Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win Uefa Champions League - as it happened

Gareth Bale nets two, as Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah picks up an injury 30 minutes in, and leaves the field in tears.

epa06765956 Real Madrid player Karim Benzema (left facing) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC at the NSC Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, 26 May 2018.  EPA/ARMANDO BABANI
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Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports

12.39AM - Full time! Real Madrid 3 - 1 Liverpool. Real Madrid are champions of Europe for the third year in a row. Gareth Bale's two goals clinched it, but spare a thought for Mo Salah, and the millions of fans who will wish him a quick recovery in time for the world cup.

12.29AM - GOAL! Karius fumbles a straight-forward save off a Gareth Bale shot. Real Madrid 3 - 1 Liverpool 

Loris Karius fumbles what should be a simple save off a Gareth Bale shot from outside the box. That is his second major error of the game He has had an awful game. Is Bale on for a hat-trick now?

12.16AM - Salah Update

Goals are coming in thick and fast, no indication of how serious the shoulder injury that bought a premature end to Mo Salah's game is yet. But Liverpool fans are crying foul play, suggesting Sergio Ramos' challenge was overly-aggressive. Egypt kick-off their campaign in barely 3 weeks, millions will be hoping Salah is in shape.

12.08AM - GOAL! Super-sub Gareth Bale puts Real Madrid ahead 2-1

Bale on the pitch for less than two minutes and nails a bicycle-kick - who saw that coming?!

12.01AM - GOAL! Mane equalises for Liverpool 1-1

Sadio Mane gets on the end of a lose ball in the box, and nips it in to equalise. Liverpool have a spring in their step. Looks like we have a game on our hands now!

11.56PM - GOAL! Benzema - Real Madrid 1 - 0 Liverpool

Karim Benzema intercepts a throw from Loris Karius and it bobbles towards the goal and over the line. Liverpool fans are incensed, but Karius has only got himself to blame.

11.36PM - Half-time in Kiev, and it's still 0-0

Liverpool will need to regroup during the break, Real Madrid have started to tighten the screw in the last 15 minutes. Loss of Mo Salah seems to have had a significant effect on Klopp's men. Real Madrid dominating possession, creating chances.

11.29 PM - Disallowed goal for Real Madrid

Karim Benzema slams home a rebound, it's in the back of the neck... but the linesman disallows it, Ronaldo is offside!

11.16 PM - Mo Salah comes off after 30 minutes with injury to left-shoulder

Adam Lallana replaces him. Huge loss for Liverpool, this man has been the star of their season.

11.04PM - Early shots galore in the first 15 minutes, no breakthrough yet

Salah, Milner and Ronaldo have all made early efforts on goal, how long until we see the first breakthrough?

10.45 PM - Kick-off - Real Madrid in white, Liverpool in red.

And the Champions League final 2018 is underway in Kiev.

10.21PM - Gareth Bale dropped to the bench, Benzema starts for Real Madrid

Welsh Striker Gareth Bale has been relegated to the bench, with Karim Benzema partnering Christiano Ronaldo up-front for Real Madrid.

Meanwhile Liverpool's starting 11, is the youngest starting line-up in a Champions League final since Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund in 2013 .

9.38PM - Salah suspends Ramadan fast ahead of final

Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah has suspended his Ramadan fast for three days ahead of tonight's final.

Speculation had been rife that Salah would continue to fast throughout the holy month, irrespective of his fixtures, but Liverpool physio Ruben Pons, who is responsible for the player's fitness said he had arranged a three day suspension in the run up to tonight's final.

“As far as I know, he practiced Ramadan, but a plan was established for these important days,” Pons said.

“Thursday, Friday and the day of the match he will suspend his fasting, so it will not affect him. After the final he will take it up again,” the physio told Spanish media.

7.27pm - Zidane: Real Madrid not favourites

Although Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane believes the final is "50-50", recent history is on his side.

Real can become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to lift the European Cup three years running, and thereby make it five consecutive titles for Spain.

Star forward Cristiano Ronaldo could also win his fifth Champions League, allowing the Portuguse to equal the individual record and edge closer to yet another Ballon d'Or.

Zidane, meanwhile, is on the brink of a third straight Champions League win as a manager.

But the Frenchman said: "People can say what they like, but we are not favourites, nor are Liverpool.

"As always in a final it is 50-50. We need to play very well to win the game and inside the dressing room we know we are not favourites."


7.02pm - the task Alexander-Arnold and Liverpool face

The size of the task in front of Trent Alexander-Arnold and the rest of the Liverpool defence tonight cannot be overstated.

As if overcoming a team that is bidding to emulate the great Ajax and Bayern Munich sides of the 1970s and win a record-extending 13th European Cup wasn't hard enough, Jurgen Klopp's defenders have to find a solution to the problem that is the goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo.

If you thought Mohamed Salah has had a standout season (he has), check out this tweet from Richard Jolly.


6.40pm - Alexander-Arnold up to the challenge of trying to stop Ronaldo

What a night for this young man.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool's 19-year-old defender, tasked with marking the man who has scored 450 goals for Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo

“He's one of the best players ever. He's done unbelievable things in the game, but he's got weaknesses as well, as every player has. On Saturday we'll try to exploit them and stop him from doing what he does best and stop him from scoring.”

Read what else he had to say here.

KIEV, UKRAINE - MAY 25:  Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool looks on during a Liverpool training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on May 25, 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Trent Alexander-Arnold says he plans to try and expose weaknesses in Cristiano Ronaldo's game. Shaun Botterill / Getty Images


5.30pm - Mohamed Salah's big night

The Egyptian forward has been a driving force behind Liverpool's run to the final for the first time in 11 years.

He has scored 11 times in the Premier League club's route to Kiev and he has had a sensational first year on Merseyside with 44 goals in all competitions for them.

He spoke to The National's Damien McElroy on Wednesday and said he planned to treat the clash with Real Madrid like any other game.

"I cannot put more pressure on myself — I have to play it as a normal game,” he said. “Of course it is different because it is the final of the Champions League but the best way is to take it easy, relax and enjoy the game.”

The full interview can be read here.


4.33pm - Kiev subway resumes operation after bomb warning false alarm

The subway in Ukraine's capital Kiev has reopened after a bomb warning proved to be a false alarm, the subway operator said, just hours before the city hosts the Uefa Champions League final.

"The stations are checked and open for passengers. Explosive items were not found," the subway operator said on Facebook.

Earlier on Saturday, the subway closed its five stations after it received a warning call.


4.22pm - Two-time European Cup winner Fairclough concerns over Liverpool's game management

European Cup winner David Fairclough wants Liverpool to show better game management in Saturday's showpiece with Real Madrid.

Fairclough lifted the trophy with the Reds in 1977 and 1978 and thinks if his old side are to get anything out of the defending champions in Kiev, they will need to be smarter.

They weathered comebacks from Manchester City and Roma in the two previous rounds but Fairclough hopes they can handle such events better come kick off on Saturday.

"When they've been in situations where Liverpool teams of the past would have pulled down the gates, the situations against Manchester City and Roma ... players from past teams would have handled it better and that's where I have a little bit of worry," he said.


Read more

Kiev residents offer up homes and spare rooms to Liverpool and Real Madrid fans

Gareth Bale's Real Madrid conundrum for Zinedine Zidane has echoes of Laurie Cunningham in 1981

Mohamed Salah interview: 'The final is not between me and Ronaldo'

Andy Mitten: Cristiano Ronaldo's big-game ability crucial to Real Madrid

Ian Hawkey's postcard from Kiev: sunny skies and scorched wallets in store for fans


4pm The finale to the European football season is here

It was 24 days ago, after Liverpool triumphed 7-6 on aggregate against Roma, that we knew the line-up for the 2018 Uefa Champions League final: Real Madrid v Liverpool.

The wait is now over and we are finally here on final day as two of the most successful clubs in the competition's history face off against each other in the Ukraine.

Fans from both clubs have been in Kiev since the middle of the week for a game that is crucial for both sides.

Twelve-times champions Real have won the competition for the past two years and Zinedine Zidane's men are seeking to be the first club since Bayern Munich in 1976 to lift the European Cup three years on the bounce.

Liverpool are seeking to win the the tournament for a sixth time in their history and the first time since 2005. They have not won a trophy since the League Cup in 2012 and a success this evening would be Jurgen Klopp's first as Liverpool manager since taking over in October 2015.

A good atmosphere is building up in Kiev with fans of clubs mingling with each other in a friendly environment.

But it has not been all smooth.

Kiev has closed five subway stations, mostly in the central part of the Ukrainian capital, after a bomb warning, the subway operator said in a statement.

"The stations are closed to passengers and checks are being carried out," it said on Facebook.

Stay with The National for updates and analysis as we move closer to kick-off time at 10.45pm UAE time and then news from the match once the action begins.


Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports