By Fernando Kallas PARIS (Reuters) – Liverpool midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara have recovered from injury and will start against Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final. Thiago was substituted with a muscle problem in the first half of Sunday’s final Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fabinho has not played since hobbling off […]
Soccer-Fabinho and Thiago return for Liverpool, Alaba back for Real Madrid
By Fernando Kallas
PARIS (Reuters) – Liverpool midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara have recovered from injury and will start against Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final.
Thiago was substituted with a muscle problem in the first half of Sunday’s final Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fabinho has not played since hobbling off with a hamstring issue in the win at Aston Villa on May 10.
Ibrahima Konate will start in defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, who plays Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr up front, has defender David Alaba back in the team after the Austrian missed Real’s last six games due to a leg muscle injury suffered in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City in late April.
The 62-year-old Italian, who will make history on Saturday by being the first to manage in five Champions League finals and could be the first to win it four times, kept faith with Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde instead of Rodrygo.
The Brazilian forward will be on the bench, with Real’s substitutes having been so effective during their amazing run of comebacks against Paris St Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.
The match is being played at the Stade de France after UEFA moved it from St Petersburg to Paris in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a ‘special operation’.
Far more Liverpool fans have travelled than those from Real Madrid and could be seen more than three hours before kickoff on a sun kissed Cours de Vincennes, one of Paris’ biggest avenues that was packed with about 50,000 Reds’ supporters.
According to police, no serious incidents were recorded prior to the game after they announced several security measures that included banning access to the Champs Elysees area to Spanish and English fans until Sunday afternoon.
Real Madrid are bidding to win a fifth Champions League title in nine years and extend their record European Cup tally to 14 trophies.
Liverpool have reached their third final in five years and are aiming to win their seventh European Cup, which would bring them level with AC Milan in second place behind Real.
Liverpool: 1-Alisson Becker; 66-Trent Alexander-Arnold, 4-Virgil van Dijk, 5-Ibrahima Konate, 26-Andrew Robertson; 3-Fabinho, 6-Thiago Alcantara, 14-Jordan Henderson; 11-Mohamed Salah, 23-Luis Diaz, 10-Sadio Mane
Real Madrid: 1-Thibaut Courtois; 2-Dani Carvajal, 3-Eder Militao, 4-David Alaba, 23-Ferland Mendy; 14- Casemiro, 8-Toni Kroos, 10-Luka Modric; 15-Federico Valverde, 20-Vinicius Jr, 9-Karim Benzema
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)