Liverpool 'ready to fight' Real Madrid, says Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren will be faced with one of the toughest tasks in football on Saturday.In his first ...

Posted: May 24, 2018 12:04 PM
Updated: May 24, 2018 12:04 PM

Dejan Lovren will be faced with one of the toughest tasks in football on Saturday.

In his first Champions League final, the Liverpool defender will not only have to quell Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest players in history, but also keep Real Madrid's myriad of fearsome attacking threats quiet.

Real Madrid take on Liverpool in Champions League final

Final takes place in Kiev on May 16

Real aiming to win third title on the trot

The Croatian has enjoyed an upturn in form this season after well-documented inconsistency since his -20 million ($26m) arrival in 2014.

And after helping Liverpool reach the final and finish fourth in the English Premier League, the 28-year-old tells CNN Sport he will be just as confident as Ronaldo when the pair go head-to-head at Kiev's Olimpiyskiy Stadium.

"He's a fantastic player. He's showed already over 12 to 15 seasons that every year he can score," Lovren says of Ronaldo, winner of five prestigious Ballon d'Or awards.

"Even if he has a bad season he will score at least 30 goals.

"It will be quite difficult, of course, a big challenge. But I've been working so hard in my life to reach the final of the Champions League and I play week in, week out against the best Premier League strikers in England so I'm ready for that.

"We'll defend like a team. In some moments I will be in situations one against one, but I also have my confidence like he has."

Who do you think will win the Champions League final? Have your say on our Facebook page.

Experience vs. youth

The central defender, whose partnership with January signing Virgil van Djik has helped stabilize Liverpool's rearguard, says he and his teammates are "ready to fight" defending champions Real, the most successful team in the competition's history.

Last year Real became the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles and, should they win on Saturday, the Spaniards will become the first team to claim three successive European Cup crowns twice.

In Ronaldo, Real have a player who has scored in every Champions League game he has featured this season.

The Portugal captain has found the net 25 times in his last 17 Champions League matches and is the only Real player to have played every minute for the La Liga side in this season's tournament.

"When you want to play in the final of the Champions League then of course you will expect to face one of the best teams in the world," added Lovren, who is set to feature for Croatia at this summer's World Cup in Russia.

"Real Madrid are not without reason three times in the final in a row and we need to respect that.

"They have confidence, experience and they know how to play these finals. From our team, for every player it will be our first final, but we are healthy, we are young, and we are ready to fight."

The contrast in experience is stark. Sergio Ramos, Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Isco could all appear in their fourth Champions League final for Real, while no-one in Liverpool's squad has played in a Champions League final.

READ: Champions League final too costly for fans

READ: How Man City dominated English football

READ: The greatest Champions League finals

'Anything is possible'

Liverpool last featured in the final of Europe's most prestigious club competition 11 years ago and have not won the famous trophy since fighting back from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties in 2005.

Saturday's final will be a repeat of the 1981 European Cup final, which Liverpool won 1-0 in Paris. Ominously, or perhaps reassuringly for Liverpool fans, it was the last time Real lost in the final of this competition.

Lovren says Liverpool's youthful side will take confidence from beating English Premier League champions Manchester City, Porto and Roma en route to Kiev.

They have also been in fine scoring form, netting 46 goals in 14 games this season, surpassing Barcelona's record of 45 in 1999/2000.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features and videos

"In these 90 minutes anything is possible, especially against Real Madrid," says Lovren.

"They know how to defend and attack, but when you look back we also played against Man City, Porto, Roma and we showed we can score many goals in the beginning of the half.

"So, definitely it will be an interesting game to watch and, of course, to play and hopefully we can go away with a smile."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather