Liverpool’s route to Paris and the Champions League final

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Liverpool’s route to Paris and the Champions League final

Liverpool stand one game away from lifting their seventh European trophy, drawing level with second-place AC Milan in the process, should they beat Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid.

The Reds saw their hopes of a historical quadruple go up in smoke on the final day of the Premier League season, as a gripping comeback from Manchester City saw Pep Guardiola’s side successfully defend their trophy.

However, having already banked the Carabao Cup and FA Cup via penalty shoot-out wins over Chelsea, they could yet lift a cup treble should they win in Paris on Saturday night.

101 take a look at just how they have arrived on the precipice of greatness.

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Group of death left lifeless

It looked to be a dismal start to proceedings in Liverpool’s chase for Champions League glory when the groups were drawn, with the Reds drawn in what looked to be the toughest group out of them all.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were pitted against Portuguese champions FC Porto, Spanish champions Atletico Madrid and AC Milan, who finished second in Serie A last season and went on to win the league this time around.

Liverpool’s route to Paris and the Champions League final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan kisses the trophy during the award ceremony following the Serie A football match between US Sassuolo and AC Milan. AC Milan won 3-0 over US Sassuolo securing the Scudetto championship (Serie A title). (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Despite this, and thanks in part to the teams around them taking points off each other, Liverpool had qualified from the group after just four games, and had won it after five, scoring 16 and conceding 5 in the process.

It meant that Klopp fielded a largely rotated XI for the final game against AC Milan, only for his side to come out with a 2-1 victory at the San Siro and keep their 100% record in the group stage, joining Ajax and Bayern Munich as the only clubs to do so.

We are the Champions

Thundering through to the last 16, Liverpool were drawn against Italian champions Inter Milan, who despite losing Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi in the summer remained a threat, and had qualified out of their group in second, behind Real Madrid.

And another victory at San Siro, this time 2-0, was enough to see the Reds pull through despite losing 1-0 to a ten-man Inter side at Anfield in the return leg, and to set up a clash with Benfica, who edged past Ajax.

Handed perhaps the easiest opposition left in the final 8, Liverpool ensured that the job was done thoroughly, netting six times across the two legs even if a late wobble saw them holding on to a 6-4 aggregate lead late in the second leg. Despite this, they got the job done.

Liverpool’s route to Paris and the Champions League final

Mo Salah forward of Liverpool FC in action during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC on April 04, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Valter Gouveia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

That, many expected, was enough to pit them up against Bayern Munich, only for the Bavarian side to be ousted by Europa League holders Villareal under the leadership of cup specialist Unai Emery.

While on paper an easy game, three-quarters of the way through the tie, the Reds were pegged back to 2-2 and were rocking. However, they regained their composure in a cauldron of noise in Spain, grabbing a further three goals to seal the tie and give it a much more comfortable look than it had actually been.

It has, perhaps, not been the most difficult knockout run on paper, but each team deserved to be there on merit, and it is hard to begrudge Klopp’s side a place in the Paris final on Saturday.

Read more:

Liverpool vs Real Madrid live streaming: Watch UEFA Champions League final online

Liverpool vs Real Madrid betting tips: Champions League Final preview, predictions and odds


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