Champions League Final 2022: Date, Venue, Predictions for Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 4, 2022

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - MAY 03: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Mohamed Salah of Liverpool showing his appreciation to the fans at the end of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Villarreal and Liverpool at Estadio de la Ceramica on May 03, 2022 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Real Madrid's sensational and mystifying Champions League run will continue after they defeated Manchester City 6-5 via aggregate in the semifinals Wednesday.

They will now meet Liverpool at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France, which will host the Champions League Final at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 28.

On paper, Liverpool is the better club, but Real Madrid appears to be a team of destiny after living on the edge for the entire knockout round and somehow surviving.

Real Madrid was down 2-0 to PSG in the 61st minute of the round of 16's second leg before Karim Benzema scored a hat trick within an 18-minute span for the 3-2 aggregate win.

Real Madrid then won its first leg over Chelsea 3-1 before allowing three straight goals in the second leg. Undeterred, Rodrygo scored the equalizer in the 80th minute before Benzema added the game-winner in extra time for the 5-4 aggregate victory.

On Wednesday, Real Madrid found itself down 5-3 right before stoppage time before Rodrygo scored twice in back-to-back minutes to level the score at five. Benzema converted a penalty five minutes into extra time, and that was enough to send Real Madrid through.

Benzema has now scored 10 of Real Madrid's goals in six knockout matches. No one in the world is playing better than him right now, and his magic apparently keeps Real Madrid in any match even if hope appears lost. It helps to have Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior in the mix as well, and that trio will be a significant problem for Liverpool.

Speaking of which, Liverpool arrived at its third Champions League final appearance in five years after taking down Villareal 5-2 via aggregate following three second-half goals in the second leg of that matchup Tuesday.

Liverpool is shooting for the quadruple (winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League in a single season). The Reds have also lost only once this calendar year after falling 1-0 to Inter Milan in March, but that was in the second leg of the Champions League's quarterfinals. They won 2-1 on aggregate.

Therefore, the last time Liverpool walked off a pitch as a loser was Dec. 28, when the Reds fell 1-0 to Leicester City in the Premier League. Liverpool has played 29 matches since then.

Sure, Liverpool looked shaky in the first half of the semifinal's second leg, when Villareal scored two goals to knot the aggregate at two apiece. But the club stormed out of the halftime locker room with a vengeance and scored three in the second half, showcasing its best effort.

Mohamed Salah has scored eight times in 12 Champions League matches. Tremendous depth exists behind him in Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Fabinho. Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold provide tremendous help on the wings.

And then there's manager Jurgen Klopp, whose tremendous turnaround of Liverpool has made him a legend.

On paper, Liverpool is the better team, but Real Madrid simply always finds a way. In the end, all signs point to a tremendous finish to one of the most exciting Champions League knockout rounds in history. The guess here is Liverpool wins a classic, 3-2.