Former Chelsea defender says Reds are the team to beat in Europe
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A former Premier League winner and Chelsea stalwart says the Champions League is there for the taking for Liverpool and insists reigning European Champions Real Madrid will be ‘very scared’ if they face the Reds in the final.
Ex-England international Graeme Le Saux says Liverpool are the team to beat in the Champions League, and would back them against either Real or Bayern Munich in the final – if they can overcome Roma in the semi-finals of course.
Real – who have won the European Cup a record 12 times, including the past two seasons – have been paired against five-times winners Bayern Munich in one semi-final while the Reds, who have of course also won the competition on five occasions, face Roma in the other last four tie.
Despite Zinedine Zidane’s side bidding for a third consecutive crown – a feat not achieved since Bayern Munich in 1976 – Le Saux believes that the Reds would provide them with a fear factor that even the presence of the great Cristiano Ronaldo can not overcome.
He told goal.com: “I think if we get a Liverpool versus Real Madrid final then Real will be very scared and I have no doubt Liverpool could do it.
“The only caveat of course is Cristiano Ronaldo – obviously he can do seemingly impossible things and he is capable of being a one man team if needs be.
“But Liverpool are playing better as a team and I think the trophy is theirs for the taking.”
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo greets supporters at the end of a Champions League quarter-final against Juventus
Le Saux reckons the way in which Jurgen Klopp’s side brushed aside Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City who have now been crowned Premier League champions in the quarter-finals emphasises how the in-form team in the competition, writes the Liverpool Echo.
He said: “I think Liverpool are the team to beat. The fact Liverpool blew City away in the first leg, playing with such style and then when under a lot of pressure this week, stayed so composed for the win means they are the form team in my eyes.
“They were magnificent and their campaign was summed up by that Mohamed Salah goal.
“They showed composure and so much self-belief and I think they will go into the semis feeling very confident of going through to the final.
“However, while they’ve got the draw they probably wanted and you feel Bayern Munich or Real Madrid may have presented a tougher challenge.
“Roma are by no means easy-beats and what they did to Barcelona shows that they can’t be written off and have the ability to come back as well if they are down.”
Le Saux added: “Perhaps the only thing to be wary of for Liverpool is how big this is for the club and for Klopp.
“They have to make sure they don’t get spooked by the size of the reward and lose the attitude they’ve had the whole way through.
“However, they are the in-form team of the four. Bayern Munich didn’t pull up any trees in the second half of their quarter-final, while Real Madrid were taken right to full time by Juventus. Liverpool were the most convincing by far.”