Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were both below par in Liverpool’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid. The Reds were beaten 1-0 by the Spanish champions at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, thanks to a second-half strike by Vinicius Jr.
Manager Jurgen Klopp’s team was statistically the more dominant team, taking 24 shots (six times that of Real Madrid) and maintaining 54% of the ball. However, they were unable to find the back of the net. That’s because Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois came to life in his life form, making a record nine saves to thwart Liverpool in a “star of the match” performance.
Courtois kept Salah out several times and made an incredible save from Mane in the first half. Wenger believes this is why Liverpool’s talisman was underwhelming on the night. Speaking on beIN Sports, the Frenchman said (via Liverpool Echo):
“You also feel that Salah, Mane, those who made the change, without the same freshness, without the same belief, they can make the change. In general, thanks to Courtois, we have to say Truth be told, they don’t do enough.
“At a certain stage I felt if Liverpool 1-1 equalised they would come back and win the game. But they never found a special moment where they could complete their chances, thanks in large part to Kool Tuva.”
Salah and Mane have each had great seasons. The Egyptian scored 31 goals and provided 16 assists in 51 games, while Mane scored 23 goals and provided 5 assists in as many games.
However, neither were able to play against Madrid on the night, leaving both sides in the blank as the Reds stumbled into another European final defeat. What’s more, the loss reduced the pair’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or, with white striker Karim Benzema now firmly in the driver’s seat to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois shows why he’s the best
Thibaut Courtois is widely regarded as the worst signing of the 2018-19 season after joining Real Madrid from Chelsea.
However, aside from a tough debut season, he has been at the top of his game, but Saturday’s performance was one of the best of his career. Courtois eventually became a star performer in a clash of two extremely talented attacks. Reaffirming his status as one of the best custodians in the world.