Liverpool and Salah plot revenge on Real Madrid for tear-soaked night in Kyiv in Champions League final
The footballing world was still rubbing their eyes when Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah opened the Twitter app on his phone on Wednesday night.
With Real Madrid buzzing to celebrate the most remarkable and unlikely comeback – even for them this season – against Manchester City, thoughts have started to drift towards the Champions League final on May 28.
Salah was, at least. The Liverpool striker wasted no time in sending a pointed and less veiled message to the team who broke their hearts and shoulders on a tear-soaked night in Kyiv four years ago .
“We have a score to settle”
He posted with accompanying photos from Tuesday night’s 3-2 win at Villarreal that booked Liverpool’s place in the Paris showpiece later this month. The implication was clear.
It was the final of European football’s biggest competition in 2018 when the Gods of Salah season came to a crushing close at NSC Olimpiyskiy.
After scoring 44 goals to help the Reds progress to their first Champions League final in 11 years, Salah’s most successful campaign of his career was cruelly ended by the deception of Sergio Ramos.
Then-Madrid captain Ramos indulged in some first-rate trickery when he knocked Salah dangerously to the ground with a kind of move that reportedly had the WWE Champion’s approval.
The judo-style takedown was enough to hurt Salah and ensure his night lasted no more than 30 minutes. Withdrawn for Adam Lallana, the tears that followed were a sad end to what had been a wonderful first season at Anfield.
It was a lingering injury and he went to the World Cup with Egypt later that summer, still clearly feeling the shoulder issues. An unfit Salah was unable to give a true portrayal of himself in Russia as the Pharaohs retired in the group stages. It was not how he would have envisioned his summer when he eyed a Champions League final and a World Cup in May.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Liverpool in Kyiv
For Liverpool as a whole, the game got harder and harder to understand as it went on. Unable to wake up from their Salah backhand, they conceded in the most perplexing, astonishing and bizarre circumstances when Loris Karius’ attempt to roll the ball was intercepted by the crafty Karim Benzema.
If the concession of their first was incredible, their second was also for very different reasons. After Sadio Mane equalized his 20th of the season, Gareth Bale scored one of the most outrageous goals in Champions League final history to make it 2-1. Karius’ aerial passing was a jaw-dropping effort worthy of winning the biggest game in club football.
But it wouldn’t be the goal that sealed it. Instead, it was another Karius mistake that was the final nail in Liverpool’s coffin. Bale’s speculative long-range effort should have been dealt with but the German keeper let it slip through the fingers and Zinedine Zidane’s side were European champions.
It’s been a disappointing end to the season for Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp knew it was just the start. Liverpool’s tears wouldn’t be the only defining moments for the Reds that night.
No, that defeat would prove to be the experience that would guide them to the success that followed. Later that night, Klopp would be captured on video, singing with Campino, the lead singer of German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen.
The video is believed to have been taken at his Merseyside home around 5am. The message was clear: this Liverpool was just warming up.
Four years later, they are back in the Champions League final – their third under Klopp – and as Salah suggests, there is a score to settle in Paris.