liverpool end their long wait for a Premier League trophy, being crowned the champions of England for the first time since 1990. Fast forward to this season and Klopp's men have won two domestic cups, lifting both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

Liverpool's titles since the 2018 UEFA Champions League final

  • 2018/19 UEFA Champions League

  • 2019 UEFA Super Cup

  • 2019 FIFA Club World Cup

  • 2019/20 English Premier League

  • 2021/22 Carabao Cup

  • 2021/22 FA Cup

As for Real Madrid, they lost the UEFA Super Cup straight after their UEFA Champions League success in 2018, going 4-2 down against Atletico Madrid, but made amends for it a few months later by securing the FIFA Club World Cup crown. Zinedine Zidane left that summer, with the club undergoing turmoil in the aftermath of his departure. However, the Frenchman's return brought back success, with the Madrid giants winning the 2019/20 Spanish Primera Division and Supercopa de Espana titles.

Zizou left last summer and Ancelotti took over, with the Italian picking up right where the Frenchman left off. This season, Benzema and Co. have lifted the Liga title once more and clinched another Spanish Super Cup trophy in Saudi Arabia.

Real Madrid's titles since the 2018 UEFA Champions League final

  • 2018 FIFA Club World Cup

  • 2019/20 La Liga

  • 2019/20 Supercopa de Espana

  • 2021/22 La Liga

  • 2021/22 Supercopa de Espana

How have their records in Europe been since the 2018 UEFA Champions League final?


The Reds made the final the following year and won it, as mentioned earlier. In 2019/20, the then defending champions crashed out early, bowing out of the competition after a 4-2 aggregate defeat against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, losing both home and away, including that 3-2 loss at Anfield. In 2020/21, Klopp's men would go a round further, beating RB Leipzig in the last 16, but eventually lost to—surprise, surprise—Real Madrid in the quarterfinals, going down 3-1 on aggregate during their infamous injury crisis.

Real Madrid

Los Blancos suffered two disappointing seasons following Cristiano's departure in 2018, crashing out in the round of 16 in 2018/19, losing 5-3 on aggregate against Ajax, going down 4-1 at the Bernabeu alone. The following season saw them bow out in the last 16 once more, this time at the hands of Manchester City, but their record has improved since then. In 2020/21, Benzema and Co. got to the semifinals, overcoming Atalanta and Liverpool in the knockout stage before being undone by eventual champions Chelsea in the semis. This season, they pulled off heroic comeback victories over PSG, Chelsea, and Manchester City to reach Paris.


Match details, result and original broadcast info

Liverpool 0 - 1 Real Madrid

May 28, 2022 3:00pmStade de France (Saint-Denis)

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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