Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will travel to Kiev for the biggest club game in football on the crest of a wave with a sense of destiny in the air as they search for a historic sixth European Cup.
However, they will meet by far their biggest obstacle yet, much bigger even than Manchester City.
They will face 12-time winners of the competition in Real Madrid and a team who are attending their fourth final in five seasons. Zidane’s side can win their third consecutive Champions League title.
That is a feat even Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona could not come close to matching. Retaining the Champions League in the modern era was once seen as near impossible but this Real Madrid team have done it.
Three in a row would be something truly special. It is even more astonishing to think that this is a flawed Real Madrid team, particularly this season where they have meekly surrendered their La Liga crown to Barcelona.
When it comes to Europe though, Los Blancos are a different animal. They have an incredible will to win, an arrogance and sense of entitlement about them even when against the biggest clubs.
They have dispatched PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich on the road to another final appearance without playing particularly well.
When the French champions aimed to be the new kids on the block, they were put firmly back in their place.
When the Italian kingpins threatened to complete the comebacks of all comebacks, Real Madrid found a way to win as they did in the midst of a semi-final onslaught by Germany’s most dominant club.
There was always a sense of inevitability that Real Madrid would win those ties, no matter what. They did what they have always done in the Champions League, they just win.
It is their competition, it is Cristiano Ronaldo’s competition. Liverpool will need to wrestle it from them.
Mohamed Salah, Saido Mane and Roberto Firmino can hurt a vulnerable Real rearguard but the Spanish giants are a much superior outfit, especially in midfield and in relation to squad depth.
Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco are capable of controlling any game. Casemiro and Sergio Ramos are true warriors. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players ever. Gareth Bale and Marcos Asensio would start in most teams but can come off the bench and stretch the game.
Liverpool are exciting but gung-ho, which can expose them as seen with the goals Roma put past them. There is no better team at ruthlessly exposing a weak defence that Real Madrid.
Liverpool are right to be going in confident but the thought of their opponents’ aura of winning and self-belief should keep them awake at night.
Liverpool will most certainly be underdogs in the face of Real Madrid’s iron fist on the European Cup.