‘Vulnerable’ Real Madrid would struggle against Liverpool, claims Craig Bellamy

Would Real struggle against Liverpool? (Picture: EPA)Craig Bellamy believes Liverpool would prefer to meet Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League but that Real Madrid would still ‘struggle’ against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The former Reds, Newcastle and Manchester City star is convinced that Real are ‘vulnerable’ this season and are nowhere near the level of previous years.

Zinedine Zidane’s outfit are chasing a remarkable third Champions League title in a row and should they move beyond Bayern – who they lead 2-1 on aggregate – they look set to face Liverpool after Klopp’s side thumped Roma 5-2 on Tuesday.

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Zidane’s side took one step towards the final (Picture: AP)And while Bellamy hopes Bayern can progress to give Liverpool a greater chance, he still reckons Madrid wouldn’t be able to cope with the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

‘I’m sure Liverpool supporters would want Bayern due to the fact Real Madrid have won it the last two occasions,’ he told Sky Sports.

‘Their [Real’s] experience in this competition is incredible and that does help.

Would Liverpool beat Madrid? (Picture: REUTERS)‘I’ve seen enough of watching Real Madrid over this year that they’re vulnerable. They’re not the team they were the last couple of years.

‘Watching them at the Bernabeu against Juventus, I got to see that defensively, they can be left wanting.

‘The way Liverpool play not just the front three, but the midfielders getting forward breaking lines, this [Real] midfield will struggle to stay with you.’

Trent Alexander-Arnold reveals the one time he cannot stand Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool so far this season (Picture: Getty)Trent Alexander-Arnold has revealed Mohamed Salah is a nightmare to deal with in training and joked he doesn’t ‘really like him’ at times.

The Egypt international continued his record-breaking season with two goals and two assists against his former club Roma in Tuesday’s emphatic 5-2 Champions League semi-final first leg victory at Anfield.

Alexander-Arnold has enjoyed a similarly impressive breakthrough campaign under the management of Jurgen Klopp and believes he has benefited from training alongside the likes of Salah, even if he has humiliated him on occasion.

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Liverpool are on the verge of reaching the Champions League final after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Roma (Picture: Getty)

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‘During the week it’s a nightmare because you’re up against him,’ said the teenager who looks increasingly likely to be selected in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.

‘During the week, there’s sometimes I don’t really like him because he does that stuff to me.

‘That’s what he does day in, day out. It’s just become second nature to him now and it’s a credit to him.

‘We’re really happy to be playing with him rather than against him.’

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Mohamed Salah sends class message to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after injury blow

Mohamed Salah sent a classy message to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Picture: Getty)Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah has sent a heartfelt get-well-soon message to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off with a knee injury in the 18th minute of Liverpool’s 5-2 win over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday evening.

The club confirmed that the 24-year-old will be out for the remainder of the Reds’ season and he will also miss England’s World Cup campaign in Russia this summer.

In an Instagram post to his followers, Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted he was ‘absolutely devastated’ to have picked up the injury at such a crucial time.

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Messages of support have been pouring in for the midfielder and Salah had some classy words for his team-mate.

‘I wish you all the best and I’m confident you’ll be back even stronger than before,’ the Egyptian said on Instagram.

Speaking after Liverpool’s defeat of Roma, Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport: ‘Oxlade is probably a really bad injury.

‘If you can say that before the scan then it’s not good news.

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‘So that means for us it’s a massive blow of course.

‘We need to be creative in the next few games [with team selection].’

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ‘absolutely devastated’ to be ruled out of the World Cup

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss the World Cup (Picture: Reuters)Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he’s ‘gutted’ to be ruled out of England’s World Cup campaign but says Gareth Southgate’s side can do something ‘special’ in Russia.

The 24-year-old was stretchered off after twenty minutes in Liverpool’s 5-2 win against Roma at Anfield on Tuesday night after hurting his knee in a tackle.

Though Liverpool are awaiting the results from a full scan, the club confirmed today that Oxlade-Chamberlain is out for the rest of the season and will miss the World Cup this summer.

Oxlade-Chamberlain admits he’s devastated to have sustained the injury but the midfielder used his message on Instagram to pay respect to the Liverpool fan that was left in critical condition after being attacked by Roma fans before the match.

‘Absolutely devastated to have picked up this injury at such a crucial time in the season,’ said Oxlade-Chamberlain.

‘Gutted I won’t be able to play any further part in the Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England. But now it’s all about supporting the boys and getting behind them.

‘I know we have what it takes to do something special in the tournament. I’m going to give everything I have to make sure i’m back as quickly as possible.

‘However this all pales in comparison to how the family of the Liverpool fan badly hurt before last night’s game must be feeling. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones. Thank you for all your kind words, messages and support. I’ll see you soon #YNWA’

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Liverpool refused to put a time frame on the midfielder’s injury but said they hope to have him back for next season.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had been expected to start for England at the World Cup after finding his feet under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool since a £35m move from Arsenal.

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Can we please stop painting Liverpool’s success as some great underdog story?

Are Klopp’s Liverpool really plucky underachievers? (Picture: EPA)Liverpool’s run in the Champions League has been superb. They’re an excellent team and Jurgen Klopp deserves immense credit for the remarkable job he’s done.

But can we please, please stop the narrative that they’re somehow these great overachieving underdogs?

Some of the hot takes on the matter have described the Reds as not ‘super wealthy’ – the same team who just dropped £75million on a centre-back in January.

On what planet are we living, people?!

Liverpool starting XI v Roma rough cost

Loris Karius – £5mAlexander-Arnold – FreeVan Dijk – £75mLovren – £20mRobertson – £8mOxlade-Chamberlain – £35mMilner – FreeHenderson – £20mSalah – £37mFirmino – £36mMane – £34m

Total: £270m

Their starting XI against Roma cost £270m in transfer fees. That’s without factoring in the likes of Georgino Wijnaldum (£25m), Adam Lallana (£27m), Nathaniel Clyne (£16m), Alberto Moreno (£16m) and incoming summer arrival Naby Keita, whose fee could end up being around £59m. Not to mention some horrible spending over the past five years on Christian Benteke (£32m), Lazar Markovic (£22m), Mario Balotelli (£18m), Mamadou Sakho (£17m) and Joe Allen (£17m).

Sure, you can make the argument that they’ve maybe not spent quite as much as some of the heftiest spenders in European football, but how many of those have they faced on this wonderful cup run?

Klopp signed Salah in the summer (Picture: REUTERS)Their group opponents included Sevilla, who have never spent £20m on a single player, Spartak Moscow, whose transfer record stands at £10.9m and, of course, Maribor, whose combined summer transfer spend was £90,000.

Similarly to Sevilla, Liverpool’s first knockout opponents Porto have never spent more than £20m on one player, while Roma have just once since 2001.

We all know about the exorbitant fees Manchester City have spent over the past few years, but they’re still relatively new to this competition – reaching the semi-finals just once in their history. Were they really the great white shark in the competition?

Guardiola’s spending has been ridiculous (Picture: AP)

Man City sarting XI v Liverpool rough cost

Ederson – £36mWalker – £50mOtamendi – £40mLaporte – £58mFernandinho – £34mDe Bruyne – £68mSilva – £26mSterling – £49mGundogan – £24mJesus – £28mSane – £45m

Total £458m

Regardless, Manchester City are an exceptional case – few can compete with them financially.

For a more realistic comparison, let’s take a look at Real Madrid.

Their starting XI in the first leg of their quarter-final against Juventus cost roughly £250m. Some £20m less than Liverpool’s.

Liverpool have spent comparatively to Real Madrid (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Real Madrid XI v Juventus rough cost

Navas –
Carvajal –
Varane –
Ramos –
Marcelo –
Casemiro –
£5mModric –
Kroos –
Isco –
Benzema –
Ronaldo –

Total – £250m

Even if you started Gareth Bale (£89m) over Isco, the two sides still would be very much comparable in terms of transfer spend. Perhaps we should start claiming their journey to back-to-back Champions League wins was the greatest underdog story of all time.

Of course, wages and stature have always been important to Real’s recruiting process, but as five-time European champions, Liverpool are hardly short on the stature front, while the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk are all on more than £100,000-a-week.

We’re hardly talking about a cash-strapped team here…

Klopp has had his fair share of dosh (Picture: AP)In domestic terms, Liverpool have the fourth-highest wage bill in the richest league in the world.

Of the current 20 Premier League teams, only 10 clubs have broken the £20m mark and only six have spent more than £30m. Liverpool have bought seven players for more than £30m in the past two seasons…

Yes, we should celebrate their achievements. Yes, they have spent less than Manchester City (who hasn’t?!). But please, please, don’t try and frame them as plucky, financially weak overachievers.

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Liverpool fans will love what Radja Nainggolan told Mohamed Salah about Anfield

Mohamed Salah and Radja Nainggolan met up at Anfield. (Roma)Radja Nainggolan is clearly impressed with Mohamed Salah’s new home at Liverpool, judging by their conversation before Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Anfield.

Salah was warmly greeted by his former teammates as he prepared to face Roma for the first time since his £39 million move to Liverpool last summer.

The Egypt international revealed that he spoke to several Roma players in the immediate aftermath of the Champions League semi-final draw, while Nainggolan admitted that he felt Liverpool was the most difficult tie available.

The Belgium international caught up with Salah prior to the game and the pair embraced before having a quick chat as they made their way to their separate dressing rooms.

And Nainggolan took the opportunity to talk up Liverpool and Anfield as he told Salah: ‘I’m going to the pitch… not bad, eh?’

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Salah was Liverpool’s star man once again as he scored twice before half-time to set up Liverpool for a comfortable victory.

Roberto Firmino netted twice in the second half, while Sadio Mane was also on target, but Roma escaped Anfield with a lifeline after scoring two late goals.

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When and where is the Champions League final 2018 and what are the remaining fixtures?

Liverpool have a fantastic chance of making the final (Picture: Getty Images)It is the biggest game in European football and it is just a month away as fans everywhere start to get excited about the 2018 Champions League final.

Liverpool have given themselves a fantastic chance of making it to the showpiece after smashing Roma 5-2 in the first leg of their semi-final at Anfield.

The second semi-final begins on Wednesday night as Bayern Munich host Real Madrid in Bavaria and the bookies are struggling to separate them before the contest.

Whoever reaches the final, it is sure to be a thrilling night, so here is everything you need to know…

Jurgen Klopp has a lot to thank Mohamed Salah for (Picture: Getty Images)When and where is the Champions League final?

The final is on Saturday, 26 May at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

The stadium, in Ukraine’s capital, has a capacity of just over 70,000 and hosted the final of Euro 2012 when Spain beat Italy 4-0.

However, its record attendance is 102,000 which came when Dynamo Kiev took on Bayern Munich in March 1977.

Dynamo play their home games at the Olympic Stadium, as do the Ukraine national team.

Will we see Gareth Bale in yet another final? (Picture: Getty Images)

Champions League fixtures

Wednesday, 25 April – Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid – Semi-final first leg

Tuesday, 01 May – Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich – Semi-final second leg

Wednesday, 02 May – Roma vs Liverpool – Semi-final second leg

Saturday, 26 May – Final

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What is the Champions League prize money?

UEFA has confirmed that an estimated €1,318.9m is set to be distributed among the clubs participating in the Champions League and Super Cup during the 2017/18 season.

The 32 clubs in the group stage of the competition were given a guaranteed minimum amount of €12.7m, along with €1.5m for each win and €500k for each draw.

Prize money continues to escalate throughout the competition with quarter finalists gaining €6.5m and semi-final teams receiving €7.5m.

The runner-up team in the Champions League will receive €11m, with the winner being awarded €15.5m meaning a potential total of €57.2m in prize money for the eventual winner.

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Roma reveal how much Mohamed Salah REALLY cost Liverpool

Mohamed Salah tore his former club Roma part in last night’s Champions League semi final (Picture: Getty)Roma were forced to sell Mohamed Salah to Liverpool last summer under financial pressure from UEFA but received close to €50million, according to the club’s sporting director Monchi.

After a troubled spell at Chelsea, Salah returned to the Premier League having rebuilt his reputation in Serie A with both Fiorentina and Roma.

The Egypt international continued his remarkable form with two more goals, to take his tally for the season to 43, against his former side in last night’s 5-2 Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield.

At the time, Liverpool were reported to have recruited Salah for the bargain price of €42m but Monchi insists he was able to extract more from the Anfield club but was hampered by the fact Roma were being monitored by European football’s governing body.

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Mohamed Salah has now scored 43 goals in all competitions this season (Picture: Getty)

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‘I sold him for more than €42m,’ Monchi said after Tuesday’s game. ‘We had a need to sell. We had no option but to sell Salah before June 30.

‘Had we not done that, we probably wouldn’t be here playing the semifinal of the Champions League as we had UEFA closely monitoring us.

‘When I arrived, the offer [from Liverpool] was €30m but we managed to get it up to almost €50m with bonuses.

‘That is what we could do. The market then went crazy with Neymar [joining Paris Saint-Germain and Philippe] Coutinho and [Ousmane] Dembele [both signing for Barcelona].

‘He’s had an extraordinary season. We congratulate Liverpool for buying him. We had to sell him and the player wanted to leave.

‘Unfortunately, we suffered that on Tuesday night because we know of his quality. He is a very strong player.’

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Steven Gerrard turns into every Liverpool fan after Mohamed Salah’s second goal vs Roma

Steven Gerrard cheered Mohamed Salah’s second goal from the BT Sport studioSteven Gerrard hailed Mohamed Salah as the best player in the world in the aftermath of Liverpool’s 5-2 defeat of Roma.

Salah scored a double and set up goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as the Reds stormed to a five-goal lead in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final before he was replaced in the 75th minute.

Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti got on the scoresheet following Salah’s substitution to reduce the deficit but Liverpool remain clear favourites to progress through to the final in Kiev.

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While Gerrard must have been gutted not to have been on the pitch on Tuesday night, he appeared to be enjoying his view from the BT Sport studio at Anfield.

His face shortly after Salah’s magnificent second goal against Roma summed up how all Liverpool fans were feeling at the time. Pure joy.

Player, coach, pundit.
But most of all Steven Gerrard is a die-hard Liverpool fan 🔴😃
Look at his reaction to Mo Salah’s goals last night… pic.twitter.com/NpjvbkyM07
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018

Gerrard claimed that Salah has overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the best player on the planet following Liverpool’s win.

‘He’s in the form of his life,’ former Liverpool captain Gerrard said.

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‘It’s difficult to compare him to your Ronaldo’s and Messi’s because they’ve done it for so long and they’ve been consistent year in, year out.

‘But, without a shadow of a doubt, he’s the best player on the planet right now.’

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How many goals has Mohamed Salah scored for Liverpool?

Mohamed Salah is having a phenomenal season (Picture: PA)Mohamed Salah stole the show once again on Tuesday night as he scored two goals in Liverpool’s 5-2 thrashing of Roma in the Champions League.

The Egyptian is enjoying a sensational season, which has seen him compared with the the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best players on the planet.

Salah, 25, has already won the PFA Player of the Year and he will be hoping to add a Champions League winners medal to his trophy cabinet as well.

Here are the numbers behind Salah’s incredible campaign so far…

Salah scored twice more on Tuesday night against Roma (Picture: Getty Images)Salah has scored 43 goals in total over his Liverpool career to date.

He has found the back of the net 31 times in the Premier League, once in the FA Cup and now 11 times in the Champions League.

Some sources will quote 10 goals in the Champions League so far, but that does not include the strike against Hoffenheim in the play-off round of qualifying.

Salah’s 10 goals in the group stage onwards has broken Samuel Eto’o’s record of eight in a single season scored by an African player.

He also became the first Liverpool player to score 10 in a single Champions League season, in the process.

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Amazingly, Salah has not picked up a single yellow or red card for Liverpool in any competition this season, although he has been booked once for Egypt.

The 25-year-old has produced nine assists in the Premier League and four in the Champions League.

Salah has won the PFA Player Of The Year Award for his incredible form (Picture: PA Wire)More: Football

Salah’s 31 goals in the Premier League sees him lead the race for the Golden Boot by five from Harry Kane (26).

However, he is five behind Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (15) in the Champions League top scorer stakes.

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