Bengaluru, May 25: Many connotations have already been assigned to the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid set to be held in Paris on Saturday (May 28).
Some pundits have already billed the contest as one between Liverpool's tight defence and Real Madrid's attacking style.
The match also offers numerous sub-plots such as the face-off between Mohamad Salah and Karim Benzema or the personal skirmish among Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Jr.
Ex-Liverpool star Mark Seagraves, who is now a renowned television pundit, gave insight into what could prove to be the decisive factor in the match to be held at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, in Paris.
"The battle in the midfield will be the key. Whoever gets possession of the football for a longer time will be the team who can create more opportunities and score goals.
As we've seen both teams have players of top class like Mohamad Salah, Sadio Mane, Thiago Jota, Karim Benzema, Rodrygo, Vinicus Jr, who all can score goals. For me that'll decide the outcome of the Champions League final," Seagraves told a group of invited journalists in a virtual media interaction hosted by Sony Sports Network, who have the exclusive broadcast right of Champions League in India.
Seagraves, who is one of the panelists for Sony Sports Network's Live Studio Show for football, dwelled on the 'midfield battle'.
"The battle between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Jr will be interesting. Alexander-Arnold is defensively not so good. But going forward he'll prove his worth.
On the other hand, Vinicius Jr has been on a roll since the start of the season. He's creative, rapid on the left, has been scoring goals and has grown to the level which Real Madrid wants. So, it'll be a good battle between them," he said.
The last time Liverpool met Real Madrid in the Champions League final (2018, Kiev), the latter had the last laugh winning 3-1.
So, will Jurgen Klopp and Co have revenge on their mind? Seagraves thinks so. "Definitely. They'll make sure that 2018 doesn't repeat this time."
Seagraves has his reasons to believe that Liverpool could win the premier club competition in Europe this time.
"The tied has changed now. Liverpool's best XI is much better than Real Madrid's best XI now."
Liverpool had narrowly missed out on winning the Premier League title, and Seagraves believes that will make them a more determined unit.
"The thought of not winning the Premier League, having closely missed it, will also be weighing in their minds. Liverpool are a far better team than they were in 2018. On the other hand, Real Madrid was a great team four years back. But they aren't the same dominant team now.
"Liverpool are the favourites and Real Madrid are the underdogs now. But that'll suit Madrid as they can play with less pressure.
"They've come back trailing as like in the semifinal against Manchester City, but against Liverpool, I doubt if they can do it. After May 28, Liverpool can sit back on holidays being a treble winning team again," Seagraves concluded.
UEFA Champions League 2021-22 Final LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on Sunday, May 29, at 12:30 am IST.