McManaman reflects on Zidane's wonder CL final goal ahead of Saturday

After the end of a tough 2021-22 Premier League campaign, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side took the domestic title battle down to the final ten minutes of Sunday's last round of games before finally seeing Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side pip us to success late on in the day by a single point. The season is far from over though and the build up is well underway to this coming weekend's Champions League final battle with Spanish giants Real Madrid.

With plenty of positives, and dare I say pride, to take from the season given how Liverpool fought on right to the death in our chase for the title, our preparations for the showpiece European final have been good and players should be fit and raring to go with how our manager has handled the playing staff - even going as far as giving a few key players a short rest on the final day of action given his use of substitutes.

Confidence in the camp should certainly be high ahead of Saturday evening's game and with former England winger Steve McManaman knowing both clubs well, he has recently conducted a couple of good interviews with Betway Insider given his own experiences of the competition.

Having come through our Academy set up as a youth and going on to appear well over 300 times for us in his almost a decade at Anfield, the once media-titled member of the Spice Boys then made the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu for a couple of seasons, making over 100 appearances for them, helping them to La Liga and European success. With two Champions League winners medals to his name, he's the perfect person to ask what it would mean to the current crop of players who could potentially lift the trophy for a second time in their careers and build on the 2018-19 success over Tottenham Hotspur.

With a few topics covered given McManaman last tasted European success back in 2002, with many still feeling that Zinedine Zidane's volley in that final continues to be the greatest ever goal in the competition's history, it was almost inevitable that he would be asked about his memories of that moment.

"I think it's fair to say that his first six months of joining the team was difficult. We all knew that he was an incredible football player because we had seen what he had done previously, he was World Player of the Year. We knew what we were bringing into the club. It was just a question of where he would play in the system that we played, and that was the hard part for him. He played in a number of positions, on the left, central, behind the forward, and I think he struggled, really, to settle in initially."

Moving onto the Champions League that season, it obviously all started to fall into place for the Frenchman.

"Certainly in February, in the knock out stages, he really started to find his footing then, culminating in that incredible goal he scored against Bayer Leverkusen in the final."

As many might remember, the goal itself basically came out of nothing and it was pure magic from Zidane. We could potentially see a repeat given the talent at Klopp's disposal as a goal of that quality is definitely not beyond Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah, who will have a massive part to play when it comes to deciding where the title will go.

All we can do now, is hope and pray it goes our way. 

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