The Champions League final is drawing ever closer.
On Saturday evening, millions around the world will watch Liverpool and Real Madrid go head-to-head in a battle to determine the champions of Europe.
Both teams will enter the contest with differing mindsets.
Real have an opportunity to make it a hat-trick of Champions League titles, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are attempting to win the prestigious trophy for the first time since 2005.
Yet both sets of supporters have reasons to be confident.
Liverpool’s belief stems from an attacking trio that has caused havoc in the Premier League and in Europe all season.
And there’s an underlying sense that Real Madrid left-back Marcelo can be exposed in Kiev on Saturday.
The Brazilian’s abilities going forward are well-known but he is considered a liability in defence at times, and this was evident with his attempts to catch Samu Castillejo offside in Real’s 2-2 draw against Villarreal last weekend.
Said before that Marcelo will struggle with Salah and here you can see why.. pic.twitter.com/IAodLAsZKd
— George 🇺🇦 (@George___Owen) May 19, 2018
Indeed, many Liverpool supporters think Mohamed Salah will have a field day against Marcelo.
Marcelo is Moreno with an end product. He's a defensive liability. Robertson much more consistent.
— ⚡ВЕРИТИ 🇺🇦 (@FirmiFatale) May 22, 2018
Marcelo is a huge liability to that Madrid defense. Salah will have a field day in the final.
— Back on my Bullshit (@Gabryelshady) May 6, 2018
Yet they’ve been brought back down to earth by Klopp, who believes Real’s success in Europe in recent seasons is proof that they have no weaknesses.
Klopp was speaking to Robbie Fowler when the former Liverpool striker raised the matter of Marcelo’s defensive lapses.
“I look at Madrid, and think, ‘Marcelo brilliant’, but maybe a weakness for them too, as it leaves space where you have strength?,” Fowler said.
Klopp responded: “You saw it, everybody saw it, seems obvious: ‘Marcelo, what an offensive player, but… he can’t defend’.
“They won the Champions League twice, they are again in the final!
“Bayern Munich thought they were the better team in the two games, but what is better at the end? Real need four chances to score twice. Bayern needed eight to score one.
“They are experienced from head to toe. There is no weakness.
“Football is not so easy that you can say, ‘If Marcelo (right) makes that run, and we leave Mo Salah there in that space, Salah gets in against Ramos’.”
Fair play to Klopp for being so modest. But Marcelo will be fully aware that to contain Salah, he can’t let his desire to attack get the better of him.