"Starve The Service": Former Player's Advice On How Liverpool Can Counter Karim Benzema In Champions League Final
Karim Benzema is expected to play a key role when Liverpool and Real Madrid square off in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday.
The Champions League final is just around the corner and it would be interesting to see who comes up as the winners between Liverpool and Real Madrid. Both the sides have been in fine form this season. The season saw Liverpool winning the Carabao Cup and FA Cup while Real Madrid were the La Liga winners. Liverpool missed out on the Premier League by just one point and the Reds would now look to end their season on a high but Real Madrid would not be an easy challenge.
Mark Seagraves, former Liverpool defender, spoke to NDTV about the upcoming Champions League final which will be telecast on the Sony Sports Network. He spoke about how Liverpool will need to hold their own in the second half as Real Madrid have a knack for staging comebacks.
"Keep hold of the ball. The game is going to be dictated by midfield as to who gets the ball and who keeps the ball for the longest. If you keep giving the ball away, and this goes for both sides, they will get opportunities and they will score goals. So for Benzema, is to starve the service into him and the only way you can do that is by keeping hold of the ball. I think that is the case, take everything else in football, and you will always get your opportunity. You have to keep the ball away from these guys otherwise they will score the goals. That is going to be the key on the 28th," said Seagraves when asked about how Liverpool can keep Benzema in check.
When asked about whether Liverpool will need to be more vigilant in the second half, he said: "Well, it depends what the scoreline is. If Liverpool are 2-0, 3-0 up, of course they will be focused and the one thing the manager will say you know, we know that Real Madrid plays till the last minute, we have seen them do it not only once, but on two and three occasions. So, they are always going to be dangerous."
"In the last game, Ancelotti brought on three players who all contributed to the goals. Rodrigo came on and scored two goals so they can change games but if the thing is, if Liverpool are 2-0 up in the second half, they have to manage the game. The problem with Manchester City was they never managed the game, Chelsea never managed the game because at that level, you need to get your heads in front and they let Real Madrid back in. They have got to be very vigilant if they get into performance," he added.
Seagraves also talked about how Liverpool will be strengthened further with the addition of Fabinho, who was serving some time on the sidelines due to an injury.
"Well, if you look at Real Madrid's midfield, you have got Casemiro who is very experienced. Modric is very experienced. Of course, Fabinho when he was playing for Liverpool before his injury, he was very instrumental and he was scoring goals as well. Klopp has said that he is going to play, he is fit so he will be playing in that midfield area. We have an issue with Thiago, we do not know whether he is going to be fit," said Seagraves.
"But you have got good players there, Naby Keita, Jordon Henderson. Fabinho is a huge player and he has been a great servant this year. He has got 6-7 goals already, he is a big plus for Liverpool. He is over his injury and he is fit enough to do himself justice," he added.