75 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

Temperatures raised as Kiev struggles with Liverpool influx and Champions League heat

By Samindra Kunti in Kiev

May 25 – Real Madrid will seek to win a record third consecutive Champions League title when they face Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday. But the excitement of the match is already over for about a thousand Liverpool fans who won’t make it to the Ukrainian capital after their flights were cancelled.

There was more woe for Liverpool fans as in downtown Kiev earlier today three teenage supporters were attacked by what appeared to be a far-right extremist.

Madrid have dominated the European Cup in recent seasons, with Zinedine Zidane’s team supreme in the latter stage of the Champions League. His side struggled in La Liga this term, but eliminated German champions Bayern Munich and Italian champions Juventus on the way to Kiev. They were fortunate to progress through both rounds, but Zidane’s teams have a knack of winning big matches.

Klopp’s team enjoyed a stellar European campaign, knocking out Manchester City in the quarter-finals, but they will be underdogs going into the final. Liverpool will heavily rely on the firepower of their rampant front three; Madio Sane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah. The Egyptian can cap off a superlative club season by leading the Reds to glory. Klopp’s finals pedigree is, however, not good, having lost six.

The build-up to the match has been lengthy and overshadowed by Kiev’s seeming incapacity to deal with the sheer magnitude of the game. The Ukrainian capital has been flooded by Liverpool fans ahead of the showpiece event with more than 20,000 fans expected, even though the club’s official allocation topped just 16,000.

But on Friday about a thousand Liverpool fans had their flights to Kiev cancelled. Operator Worldchoice Sports had not been able to secure landing slots at Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport for three planes, leaving the fans stranded, further highlighting the problematic choice of Kyiv as a host city.

Earlier today three teenage Liverpool fans were beaten in downtown Kiev by what appeared to be a far-right extremist while a number of Liverpool supporters were also reportedly attacked in a restaurant. They suffered minor cuts and two Ukrainian men have been arrested on suspicion of assault, according to Merseyside police.

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