Will these players be fit in time for the final?
The Champions League final takes place in little over three weeks’ time in Ukraine, Kiev and Real Madrid will take on Liverpool in what will be the second meeting between the sides in a major European Cup final.
The first meeting between the sides in a final took place in Paris 1981, where Liverpool came out victorious by a 1-0 margin. With a goal from Alan Kennedy in the second half, the English club held off Madrid and won the competition. Bob Paisley became the first manager to win the competition thrice.
Zinedine Zidane has the chance to become the first manager to win the competition thrice in a row and Jurgen Klopp will be eager to avenge the 2012 loss to Bayern in the final and etch his name in European history.
We look at a few players who are facing a race against time to be fit for selection for the final.
#4 Dani Carvajal
Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal has endured a tough season as he initially overcame a heart condition to recover and play football this season. However, during the first leg Champions League semi-final Carvajal suffered an injury and missed the second leg and the El Clasico as a result.
The player has overcome a number of obstacles this season and will be eager to win the race and be fit for the UEFA Champions League final. The two time defending European champions fielded Lucas Vasquez in place of Carvajal at right-back but looked sketchy and penetrable during the game.
The full-back faces a tough test to regain his fitness and be match fit for the historic final in Kiev. Carvajal is crucial to the club and is one of the best full-backs in the world. Defensively solid and a potent attacking threat down the right flank, the Spaniard will be a massive blow to the club if deemed unfit.
#3 Emre Can
The 24-year-old German midfielder continues to be linked with a move away from Anfield in the summer, as contract-renewal issues continue between him and Liverpool. With a possibility of the player leaving on a free transfer, Liverpool find themselves in a tough situation negotiating his new contract.
Can, however, is currently out nursing a back injury he sustained earlier in the year. He has not featured in the club’s run-in to the Champions League final due to the injury and could miss out on the final.
Battling for fitness to be part of the final, Can’s chances are slim and could have played his last game for the club before his summer move is finalised. While the club wants to keep the player for the future, his game time is not a guarantee and with the addition of Naby Keita, the competition for places will intensify.
#2 Adam Lallana
Since his return from a long layoff and just when Adam Lallana was getting back into full fitness, the player suffered a hamstring injury that has caused a setback. With the player frustrated and anxious over his place in the Liverpool team and England team for the World Cup, Lallana is nursing himself back into training.
The English midfielder is a tricky attacking player on his day and faces a battle for fitness with only two weeks to go for the Champions League final. Due to his inconsistent playing season, Lallana would be hoping for a spot on the bench.
An impact player, irrespective of whether he starts the game or comes off the bench, Adam Lallana is a team player with bags of ability to produce the magic required to win a game.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo
The Champions League all-time top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo is also the leading goal scorer in the ’17/18 edition of the tournament with 15 goals. The Portuguese superstar has won four European titles and is gunning for his fifth Champions League medal.
Ronaldo injured his ankle in the process of scoring Real Madrid’s first goal in the 2-2 draw against Barcelona in the El Clasico. He was substituted at halftime by Zidane in order to protect the prolific goalscorer.
Ronaldo is vital to Real Madrid and faces a stiff test to be fully fit for the final against Liverpool. With Madrid gunning for their third consecutive title, the club will create history and become the only team in modern history to the competition three times in succession. Ronaldo will be eager to play the final and it remains a possibility he could miss the game in Kiev.