Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has told the Reds to be wary of Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti when the two sides come up against each other in the Champions League final.
Liverpool and Real Madrid travel to Paris on Saturday to decide the winner of Europe’s elite club competition. Both teams have great history in the tournament. Liverpool have won the crown six times, while Real have lifted the trophy on 13 occasions.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have a score to settle after Los Blancos beat his men 3-1 in the 2018 Champions League final.
Liverpool went on to win it the following year by overcoming Tottenham, but victory in Paris would be a great form of revenge for the Anfield club.
It is hard to predict how the final will go. Liverpool have been dominant in cup competitions so far, emerging victorious in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season.
They also pushed Manchester City to the final day in the Premier League title race, although Pep Guardiola’s side ultimately came out on top.
Real, meanwhile, won La Liga by 13 points and have also completed epic comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and then City to reach the UCL final.
Ahead of the clash, Benitez warned Liverpool about Ancelotti’s huge influence from the touchline.
Rafa Benitez provides Ancelotti assessment
“At Real Madrid it’s more about having quality players who can make the difference on their own – Ancelotti can organise the team,” Benitez said (via the Daily Mirror). “It’s giving them the confidence to play as well as they can.
“Ancelotti then has the ability – through experience – to make the right decisions. And that’s what it is – experience.
“People talk about ‘progression’ – these social media football managers as I call them – but the reality is that it’s experience.
“His knowledge has given him an ability to make the right decisions on more occasions.
“You will make mistakes as a manager – team selection, game-plan, substitutions. But Ancelotti is clever enough to read games and, with age and more experience, he has improved at it.”
Benitez was in charge of Liverpool when they won the UCL in 2005, following an astonishing comeback against AC Milan.
More of that magic may be required if the Merseyside outfit are to beat Ancelotti’s team this weekend.
Meanwhile, Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards could end up at a surprise destination once he leaves Anfield this summer.