Real Madrid will become the first team to win the Champions League in three consecutive seasons when they sweep aside Liverpool in the final, Bing has predicted.
The Spanish giants, who won Europe’s top competition in 2016 and 2017, face the Reds on May 26 in the Kiev Olympic Stadium, Ukraine.
Microsoft’s search engine gives Real Madrid a 56% chance of beating their UK rivals, clinching a new record for the team and their star player – Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker will become the first man to win five Champions League medals, after taking home the title in 2008 with Manchester United and 2014, 2016 and 2017 with his current team.
Ronaldo, 33, currently shares the record with Barcelona’s Andreas Iniesta and former AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf.
Liverpool, who last won the Champions League in 2005, will be looking to star player Mohamed Salah to help them achieve their sixth title. The 25-year-old Egyptian, who has scored 43 goals this season and won numerous awards, told the Daily Telegraph that fans should not just focus on the two players during the final.
“It is not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo,” Salah said. “I am playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying for the final came with great team work. I cannot do it alone. It is collective work. When we score a goal it’s because we are all doing good. When we concede it means we all need to work harder.”
Liverpool’s road to the final has been a long one, with Jurgen Klopp’s men overcoming Hoffenheim in the qualifying rounds back in August. Over the following 12 games they have beaten the likes of Porto, Manchester City and Roma – the latter an amazing 7-6 aggregate win in the semi-final.
Real Madrid have swept aside Dortmund, PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich on their route to the final.
The two teams have met five times in this competition over the years, including in the 1981 final. The Reds won that game 1-0, making Bob Paisley the first manager to win the European Cup three times with one club.
The two teams last met in the group stages in 2015, with Real Madrid winning 3-0.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson believes the current group of players is “special”.
“The manager has created something really special in the dressing room with the players he has brought into the team,” he told the Daily Express. “We feel privileged to have him as a manager and we learn so much from him. Hopefully we can be successful now in the Champions League Final.
“There are a lot of young players but we expect big things. We expect to get to finals. The critics might not but we do as a team. I think we can prove a lot of people wrong in the final. We learn so much from the manager – how to handle situations in matches for example. We have grown as a team.”
The final will be held in the 63,000-capacity NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium and include a performance by London-born singer Dua Lipa prior to kick-off. She is the youngest ever female solo artist to reach a billion YouTube views and is the most-streamed female artist in the world on Spotify.
“I was honoured to be asked by UEFA and Pepsi to perform at the UEFA Champions League final opening ceremony – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she told UEFA.com. “I can’t wait to get in front of the fans and be part of such an exciting event – I’m planning to put on an unforgettable show.”
The referee will be Milorad Mazic from Serbia., who will also officiate matches at this summer’s World Cup in Russia.