iverpool and Real Madrid have secured their places in the Champions League final later this month, after two epic semi-final clashes against Roma and Bayern Munich respectively.
Both Roma and Bayern played their part in making both semi-finals incredible spectacles, as Jurgen Klopp’s men progressed 7-6 on aggregate, while Zinedine Zidane’s side prevailed 4-3.
Here we take a look at the standout performers from across the two legs…
GK: Neylor Navas (Real Madrid)
The Costa Rican may have been at fault for the opening goal of the tie, as he allowed Joshua Kimmich to score from the tightest of angles, but without him, Real Madrid wouldn’t be in the final. Navas made four saves in the first leg to help his side head back to the Bernabeu with a lead, before making a remarkable eight stops in the return fixture as Bayern did everything they could to find another goal.
RB: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Kimmich has provided 17 assists in all competitions this season, but it was the right-back’s goalscoring displays against Real Madrid that impressed. The German insists he meant to go for goal in the first leg, as he caught Navas out, while he was in the right place at the right time to score in the Bernabeu. On the ball he was excellent for Bayern, with a 91% pass success rate across the two legs.
CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
It seems strange to select a defender who was part of a team that conceded six goals in just two matches, but without Van Dijk it could have been much worse for Liverpool against Roma. The Dutchman’s calm and composed nature has been vital for Jurgen Klopp’s side throughout the knockout stages. The defender won nine aerial duels and made 15 clearances across the two legs.
CB: Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich)
Cristiano Ronaldo had scored in every Champions League game before coming up against Bayern Munich. The Portuguese international failed to net in either game, as Bayern’s defenders kept him quiet for large spells. Hummels was a key part of that, making six clearances and six tackles across the two legs, as well as winning nine aerial duels throughout.
LB: Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Defensively it’s fair to say Marcelo looks vulnerable, but the attacking left-back provided a telling contribution across the two legs. Caught out for Kimmich’s opener in Germany, the Brazilian responded by netting a superb half-volley from the edge of the box. His assist for Karim Benzema’s goal, which gave Real Madrid a foothold in the second leg, was also excellent.
RM: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
While Salah’s display on his return to the Stadio Olimpico fell short of the level of performance we’ve come to expect from the Egyptian, his first-leg efforts were enough to seal his place in our team of the round. Two exceptional goals at Anfield, followed by two assists of the highest quality, helped give Liverpool a 5-2 advantage that proved too big for Roma to recover from.
CM: Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
An early substitute in the first leg, Wijnaldum just beats his fellow Liverpool midfielders, James Milner and Jordan Henderson, to a spot in our team. The Dutchman’s energy was vital for Klopp’s side in both legs, as he supported their formidable attacking trio and also offered cover defensively. Despite missing a great chance at Anfield, the 27-year-old made up for it with the second away goal in Italy.
CM: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich)
A man with a point to prove, and he certainly did that. James was tireless in both legs, getting on the ball as often as possible to help drive Bayern forward. His assist for Kimmich’s goal in the first leg was excellent and despite missing a great chance from close range at the Bernabeu, he made up for that with a well-taken goal in the second half.
LM: Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Having missed a huge chance to open the scoring in the first leg, Mane recovered well to help fire Liverpool into the final. The Senegalese international tapped home from Salah’s cross in the first leg to make it 3-0 and was without question Liverpool’s brightest attacking player in Italy. Mane took his chance superbly well to open the scoring.
ST: Edin Dzeko (Roma)
The former Manchester City man gave it everything. While he didn’t get much change out of Virgil van Dijk, Dzeko peeled onto the left and got the better of both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren with regularity. His goal in the first leg was clinically taken, as he chested the ball down and fired home, while his finish in the Rome return was equally as impressive.
ST: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Only Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (18) has now been directly involved in more Champions League goals than Firmino (17) this season. He netted twice and provided three assists across the two legs, as Roma struggled to handle the Brazilian. His assist for Mane in the second leg was excellent, as Liverpool stunned Roma with an early away goal in Italy.