Key battles, looming records and 'mentality monsters' – we take a closer look at just some of the storylines that may dominate the pre-match conversation ahead of the 2022 UEFA Champions League final between Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool and Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid in Paris.
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The final chapter of this season's UEFA Champions League offers plotlines everywhere you turn – from revenge for Liverpool (not to mention that quadruple chase) to a battle of the mind, potential record-breakers and a high-octane head-to-head duel.
Presented by Expedia, UEFA.com considers the possible headlines at Stade de France on Saturday 28 May.
‘We have a score to settle’
Four years may have passed since Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 final, but for Mohamed Salah, the memories are fresh.
Liverpool’s talisman went off with a shoulder injury barely half an hour into that Kyiv showpiece, and made no secret of his desire to meet the Merengues again this time round. Once the fixture was set, he tweeted simply: “We have a score to settle”.
Mentality monsters vs monster mentality
Jürgen Klopp reprised his infamous moniker for his players after the semi-final second leg win against Villarreal: “I told the boys before the game that I wanted the headlines to be the 'mentality monsters' were in town.” He most certainly got his wish.
But then there’s Madrid, indefatigable Madrid – has a team ever demonstrated such character, such belief, to come this far? Something will have to give.
Records in sight for Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti will become the first man to coach in five European Cup finals – and possibly the first to win four – but he won’t be the only one at Madrid with records in their sight.
Karim Benzema, Luka Modrić, Dani Carvajal, Isco and Marcelo all have the chance to draw level with Cristiano Ronaldo on five Champions League titles, while Benzema has other personal milestones on his radar – not least going third on his own among the competition’s all-time top scorers, as well as chasing Ronaldo’s 17-goal best for a single season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Vinícius Júnior
The Madrid media shone the spotlight on Vinícius vs Phil Foden in the semis, two of the game’s most outstanding young talents.
But on final night, Madrid’s thrilling 21-year-old forward will have Trent Alexander-Arnold on his flank – a player who is so often the Reds’ creative heartbeat even from right-back; a player who is evolving the position altogether.
Keep a particularly close eye on events on that side of the pitch, but be warned – blink and you’ll miss it.
When and where is the final?
The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League final will take place at Saint-Denis's Stade de France on Saturday 28 May, kicking off at 21:00 CET.
Built to stage games at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the Stade de France was also the venue for the 2000 and 2006 UEFA Champions League finals, as well as the UEFA EURO 2016 showpiece.