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Champions League final: Salah, van Dijk, Alaba all optimistic

There are a number of injury concerns for both teams competing in the UEFA Champions League final. Premier League side Liverpool FC and La Liga champions Real Madrid will be playing a rematch of the 2018 final, and they both want all of their best players healthy and available when they head to Paris on May 28.

In a recent press conference, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that he is confident that both Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk will be available for the UCL final. It may be remembered that both key players were forced off due to injury during the Reds’ FA Cup victory over Chelsea last Saturday.


Liverpool are into a third Champions League final in five years AFP / Paul ELLIS

Both players were unavailable on Tuesday when Liverpool kept their Premier League hopes alive by defeating Southampton 2-1. The Salah and van Dijk have been given a full week to recover before Liverpool plays their final EPL match of the season on Sunday against Wolverhampton Wanderers. They are only a point behind leaders Manchester City, and apart from thinking of the Champions League, the EPL trophy is also at stake.

Klopp hopes both players can put in some minutes on Sunday, without compromising their recovery or the club’s title chances in both competitions.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid wrapped up the La Liga title two weeks ago, and manager Carlo Ancelotti has had the luxury of rotating his squad. He has given some fringe players some rare minutes, while allowing his regular starters some much-needed rest and recovery time before the final.

Real Madrid
Karim Benzema and David Alaba were among Real Madrid’s scorers against Sheriff Tiraspol as the Spanish giants moved into the last 16 AFP / Sergei GAPON

David Alaba has missed a number of games since the UCL semi-finals against Manchester City, but has now rejoined the squad in full training. The centre-back will likely be available when Real Madrid play yet another non-bearing match against Real Betis on Friday ahead of the UCL final.

That means Real Madrid will have a lot more time to calmly prepare for the trip to Paris. As it stands, it looks like every single member of the squad will be healthy by then. Even Eden Hazard, who has just returned from surgery, will likely be available for the final despite picking up a small knock while playing against Cadiz a few days ago.

Gareth Bale is a wildcard, after complaining of mobility problems due to back pain. He has been training alone, but there is no telling if he will suddenly be fit enough for the final in the same fashion that he miraculously recovers for Wales.

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