UCL Fantasy final tips: Liverpool v Real Madrid

In our final UEFA Champions League Fantasy article of the season, Louis (aka FPLReactions) looks at some difference-makers for managers in the Liverpool v Real Madrid final.


We all know who the obvious selections are in tonight’s Champions League final.

Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Jnr will all be widely backed in Madrid, with Benzema the safe captaincy play if you’re defending a lead or consolidating a rank.

But what about if you’re trying to peg back a rival or boost your overall position?

Firstly, to clarify, differentials can be structural (a formation not owned by the template), single players not widely owned, a combination of the two, or a differential captain.

Singular differentials

  • Price: 8.1m
  • 4% owned
  • 5 goals and 2 assists in 10 matches in the UCL so far (he only started 4)
  • 7 goals and 2 assists in his last 10 matches in all competitions

A differential because most will go for a Liverpool striker with Benzema + Vinicius. He’s among the substitutes again, which will put prospective owners off, but his super-sub tag is well earned and we’ve seen so many UCL finals settled and sealed with late goals.

Ferland Mendy
  • Price: 5.8m
  • 5% owned
  • 3 assists and 3 clean sheets in his 9 UCL matches
  • 3 clean sheets, 1 goal and 2 assists in his last 10 matches for Real Madrid in all competitions

Most will go for Thibault Courtois as their representative from the Madrid defence, so Mendy could be a great differential.

Diogo Jota
  • Price: 8.5m
  • 11% owned
  • 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 penalty won in 8 UCL matches
  • 3 assists in his last 10 matches for Liverpool

Even though Luis Diaz starts as expected, Jota often shares minutes with the winger. With there being up to five substitutions allowed, the Portuguese will surely get on the field at some point – and this is a tight-looking game that could be settled late on.

Differential captain

Sadio Mane
  • 10.6m
  • 14% owned
  • 5 goals in his 12 UCL matches so far
  • 7 goals and 1 assist in his last 10 matches in all competitions

Salah and Vinicius, despite being widely owned, will be differentials of sorts for the armband as Benzema will be the go-to captain.

But with eight goal contributions in his last 10 matches, Sadio Mane is worth a shout.

The Senegal international is Liverpool’s most in-form attacker and this is potentially his last match for the club, with an announcement on his future coming after tonight’s final.

Differential combinations

The template will definitely be 4-3-3 so going with five in midfield would be a structural differential to the template.

Backing against the most popular personnel at the rear is also a make-or-break move. Three Liverpool defenders and one Real asset will be a popular play so choosing to opt for a Real Madrid majority backline and one/no Liverpool defender will be a difference-maker either way.

Alternatively, going for five members of the Liverpool defence (including a goalkeeper) would also be a differential combination.


  • Chasing 4 points: Pick a singular differential like Rodrygo ahead of Diaz
  • Chasing 4-8 points: Pick a structural differential like a back five or even an all-Real Madrid defence
  • Chasing 8+ points: Back against Benzema with a different captain like Mane or Vinicius

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