Jamie Carragher was asked how Liverpool stop Toni Kroos – his analysis is fascinating

Liverpool’s strategy to stop Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final will have already been devised.

Now, it’s a case of implementing that plan and ensuring the players know their roles.

Jurgen Klopp and his coaches will have spent a considerable amount of time conjuring up a way to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and co. as they go in search of European glory.

It’s not going to be easy. Real Madrid have dominated the competition in recent years – they are going for a hat-trick of titles – and they will enter the tie as slight favourites.

But it’s an incredibly tough match to predict. Liverpool haven’t made it to the final simply through luck and their attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will pose problems to a Real defence that can be breached.

Klopp’s record in cup finals doesn’t make for comfortable reading from a Liverpool perspective – he has lost five out of six finals as a manager – but he’s never had such a potent team before.

On the other hand, Real Madrid have plenty of difference-makers.

HOW TO STOP KROOS
Leading the way is Ronaldo, of course, but the Portuguese forward isn’t the only Los Blancos player who can make an impact.

It will be crucial that Liverpool find a way to shackle midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric and prevent them from dictating the game.

Jamie Carragher was asked how Liverpool do that when he met The Redmen TV, and his analysis was very interesting.

“That’s why Firmino is so special,” Carragher said. “He’s not just an out-and-out centre-forward at times.

“He plays two roles really. He plays centre-forward and he plays as the No. 10 because Liverpool don’t play with that position because of the system that they play, a 4-3-3.

“And that will be his job, to get around people like that.

“I think early in the game when the energy is there you might see a Henderson, Wijnaldum or Milner go flying at them, and you see Liverpool midfield players do that a lot.

“Certainly in the early days of Klopp.

“There’s no way you will be able to stop Kroos and Modric having a bit of time on the ball for 90 minutes. It’s impossible.

“But early on you’ve got to make it as uncomfortable as possible.

“At the start of the game don’t let them get that confidence. Every time they get the ball they’ve got to feel like someone’s on them.

Carragher also offered his thoughts on what Liverpool should do to combat Ronaldo’s threat.

“I don’t think you can stop this Ronaldo, because he’s just a goalscorer and it’s difficult to stop a goalscorer because sometimes the ball drops and they finish,” the 2005 Champions League winner added.

“He’s maybe not going to do that much defensively for Real Madrid so Liverpool have got to use that.

“Maybe Van Dijk can step up into midfield, the midfielders can get free position and they can start the attacks from there.

“Absolutely unbelievable player but obviously trying to stop the good things and look where you can exploit him.”