May 25, 2018
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Actual Madrid v Liverpool: May James Milner be key to Champions League closing?

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Actual Madrid v Liverpool: May James Milner be key to Champions League closing?

One in every of these gamers is unlikely to be in Ballon d’Or competition – however might be pivotal within the closing

The Champions League closing shall be contested by the highest-scoring groups on this season’s competitors, with two of the world’s most potent forwards on show.

Actual Madrid are chasing a report 13th title – and their third in a row – whereas Liverpool can transfer above Bayern Munich and Barcelona into third (behind AC Milan) within the listing of most European Cup/Champions League wins if they’re victorious in Kiev.

The fixture has all of the makings of a traditional, however what can we study from the stats heading into the match?

Is Milner the unlikely key man in Kiev?

Why James Milner is Liverpool’s Champions League unsung hero

With greater than 90 objectives between them in all competitions this season, it’s hardly stunning the Champions League closing has been billed as a battle between Actual Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Each are positive to be within the working for the Ballon d’Or on the finish of 2018, however it’s a man who’s unlikely to obtain any particular person accolades who might maintain the important thing to success in Kiev.

James Milner made headlines within the semi-final towards Roma when he took his tally of assists on this season’s competitors to eight, equalling the match report set by Neymar in 2016-17.

Most assists in a Champions League season
Participant Assists Season
For seasons since 2003-04, when Opta began gathering assists information
James Milner 8 2017-18
Neymar 8 2016-17
Ryan Giggs 7 2006-07
Xavi 7 2008-09
Mesut Ozil 7 2010-11
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7 2012-13
Roberto Firmino 7 2017-18

That whole is three greater than Actual Madrid’s complete midfield of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Isco, Marco Asensio and Casemiro have managed between them.

Milner’s elevated productiveness within the closing third has been essentially the most notable facet of his Champions League shows – he has gone from an help each 588 minutes within the Premier League to 1 each 99 minutes in Europe.

However there was extra to his excellent European kind than simply creating objectives. The previous England midfielder, already a robust performer domestically, has raised his sport within the Champions League in virtually each statistical class.

The place Milner ranks amongst Liverpool gamers in PL The place Milner ranks amongst Liverpool gamers in CL
Assists eighth 1st
Tackles third 1st
Tackles received third 2nd
Touches sixth 2nd
Passes fifth third
Duels received seventh 4th
Interceptions ninth fifth

And, regardless of Actual Madrid’s proud European report, Milner could by no means have a greater likelihood to create objectives for his team-mates in a closing, for the reason that reigning champions are something however safe defensively…

Who’s extra weak on the again – Actual or Reds?

The opening months of the season had been dominated by speak of Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities, however the arrival of Virgil van Dijk in January and the advance from goalkeeper Loris Karius have meant it’s now not thought-about such a evident weak spot.

For Actual, nevertheless, it’s a totally different story. They sorely missed the presence of captain Sergio Ramos within the second leg of their dramatic quarter-final tie against Juventus, when an injury-time Ronaldo strike meant a 3-1 defeat on the night time however a 4-Three combination victory.

That porous show was removed from a one-off. Actual have saved solely three clear sheets in 12 Champions League matches and have conceded 15 objectives, following on from a complete of 17 in 2016-17. No other team since 2004-05 has let in more than 13 in getting to the final,