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Liverpool and Real Madrid contest the Champions League final in Paris

PARIS (AP) - Thousands of football fans descended on Paris to watch Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final later Saturday. Milestones are at stake at the Stade de France. AC Milan celebrated the Italian's first two triumphs in 2003 and 2007.... (Author: Gardener)

ParisPARIS (AP) - Thousands of football fans descended on Paris to watch Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final later Saturday. Carlo Ancelotti aims to become the first manager to win European club football's top prize four times, which will add to his success in 2014 during his first tenure as Madrid manager. The Italian celebrated his first two triumphs in 2003 and 2007 with AC Milan. Ancelotti clinched the Spanish title in just his first season at Madrid, who beat Liverpool in the 2018 final led by Zinedine Zidane to extend their 13th European trophy. "We're very close to achieving something big this season and we're going to do everything we can to achieve it," said Ancelotti. Liverpool became European champions for the sixth time in 2019 by returning to the final. Since then, Jurgen Klopp has ended the 30-year English Championship dry spell in 2020. While missing out on the Premier League by a single point last weekend, the season may end with a rare treble of trophies having already won the FA Cup and League Cup. Liverpool fans pose for a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower Paris, Friday May 27, 2022. Liverpool and Real Madrid face off in the Champions League soccer final on Saturday. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Liverpool's route through the knockout stages past Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal seemed relatively smooth. They were sidelined in the round of 16 before two of Karim Benzema's 15 European goals this season turned the game against Paris Saint-Germain. It took 10 minutes to equalize against Chelsea to stay in the quarter-finals before the defending champions were ousted in extra time. Madrid went into the semi-finals against Manchester City in the 90th minute until Rodrygo was the savior again with two goals, capping another incredible comeback. "When we're in top form we're difficult to play, we're really difficult to play," said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (left) smiles as Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (right) and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino look on during a training session at the Stade de France in Saint Denis near Paris on Friday May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez ) For the third consecutive year, UEFA was forced to change the venue of the final. Not because of the pandemic this time, but because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which saw St Petersburg stripped of its hosting rights. As the war enters its fourth month, the word "peace" will be featured on the final pawn, which will later be auctioned off to raise money for refugees. and we have to think about that," said Klopp. “If we look at it that the game is still happening and not taking place in St. Petersburg, maybe that's exactly the right message that Russia should get. We are playing this final for all people, not only, but also for all people in Ukraine.” Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti, left, talks to Benicio, son of Federico Valverde, right, during a training session at the Stade de France in Saint Denis near Paris, Friday 27th May 2022. Liverpool and Real Madrid are making their final preparations ahead of their encounter in Saturday's Champions League soccer final. Liverpool and Real Madrid are making their final preparations ahead of their clash in the final Champions League football game on Saturday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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Unforgettable moments from Liverpool vs Real Madrid

With the sides clashing in the Champions League final, BBC Sport looks back on some of the most memorable moments from Liverpool's games against Real Madrid. (Author: Gardener)

Liverpool vs Real MadridThe 2021/22 Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid is the latest installment in a rivalry that has produced some of the most memorable moments in the competition's long history. The last meeting of the teams takes place almost exactly 41 years to the day after the first duel of the teams in another Paris spectacle. In 1981 a tactical clash appeared to be going into overtime until Liverpool's Alan Kennedy met a throw-in by his namesake Ray, fired into the Real Madrid penalty area and hit the far corner to seal the Reds' third European Cup success in five seasons. Just weeks earlier, the left-back's hopes of reaching the final - if Liverpool made it - were in tatters after breaking his wrist in the semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich. Real's first visit to Anfield in the 2008/09 Champions League round of 16 second leg is still regarded as one of the best European nights Liverpool's famous old ground has ever seen - thanks largely to a stunning individual performance from Fernando Torres. The former Atletico Madrid striker picked up an ankle injury in the Reds' 1-0 first-leg win at the Bernabeu but returned full force to lead a Liverpool performance that underscored their European credentials under then-manager Rafael Benitez. The Spanish attacker gave Liverpool the lead after 16 minutes and could easily have scored a hat-trick, with superb Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas making two saves for his compatriot and stopping Benitez's side from winning by an even bigger margin. Captain Steven Gerrard scored twice in what was his 100th European game for the club before Andrea Dossena sealed an easy passage to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten 7-5 on aggregate by Chelsea. After winning in 2009, it was Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers' side who faced a damage limitation exercise in the 2014/15 group stage when the visitors threatened to riot with three goals in 18 minutes of the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo's wonderful opener broke the deadlock before Karim Benzema's double completed a dominant win that gave the Anfield club just three points from their first three games. They would miss out on a place in the knockout stages and finish third in Group B behind Madrid and Swiss club Basel. Controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who joined Liverpool for £16million this summer, drew the ire of manager Rodgers when he was spotted swapping shirts with Real defender Pepe at half-time. Balotelli was loaned out to AC Milan at the end of the season. Led by the fearsome trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, Liverpool reached the 2018 final on the crest of a wave in Kyiv. Egypt international Salah in particular had exceeded all expectations following his summer move from Roma, scoring a staggering 44 goals in all competitions - including 10 in the Reds' remarkable run to their first Champions League final in 11 years. Jurgen Klopp's side started confidently against a Real side wary of Liverpool's attacking trio, but the balance of power shifted midway through the first half when Salah injured his shoulder in a tackle with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos. The departure of their talisman, who left the pitch in tears, temporarily silenced the traveling Reds fans and propelled the La Liga side who would go on to win their third consecutive Champions League title in dramatic fashion. At half-time, it looked like Salah's early departure would be the main talking point of the 2018 show, but there was a lot more to come in Kyiv. In a second half full of incidents, a fatal error by Loris Karius Benzema gave the visitors the opener six minutes after the restart before Mane's close-range finish restored the level. Nine minutes later, Gareth Bale came off the bench and scored one of the greatest goals in the history of the competition. The Wales international was only two minutes and two seconds on the pitch when he sent an unstoppable overhead kick past Karius - a goal the former Tottenham and Southampton player would later describe as his "best". Former England international defender Rio Ferdinand also declared it 'illegal' during BT Sport's live coverage of the game. It was also time for Karius to fumble a long-range shot from Bale into his own net to worsen Liverpool's woes and give Zinedine Zidane his third Champions League triumph in as many years. But the night belonged to Real's Welsh wizard.

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Real Madrid's comebacks, Liverpool's penalties and more

The unique qualities of Karim Benzema and Trent Alexander-Arnold could define Saturday's final (Author: Gardener)

Real Madrid'sThe Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid on Saturday 28 May will be a replay of the 2018 final won by Real Madrid. Takes place in Paris at 3pm at the Stade de France. ET, you can catch all the action on CBS and Paramount+, but when two titans clash there won't be much to separate them, meaning we'll have to parse the numbers. It's no secret that a huge part of Real Madrid's Champions League success can be attributed to Karim Benzema. He was responsible for 54 percent of Real Madrid's goals scored and with two more goals he could equal Cristiano Ronaldo's record for most goals in a single Champions League season at 17 and with a hat-trick in the final Benzema would break the record most goals. But it's not just about the number of goals, it's about when Benzema does his damage. He has scored nine of his 15 goals after the 60th minute, either to regain the lead for Los Blancos or push them forward with insurance goals. With the defense being so error-prone, Benzema's job this season was even more important because he has to beat the opponent alone. Real Madrid will want to take care of things in regulation as if there is a penalty shootout the advantage will shift to Liverpool. In the EFL Cup final win, it came down to backup keeper Caoimhin Kelleher in an 11-10 win over Chelsea, where he executed his shot from point better than most strikers. Kelleher was so in the mood that after the match he explained that at first he didn't even realize he'd scored the winning penalty. That kind of confidence was also shown at Liverpool as Liverpool triumphed over Chelsea once again in the FA Cup. Alisson took charge of that shootout, saving Mason Mount's penalty before Konstantinos Tsimikas fired the winning shot after being substituted on in the game in overtime. From top to bottom, this is a shootout-ready squad so Real Madrid want to throw everything forward if it means they can avoid it. While the two games against Chelsea cannot be considered a comeback, as Real Madrid held a two-goal lead in the second leg before squandering it and then coming back, their exploits against PSG and Manchester City are nothing short of extraordinary. Two goals down with 30 minutes to go against PSG, it was almost certain that the Parisians would move on. Enter Karim Benzema. Benema's hat-trick that lasted just 18 minutes and left PSG reeling. Real went on with confidence that with the magic their attack can offer, no victory is out of reach. Riyad Mahrez's goal for City left Los Blancos another two goals down towards the end of the game, but this time it was Rodrygo's chance to improve, scoring goals in the 90th and 91st minutes before Benzema converted a penalty in extra time to win. It's a dangerous thing for Liverpool to deal with in the final. This is a Liverpool side that likes to take control of a game early on and make teams lose their will to compete, but against Real Madrid that's easier said than done. Real can't commit too much to defending one from Andrew Roberson or Trent Alexander-Arnold or they'll be beaten elsewhere, but they can't ignore them either. With teams becoming more focused on Alexander-Arnold, Robertson was on a tear. The pair have combined six assists in the Champions League but have yet to score. However, with them on set plays and up front, that could change in the final. Alexander-Arnold is the top Liverpool player in the Champions League by expected assists at 2.87, and that's a number that ranks fifth of any player in the Champions League. On the other hand, Vini Jr is the leader in both chances created at 31 and assists with six for Real Madrid, raising the defensive test the two will face. Will fear of Madrid's most creative player make Alexander-Arnold less strong for Liverpool? That's Real Madrid's hope. Liverpool's full-backs haven't shirked defensive responsibilities this season but they are hoping midfielder Fabinho is healthy enough to start the game. His presence when the full-backs are marauding makes their job a lot easier.

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Carlo Ancelotti calms Real Madrid dressing room ahead of Liverpool clash

Ancelotti was in high spirits ahead of the biggest game of the season (Author: Gardener)

Carlo AncelottiPARIS -- If Real Madrid's dressing rooms have a reputation for being a viper's den, even in the best of times, there's no doubt that Carlo Ancelotti is their snake charmer. A side who have turned against Jose Mourinho, who were quick to ditch Julen Lopetegui and seemed to have concluded that Rafael Benitez wasn't up to much in a matter of days, can't help but praise their current boss to the skies . Marcelo, in his 16th and possibly last season at Madrid, might have more reason than most to be unhappy with a manager who is turning to him less and less. It's not like Ancelotti has no history on this. This will be Marcelo's fifth Champions League final (as many as the Italian has in the Madrid dugout). In the first of these, Ancelotti decided not to pick the Brazilian, instead starting Fabio Coentrao. This season, the 34-year-old has made just five starts in La Liga, none in the Champions League. He used that to lavish the warmest praise on a manager who consistently fails to pick him. "I've known the coach for I don't know how many years," said Marcelo, "eight years. I was lucky to be coached by him.” He understands the game very well, he knows how to handle it in the dressing room. It's normal that we all want to play. I don't think we've had any problems this season. It's up to the coach. He keeps us calm, he tells the truth. We all want to matter and we all matter.” Want more coverage of the Champions League final? Listen to our bumper preview episode below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A daily CBS soccer podcast where we take you off the field and around the world for commentary, previews, recaps etc. The faith, energy and vibrancy that emanated from Madrid when they first hit Paris Saint-Germain, then Chelsea and finally Manchester City stunned on their remarkable journey to Paris? Ancelotti and his staff: "The good dynamic of the team is thanks to the coaching staff, we train very well and we know that they make decisions," said Madrid number one when it came time to address his players in their training session Im Stade de France was unmistakable for Ancelotti. You might think the 62-year-old from Emilia-Romagna is the true Galactico. A year ago, Ancelotti's place in the top echelons of club managers was lost and wanted to be over. He hadn't achieved much with Everton, although the 10th position he guided them to in 2020-21 looks far more impressive given their struggles this season. Now he's back in the big time, the perfect manager for a highly functional group of veterans. They don't want a lot of coaching. He trusts them to manage themselves. "This year feels like a long time," he said after rising from mid-table in England to the top of Europe. "I treat it naturally, reaching this final is a huge achievement for us. It's been a huge achievement to get to this point, we think we've had a very good season and we're very close to doing something big reach." Season. I'm here to officiate a game with the more experienced players and to help the younger ones create a good atmosphere in the squad with a lot of excitement and confidence flowing through the ranks." This is the biggest game that some players in of their careers, but for Ancelotti this is just another opportunity to joke that he's actually quite sad and name his favorite of five Champions League finals the one he lost. against that very opponent on Saturday (Liverpool came back from three goals down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties in 2005). The 62-year-old is perfectly relaxed - "It's my 15th final and I know I shouldn't think too much about what could happen" - because he knows it will only help if he puts that on his players projected to bring them to the finals in a moment. "I've really enjoyed this year, I've enjoyed my time at this club with these players," said Ancelotti. "I'm still enjoying it, I'm very happy and calm today, full of confidence. Tomorrow afternoon I might be a little worried, but you're fighting those worries through the players because they fill me with confidence." Date: Saturday, May 28 | Time: 3 p.m. ET-TV: CBS | Live Stream: Paramount+ (free trial) Odds: Liverpool +104; Draw +270; Madrid +245 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

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Champions League and Championship Playoff Finals

A look back at our updates ahead of the Champions League and Championship playoff finals (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueBraaf, 19, failed to break into the City team during his time at the Etihad and hopes - up to a point - to make a Jadon Sancho from now on. And to that bomb I give you back David. “Jurgens Vogel *is* the boss. Boss means great,” Scouse explains to Anna Machell. "I think you must know that?! We also had 'Ulla Klopp Scouse Queen' that season and they were inspired by her role in his decision to sign a contract extension. Ulla is also boss, she walks the game and is often away with the fans.” In the latest team news, Fabinho and Thiago are both on the plane to Paris with Liverpool's squad. "The photo of the 'Jurgen's Bird's Boss' flag [12:26 p.m.] - hmm - the apostrophes are annoying," writes Charles Antaki. (Because if so, then an element is missing - who is the boss of Jürgens Vogel? So is the first apostrophe a contraction, and we need to fill in a missing definite article, yielding "Jürgen is (der) Vogelboss"? Or maybe the first is possessive and the second a contraction, so it should come out, "Jürgens Vogel is (the) boss?" Plausible in the end, but phew, that's a lot of work for a flag." So I read it too, though As someone whose job it is to target contractions, I'd cringe a bit if I was on the same Paris square as them. A good editor never sleeps. Also, a few words from Nigel Clough about tomorrow's playoffs final, courtesy by PA Media: Mansfield manager Nigel Clough doesn't want to bore his players with tales of his past Wembley successes ahead of Saturday's League 2 play-off final, claiming a place in third for the first time in almost 20 years n league ears. While the visit to Wembley could be a first for most of his side, it won't be a new experience for Clough, who has played at the old stadium on several occasions and has also made it with Sheffield United at the new one. The 56-year-old knows exactly how to achieve victory there, having scored twice in the 1989 League Cup final as Nottingham beat Forest Luton and featured again the following year as Forest did it again with a 1-0 win over Oldham won. But he won't share those stories ahead of this game. We have a lot of players over 30, but still. We won't bore them with such old stories.” Players may be grateful not to hear the story of what happened to the Forest side after their 1990 success over Oldham. Despite the 1-0 win, boss Brian Clough wasn't happy with his team's performance and got them up and running the day after. He added: “I remember being a lot more nervous the second time against Oldham. "We didn't play very well that day but we won 1-0 and the manager was disappointed with our performance so he let us go the next day. Because the performance wasn't good enough. It's a bit different as it's the last day of the season, I don't think we can bring them in on Sunday as much as we would like.” Thank you David. And I'll definitely set you up with some talks between Mansfield and Port Vale. It's very difficult to decide, in a division where only five points separated third from ninth and only one separated the two finalists, Vale finished fifth ahead of Mansfield's seventh. Mansfield prevailed in the semi-finals against a side from Northampton who might still have been reeling from the crazy goal frenzy that saw Bristol Rovers rob them of automatic promotion, while Port Vale needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Swindon. However, Vale ended the season stronger and could be considered a fringe favorite. But Nigel Clough's side are organized and tough to beat, with a strong attacking line (although they don't always play in his old man's celebrated style). It will be a particularly emotional day for Vale manager Darrell Clarke against the hometown club he used to both watch and play for. And Ben Fisher spoke to him about why: Port Vale's Darrell Clarke: "There have been and will be many dark days." Tom Diggles writes via email: "It feels like you and The Guardian forget that there is far more important play-off game taking place on Saturday, Port Vale vs Mansfield Town. It may not be the richest game in the history of the universe or bring together two super duper super clubs in Paris, but it is very important to me and many others! Up the Vale.” Right, it's time for Tom Davies to take the baton for a while. He will give you some prep for Mansfield vs Port Vale on Saturday and Sunday's Championship showdown between Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest. I put out the old videos and did a bit of youtube. I like the simple rhythm of Barry Davies' McDermott commentary. And Clives are all good. It's Tommy Smith!" "Neal vs. Kneib.... and with that simplicity, the European Cup is surely won.” - Barry Davies “Now Dalglish. In front of the gate. It's there, Dalglish.” - Brian Moore. Alan Kennedy... and he keeps going… and he scores!” - Barry Davies. “Liverpool are European champions. Alan Kennedy's penalty leaves Rome in turmoil and Merseyside cheer.” - Brian Moore.“Riise. Into Gerrard! Steven Gerrard raises Milan's doubts. "Hit by Smicer. It is in! It is in! Vladimir Smicer! Two goals in two minutes for Liverpool. Liverpool were 3-0 down five minutes ago…. and now look at the result!” “There will be no second chances if Shevchenko misses… he saved it! The European Cup returns to England and Anfield! Liverpool are European champions again!” – Clive Tyldesley “Salah vs Lloris. And he scores. And Liverpool make the perfect start to the Champions League final.” Origi with the chance. And that certainly wins it for Liverpool. The hero in the semi-final against Barcelona is the hero in the final for Liverpool against Tottenham.” - Darren Fletcher I've been trying to figure out how Liverpool's season should be rated if they a) win, b) don't win the Champions League. And I think I've got it down to this... Imagine it's the 1970's and you're getting wind that the Beatles might be reforming. The story just won't go away and on the fringes of their comeback concert in Paris, there's a very real thought that this is going to fucking happen. It's not the complete Fab Four, but that could still be something special. So if you're still following, these are the two options left. 1 / Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr perform in Paris. Sure, the foursome would have been nice, but what a concert for three!2/ Macca is also moving out. George and Ringo play some songs. It's good, but there's a sense of what could have been. Just to hammer home the point (Maxwell's silver): My feeling is that Liverpool need a Paul or a John to make this season memorable. Otherwise it's a bit of a disappointment. Alan Kennedy, the former Reds left-back, has been a busy man reminiscing this week. Although Bob Paisley said "they shot the wrong Kennedy", after a poor debut for Liverpool, old Barney Rubble was something of a magical presence for Liverpool in the final and, of course, beat home the winner against Real Madrid in 1981. First Liverpool didn't have a throw-in coach back then but this is certainly a contender for one of the best goals scored by one. Kudos to Ray Kennedy for his quick thinking. Secondly, that breath of fresh air from the Madrid defender! It probably didn't have a flag that said "Spain". Madrid." What was the 36-handicapper thinking? The repetition behind the goal looks 20 times worse.

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Champions League and Championship Playoff Finals

A look back at our updates ahead of the Champions League and Championship playoff finals (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueBack to Jurgen Klopp and he is asked if the final will be moved from St. Petersburg. "That the game is still happening and not taking place in St Petersburg is exactly the right message." This time a German journalist asks Klopp in English about Bayern's interest and after some bantz from the Liverpool boss that the question was in French should be asked, says Klopp: "This is the wrong moment to talk about it. Wherever he plays next season, he's going to be a great player." That's what Mane said yesterday... Honestly, the answer I can give you now is I'm feeling very good and I'm full focus on Saturday's game. That's the answer I have to give before the final. But come back to me on Saturday and I'll be sure to give you the best answer you want to hear. I will then give you everything you want to hear. Let's win for now because I don't have time for other things. I'll do anything to win it because it's my biggest dream and every boy's dream, then I'll give you the answers. A few British journalists ask Jürgen Klopp about the pitch in Paris. This pitch is new since yesterday, which isn't the best news for either team. We will conduct a normal session as planned. Someone thought it would be a good idea to broadcast the pitch the day before - that's an interesting idea. Real Madrid will train after us. You'll hear the same thing from Carlo [Ancelotti]. I have no idea how bad or good it is. You don't care if you win. More from Jurgen Klopp and he answers a question on the rumors linking Sadio Mane with Bayern Munich. “Sadio is in the shape of his life. I don't give a damn about the Bayern Munich rumours. "It's not the first time Bayern Munich rumors have surfaced ahead of big games!" Klopp gives positive fitness update on Thiago and FabinhoJürgen Klopp sits down to address the assembled press. This is the Liverpool manager's fourth Champions League final. He starts with: “The mood is good. Very well. I'm really happy to be here now.” He also gives an update on the fitness of midfield duo Thiago and Fabinho. "Looking good for both Thiago and Fabinho, Thiago trained with the team yesterday, Fabinho trained quite normally so let's take it from there." It's worth noting that this Champions League final comes less than a week after the Premier League ended. That can be seen as a negative in terms of trying to get players fit, but 2019 saw a three-week gap between Liverpool's last league game and the final against Spurs. 'Rhythm' is a big word in the Liverpool camp - Andy Robertson just mentioned it in his press conference - and they barely had one that night despite winning the game. There was a two-week gap before Liverpool played Real Madrid in the 2018 final in Kyiv. Liverpool's Andy Robertson was asked if he was considering emulating fellow left-back Alan Kennedy in scoring a winner for the Reds in a Paris final against Real Madrid. (PA Media) As soon as we reached the final, many people sent me this (video) or said they would bet Liverpool 1-0 and my goal. I don't think I met him (Kennedy). Maybe one day I will and we can talk about that goal and how he did it. Obviously I can't change history; He scored a wonderful goal that made Liverpool win the Champions League, if I can do it then I can do it. But I'm more focused on performing well and trying to be solid defensively. When we have a good base, I'll let someone else try to be the hero. Out of interest, it's almost 180/1 for Robertson to score in the 1-0 win. Clément Turpin will referee Saturday's Champions League final. Seems to make sense to give a Frenchman a final in Paris. The 39-year-old Burgundy official has officiated two French Cup finals at the Stade de France and keen referee-sighters will have seen him at the last two European Championships and the 2018 World Cup. Here he is, booking Real Madrid's Eder Militao in the quarter-final first leg against Chelsea. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Meet the team: Turpin will be joined by compatriots Nicolas Danos and Cyril Gringore, while another Frenchman, Benoît Bastien, will be fourth official. Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke to uefa.com ahead of his fifth Champions League final. The 62-year-old Italian has won three of his previous four. We've met many times in my Champions League career. The first time was in Rome in 1984. I didn't play because I was injured. Then, in 2005 and 2007 [when Ancelotti was AC Milan coach] and of course the rivalry was accentuated during the time I worked at Everton. They have a great squad, it's hard to face them. They play at a very high level, with great physicality, but it's a pleasure to play against them in the final. [2005] it was the best team I've ever played in a final. It is hard to explain. It's hard to explain how we scored twice in one minute in the 90th minute against [Manchester] City [in the semifinals]. These things happen and you have to accept it. You don't have to think too much about it either. Football always offers [a chance for redemption] and that happened two years later [when AC Milan beat Liverpool in the 2007 final]. Ancelotti also spoke about the concept of revenge. Will Liverpool seek revenge for 2018 final defeat by Madrid? Real Madrid also want revenge because they lost a final against Liverpool in Paris [the 1981 final]. I don't think it [means much]. Two great teams face off and the one with more guts and personality will win in the end. Like I said [Liverpool have] a lot of quality together, with high intensity and good organisation. They are one of the best teams. [Jürgen Klopp is] a great coach. I have a good relationship with him. [He's] a great coach who has brought some new things to football with the intensity and attacking pressure [of his teams]. He's doing a great job. Harvey Elliott was in the crowd as Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv. This time, the childhood Reds fan is part of the Liverpool squad. The 19-year-old midfielder, who suffered a serious ankle injury at Leeds earlier in the season, returned to action in February and is hoping to find a place on the bench in Paris. I still support the team as a fan but can't say. Being there as a player is a dream in itself. I don't know how it's going to feel because I've never experienced it as a player before, so many emotions going through me. I just have to put them aside and focus on the game. There's going to be that excitement, but I'm only waiting when asked to make sure I'm focused and ready. Saying I've played and even been in matchday squads was one of my dreams when I was playing for Liverpool. I don't think I've played as much as I wanted since coming back, but I hope to play football for many years to come. Just to win the trophy, let alone my breakthrough season, would be a dream. Both Ulla and Liverpool are bosses, which just so happens to be Jurgen's own role in the context of the club, if not his own home.

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SmackDown Results (05/27) - The Brawling Brutes Vs. Woods, Kingston & McIntyre, The KO Show Returns

Welcome to our WrestlingINC.com Live Impact Wrestling Viewing Party! Don't forget to share our viewing party with your friends on social media and let us know your thoughts on the show in the comments section below. (Author: Gardener)

The Brawling Brutes VsThe show begins with a recap of last week's tag team title unification match with the Uso's and RKBro. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcome the crowd at home. Samantha Irvin then introduces the Uso's and they make their way to the ring. Jimmy prompts the audience to raise their hands in the air to thank tribal chief Roman Reigns. Jey says they have been with the company for 12 years. He says that in a million years he never thought they would still be in the same company in the ring. He says audiences have seen their ups and downs and seen how they grew up before them. Jimmy goes on to say that they haven't needed anyone in the last 12 years and starts laughing. Shinsuke Nakamura's music plays and the crowd cheers. He comes out and says he and his partner are challenging her to a match for the tag team titles. The uso asks where his partner is and Shinsuke reveals that it is Riddle. The Uso's and Riddle and Shinsuke Nakamura start punching each other. The Uso gain the upper hand and knock out Nakamura two to one. Riddle jumps off the top rope to make the save and kicks the uso out of the ring. There's then a video pack that recaps Ronda Rousey's open challenge against Raquel Rodriguez a couple of weeks ago. Rodriguez comes to the ring. We go backstage to the women's locker room with Natalya, Aliyah, Xia Li and Shayna Baszler. Shotzi Blackheart asks the others why Rodriguez gets another shot at the title. Shotzi is locked in the dressing room by Aliyah (after Shotzi did the same to Aliyah a few weeks ago). Back from the commercial break, Nakamura and Riddle are backstage. They are interviewed by Kayla Braxton, who asks how Orton thinks they are a tag team. Ronda Rousey then makes his way to the ring. The bell rings and Rodriguez hits a waist lock takedown. Rousey rolls Rodriguez in but she kicks out. Rodriguez lifts her onto her shoulders and enters a submission. Baszler and Natalya interfere in the match, prompting the referee to ring the bell. Ronda Rousey and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Back from break, original match converted to tag team match. Rodriguez and Baszler are in the ring. Baszler changes with Natalya. Natalya tries to capture the sniper, but Rodriguez escapes and tags in Rousey. Rousey performs judo throws in the ring and then slaps a knee. Natalya locks up a sniper but escapes by tagging Rodriguez. Natalya tags in with Baszler and Baszler knocks her down with a few kicks. Rodriguez hits a corkscrew elbow off the ropes and attempts a pin but Natalya cuts him off. Rousey sends her out of the ring. Baszler is distracted by the two women fighting on the outside and Rodriguez hits the powerbomb to win. Commentary exaggerates Money in the Bank before we go into the commercial break. Back from the break, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are backstage with McKenzie Mitchell. She asks them who her partner is for their tag match tonight and says they won't reveal until they get to the ring. Woods says they have the element of surprise on their side. Then there's a video pack that recaps what Happy Corbin did to Madcap Moss two weeks ago. The comment reveals that Moss will be back next week. Los Lotharios make their way to the ring and do their kissing cam segment. We then go to another commercial break. Back from the break, Mahal's music is playing but he is nowhere to be seen. We go backstage and Mahal is looking for Shanky. He opens a door and Shanky is in the room listening to Mahal's music to get ready. Mahal's music plays again and he and Shanky appear. The bell rings. Carrillo and Shanky close up. Shanky gets the upper hand and hits a big boot. Shanky tags in Mahal. Mahal smacks Shanky to the mat. Carrillo delivers a drop kick and tags into Garza. The two deliver Mahal a double whammy. Garza hits a side head lock and tags in Carrillo. Mahal delivers a backdrop to Carrillo. Shanky sneaks up behind him and delivers a big boot. In the ring, Carrillo kicks Mahal for the win after Mahal was distracted by the action outside the ring. He asks if Pearce has contacted Legal about his agency, and Pearce says he's officially on SmackDown. We're going back to the ring and the music hits by Kevin Owens. He comes to the ring and the commentary reveals that he will be hosting a member of the Bloodline. Back from recess, Owens greets the audience on "The Kevin Owens Show." He says he's on "SmackDown" tonight because he was chasing Elias (whom he believes is working as Ezekiel on the side). He says he will hunt him down and reveal his "true self". Owens reveals his guest tonight is the dressing room leader and a close confidant of the tribe, Sami Zayn. Owens says Zayn was amazing on Bloodline and Zayn says Owens was amazing on Raw. Zayn says Ezekiel is obviously Elias and Owens says it feels good to have someone behind him. Owens invites Zayn to "Raw" to expose the liars in the dressing room, but Zayn says he's too busy and declines his offer. Zayn calls Owens "Uce" and Owens says he forgot Zayn was naive. Owens tells Zayn he's not in the bloodline and says he sounds like an idiot. Owens says he should listen to his true friend (him). Zayn gets angry and says that Elias and Ezekiel are two different people and everyone but him can see that. Owens asks why the Bloodline abandoned him on "Raw". Owens says if he calls the Bloodline they'll leave Zayn high and dry again. Owens tells Zayn the bloodline couldn't care less about him. Zayn says he doesn't know what he's talking about and leaves the ring. Owens goes after him and Zayn pushes him against the barricade. As backstage staff take down the "KO Show" signs, Owens, furious at what just happened to Zayn, delivers seds to both of them. There's then a video pack summarizing how the Brawling Brutes came together. Ricochet and Drew Gulak come to the ring together. Then we go on a commercial break. In the ring, we get a backstage video pack showing Ricochet rescuing Gulak from Gunther to form their ally ship. Kaiser introduces Gunther to the audience and the two come to the ring. Gulak and Kaiser start the action. The bell rings and Kaiser takes Gulak down. While the referee turns his back on her, Gunther Gulak kicks in from the outside. Kaiser tags in Gunther and throws him over the top rope out of the ring. Back from the break Gunther Gulak has in a submission. He changes Kaiser. Kaiser uses a waist lock, but Gulak escapes and switches to Ricochet. Ricochet trips Kaiser and then delivers a springboard into a crossbody. Kaiser rolls up Ricochet but kicks out. Gulak tags in and Kaiser jabs him in the throat. Kaiser grabs Gulak by the hair and delivers a kick, Kaiser kicks him to the mat to win. After the match, Gunther and Kaiser knock Gulak down and brutally kick him in the chest. Backstage is Sami Zayn with the Uso's. Zayn asks the Uso's what they honestly think of him and asks if he could be an honorary member. The Brawling Brutes head to the ring. Back from break there is a Memorial Day video pack. We go back to the ring. They say Kofi Kingston doesn't have the balls to fight them. New Day music hits come out. They say their partner will have no problem kicking Sheamus in the face. They reveal their partner as Drew McIntyre. Back from hiatus, Commentary comments on next week's Raw and SmackDown. The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch) vs. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Drew McIntyre Butch and Woods start the action. Butch hits a shoulder tackle and goes off the ropes. Kingston and Woods deliver a double bulldog to Butch. Butch punches Woods and tags in Sheamus. Sheamus kicks Woods to the mat and hits his 10 beats. He turns on Butch to deliver another beat. Butch tags Holland who delivers a suplex to Woods, he pins it but Woods kicks out. Woods delivers a forearm to Holland, then transfers to Kingston. He delivers a dropkick to Holland. Woods comes on, but he immediately tags on McIntyre. They deliver their singsite New Day Kicks. Kingston switches back to deliver the basement drop kick. Butch tries to interfere, but McIntyre knocks him out. Back from the break, Butch has an arm submission to Kingston. Kingston escapes and tagged Butch in Holland. Holland hits a running power slam, then Sheamus hits a knee drop to the top rope. Holland switches to Sheamus and Kingston delivers him a DDT. Kingston wants the tag, but Holland and Butch pull her off the apron. Butch puts McIntyre in the ring, Sheamus hits an Alabama slam for the pin, but Kingston steps out. Kingston hits Sheamus with a leg sweep. Kingston tags in McIntyre as Sheamus tags in Holland. McIntyre hits a big elbow followed by a belly to belly on Holland. Holland gets a throat chop but McIntyre turns it into a Glasgow kiss. He hits a claymore kick and then tags in Woods. Woods hits an elbow drop from the top rope and wins. The trio celebrate their victory in the ring as the show goes off the air.

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Governor Abbott is "angry" that he was misled in police response to gunfire

Here's everything we know about Friday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers. (Author: Gardener)

AbbottAuthorities are still reconstructing what happened after a gunman opened fire on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, killing 19 students and two teachers. Victor Escalon, regional director for the South Texas Department of Public Safety, said the gunman - identified as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident - had been at the school for about an hour before he was fatally shot. Texas officials are reviewing law enforcement's response to the incident and wondering if they acted quickly enough, as community members urged officers to storm the building where the gunman had barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom and where most victims died. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, is calling for a federal investigation, saying in a letter to the FBI that the people of Uvalde "deserve an accurate account of what happened." President Joe Biden is expected to visit Uvalde on Sunday to meet with the families of the victims. Follow us for live updates from the Uvalde, Texas shootings and their aftermath on Friday. Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking in Uvalde on Friday afternoon after law enforcement acknowledged officers were prevented from attacking the gunman who killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School, said he was "absolutely furious" at inaccurate information about the Shooting reaction he was deployed and then released to the public two days earlier. 'I'm angry': Gov. Abbott says he was misled about police action during Uvalde shooting "I was misled," Abbott told reporters. I was on this very stage two days ago and I was telling the public information that had been shared with me. I took detailed handwritten notes of what everyone in this room in turn told me what happened.” The bad information prompted Abbott to commend the officers for their courage in running towards the gunfire. "As everyone has learned, some of the information I have received has turned out to be inaccurate and I am absolutely furious about that," he said. Nineteen police officers were assembled outside the Uvalde classroom but prevented from breaching the locked door by an incident commander who believed no more lives were in danger. But frantic 911 calls from children inside the home proved the decision was a mistake, the state's chief justice official said Friday. It was the wrong decision," said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The decision to end the active shooters' response meant the commander believed it was time to get the keys to the classroom door from a janitor and a Border Patrol tactical team to arrive, McCraw said But according to a new timeline provided by McCraw, the gunman traveled back and forth between two classrooms connected by a shared bathroom for 77 minutes while students and teachers called 911 for help, including a girl who begged, "Please send the police now." When asked why the 911 operators didn't notify officers that people were still alive inside and turned the situation back into an active shooter response that required immediate Action required, McCraw said he doesn't have that answer yet. You don't have time," he said. In pre-recorded notes Pronouncements played at Friday's convention, Gov. Greg Abbott reiterated his assertion that gun regulations do little to prevent mass shootings. "There are thousands of laws on the books of the country restricting the possession or use of firearms, laws that have not stopped lunatics from committing evil acts against innocent people in peaceful communities," Abbott said, pulling the trigger by he owned a firearm on school grounds."But that didn't stop him," Abbott said.His comments were similar to those he shared in Uvalde on Wednesday.He prayed for the community in Uvalde and applauded those who were acting to save Contribute to students during the attack and today focus on the role of teachers rather than law enforcement officers."These men and women are heroes for their fearless defense of the children in their care," he said.The Weapon: The AR-15 rifle, the weapon , which killed 21 people in Uvalde and which was often used in mass shootings Shooting in this country is right now, right here today with every one Individual of us.” Our children are counting on us,” O'Rourke said, speaking from the stage at a demonstration at Discovery Green Park in Houston. O'Rourke, who is running for governor, also addressed NRA leaders and supporters directly, urging them "to join us in making sure this doesn't happen again in this country." We extend our hand, open and unarmed, as a gesture of peace and community, to welcome you to join us to ensure this no longer happens in this country. But now it's time for you to answer and join us. Those who will become victims of the next mass shooting if we don't act are counting on us right now. “To the leadership of the NRA and to the politicians you bought, to the men and women in positions of power who care more about your power than using that power to save the lives of those you should serve, if any what you have done is the fact that you have brought us together here and we are committed to action. Some Democrats and at least one Republican are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Legislature to address gun violence in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting. In a tweet, Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said state officials should continue to offer prayers for the community, but there is also a need to "do something." "Governor Abbott should call us to special meetings until we do SOMETHING that the FBI or DPS BELIEVE will reduce the likelihood of another Uvalde tragedy," said Seliger, who announced last year that he is not seeking re-election. The governor is the only official who can summon state legislators back to the Texas Capitol for a special session of the legislature and set the agenda for the state legislature. Editorial: Another school shooting. This time in Uvalde. Two Democrats running for state office also called a special session Friday: Mike Collier, who is running for lieutenant governor, and Rochelle Garza, a candidate for attorney general. "In three months, millions of Texas children will be returning to their classrooms," they said in a joint statement. “Before that, the state legislature must hold a special session to pass legislation that will reduce the likelihood of another tragedy in our state. Our children must act because now is the time to stop the next shooting.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned in a media release that Texans should beware of scammers after the Uvalde school shooting. “Following the tragic murders at Robb Elementary, Texans have come together to offer comfort and support to one another during this time of unspeakable grief. According to the press release, best practices to avoid fraud include donating through verified platforms like GoFundMe and not transferring money or verifying personal information like a social security number. CharityWatch and Guidestar are two websites that provide information on the validity of donors and nonprofits, the attorney general's office said. Governor Greg Abbott canceled Thursday night's scheduled in-person appearance at a National Rifle Association convention in Houston, and Lt. gov. Instead, Abbott will appear on videotape at the NRA gathering and travel to Uvalde for an update press conference on government funding for people affected by a mass shooting in the south Texas town. Patrick said his decision was made "after prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials." "While I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I do not wish my coming today to bring any additional pain or sadness to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde," he said. Earlier this week, the NRA recommitted "We have decided to cancel the performance out of respect for those grieving the loss of the innocent children and teachers in Uvalde," Greenwood said in a statement Thursday. Former President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he would attend the convention as scheduled The University Hospital in San Antonio released an unidentified 10-year-old girl, the first of three children killed in downtown San Antonio after the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday Antonio were treated. The 66-year-old grandmother of the shooter, who was shot in the face before the shooter drove her pickup truck to school, also remains in the hospital in serious condition. Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell said Thursday, he wants GOP lawmakers to work with Democrats on a legislative solution to end the Grundsch shooting ule to tackle in Uvalde. In what could mean a possible breakthrough in gun legislation, McConnell told CNN he met with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and encouraged him to work with key Democratic senators "to try to get an outcome that will be in directly related to the problem. Asked if he thought the potential areas of compromise would include warning flag legislation, background checks or mental health issues, McConnell said he asked Cornyn "to meet with the Democrats who are interested in a bipartisan solution and come up with a proposal if possible." that's designed to solve that particular problem smeared her friend's blood on herself to look dead. She said Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia -- her teachers, who both died in the shooting -- received an email about a school shooter while she and her classmates were visiting "Lilo & Stitch," CNN reported. According to a CNN reporter, one of the teachers walked to the door and made eye contact with the shooter. He pushed her back into the classroom, made eye contact with her again, said "Goodnight," then shot the teacher. He started playing sad music," said CNN reporter Nora Neus. "She just said it sounded like 'I want people to die' music." Families and friends mourn the 21 victims of the Uvalde school shootings Currently, confirmed victims, according to American Statesman reporters, are: Uvalde victims: 'He Was Our Baby': Families Share Stories of Those Who Died in Uvalde School Shootings When the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, she knew she had to do something, and she knew she had to do it fast. Ahmadi, a junior at Essex High School in Vermont who is a member of the National Advisory Board of Students Demand Action, chose a strike as the only option: "Our lives are more important than schoolwork," she said. Ahmadi cried out on social media took action and notified the school administration. "This wasn't the right time to ask for permission," she said. It became the first in a series of stallions strikes across the country in response to Tuesday's massacre, most of them Thursday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT and largely coordinated by local groups from Students Demand Action, a youth-led organization , which advocates for stronger gun control. Students walk out: 'It didn't feel like a time to ask for permission': After a Texas school shooting, students walk out for gun law reform Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left an interview after a Reporter had asked him why some mass shootings take place "only in America" ​​after this week's shooting at a Texas elementary school. Cruz responded that "going into politics is easy." When Sky News reporter Mark Stone called gun reform "the heart of the problem," Cruz criticized the gun reform measures proposed by Democratic lawmakers and journalists. “But why does this only happen in your country? During the back-and-forth, Cruz replied, "I'm sorry you hate the American state of emergency," before telling the reporter, "You have your political agenda." Question from Ted Cruz: Ted Cruz exits interview after question on US -Mass Shootings: "Your Political Agenda" Even as a gunman mowed down 19 fourth graders and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the NRA is drawing an A-list politician to its annual convention in Houston, 300 miles away. According to the NRA website, former President Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other officials were scheduled to speak Friday at a leadership forum scheduled to open the gathering. "The entire state of Texas, the entire country, is in grief, terribly," Cruz told NBC after Tuesday's Texas shooting, but he said Thursday he was still going to the NRA convention. "I'm going to be there because after every mass shooting, Democrats and the press try to demonize law-abiding gun owners, try to demonize the NRA," the senator from the CBS Dallas affiliate said. More on the NRA Congress: Families mourn in Uvalde. In Houston, 300 miles across Texas, the NRA will hold its annual congressional updates on Thursday: 9-year-old victim's father says parents asked police to confront shooter, and more on what we hear on Thursday have learned. Remembering the victims: 19 primary school students died in shooting rampage at Uvalde school. 'The pain doesn't stop': Joe Garcia, husband of Texas teacher killed in Uvalde shooting, dies of heart attack Presidential visit to Uvalde: Biden travels to Texas to comfort families of victims of school shootings in Uvalde sparks a well-known debate: Are guns the problem or the solution? Here's how you can help: Uvalde Strong Fund, a fundraiser for victims of Texas school shootings.

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The St. Louis Blues keep the season alive with a dramatic overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche

The Blues scored in the last minute and then won in overtime through Tyler Bozak's goal to force a Game 6 against the Colorado Avalanche in St. Louis. (Author: Gardener)

the Colorado AvalancheDENVER — Tyler Bozak and the St. Louis Blues experienced just about every emotion imaginable over the course of a game in which they fell three goals behind. Bozak scored a 3:38 in overtime and the Blues repelled elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, overcoming two deficits in a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. Bozak, a fourth-row center, unleashed a shot from near the blue line that went past Darcy Kuemper, capping a remarkable comeback for St. Louis. "It was an amazing hockey game," said Bozak. Robert Thomas had two goals, including the tie with 56 seconds remaining on aggregate, for a resilient Blues team. According to NHL stats, it's the Blues' most recent decisive goal before elimination. Vladimir Tarasenko and Justin Faulk also scored, Nick Leddy had four assists and Pavel Buchnevich had two. They never doubted - even with 0:3 in the second period and 3:4 in the third period. "You have nothing to lose, you might as well throw it all away," Thomas said. The comeback compensated for a hat-trick from Nathan MacKinnon, who looked like he just scored a signature moment with goal No. 3. He went from end to end, deftly working his stick past Blues defender Leddy and flicking a shot over goalkeeper Ville Husso to put him 4-3 up. It was his second postseason hat trick of his career. "Never mind," MacKinnon said of his performance. Thomas connected it with Husso on the bench for an extra skater and set the stage for Bozak, who played college hockey at the University of Denver. Considering he didn't play much in the third period as the Blues only rolled out three lines. "There's definitely no such thing as a bad shot," Bozak said. So that's great.” The Blues have bounced back from a 3-1 deficit and have won two playoff series in their history – in 1999 against Phoenix and in 1991 against Detroit. "This team has come a long way in games this year so they're not giving up," said Blues coach Craig Berube. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog also scored and Bowen Byram provided two assists for the Avalanche, who were close to reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2002. The second round proved to be a major hurdle for the Avalanche. They have been eliminated at this point in each of the last three postseasons. Very simple,” said Landeskog. "This is playoff hockey. Husso made 30 saves for St. Louis. He took over in Game 3 when Jordan Binnington was injured following a collision between Nazem Kadri and Blues defender Calle Rosen which resulted in Kadri crashing into Binnington. He responded with a hat trick in Game 4. MacKinnon came out in the first half, making five shots and scoring twice to give Colorado an early 2-0 lead. Those were the first two goals of the streak for MacKinnon, who has scored seven in the postseason. The speedy MacKinnon also had an assist that gave him 82 career playoff points. After Landeskog made it 3-0 just over 4 minutes into the second period, Tarasenko scored his first goal of the series 10½ minutes later to give the Blues a jump-start. "We figured things out a bit," said MacKinnon, whose side are 4-0 up in the playoffs. ... Win the third, go to the conference finals, whatever. It's a period. We have to keep our game going, stay aggressive. We will do that.” Berube opened his pre-game call with reporters on Wednesday by condemning the racist threats against Kadri. "In no way is it acceptable for the St. Louis Blues or anyone else that he's going through this," Berube said. “Being a Native American myself, I've heard it all. I was close It's not a good thing."

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What we learned from the Mavericks-Warriors Western Conference Finals series

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday night, winning the Western Conference Finals in five games and advancing to the 2022 NBA Finals. (Author: Gardener)

MavericksThe rest of the NBA may have had two years without the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, but with their full recovery, the Warriors are in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons after defeating the Golden State Warriors Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. With a 120-110 win over the Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals Thursday night, Golden State redeemed their ticket back to the NBA Finals, and while they've been there before, it was a surreal moment for Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green . "It's really hard to put into words," Thompson said after the game. Thompson, who tore a left cruciate ligament in the 2019 NBA Finals followed by a right Achilles tendon while recovering from his cruciate ligament injury, missed two full seasons and has repeatedly admitted to having doubts about his long-term future. Klay Thompson, finally making his big comeback this January, finds himself back in the NBA Finals with redemption on his mind. "You could see how much has been missing in recent years," said all-star forward Draymond Green. The Warriors are now the only other franchises in NBA history to have, alongside the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, and Bill Russell's Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s, according to ESPN Reached the NBA Finals six times in eight years. Not only was Golden State head coach Steve Kerr a part of all those Finals appearances with the Warriors, but he himself was a part of greatness in the '90s with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, winning three titles as a player with Chicago. "I don't even know what to say when our team, our guys, especially the core group, is in it six times in eight years," Kerr said after his team secured a berth in the NBA Finals on Thursday. On the losing side, the Dallas Mavericks proved a lot this year, especially given the fact that no one thought they would make the Western Conference Finals but would win a playoff series on their own! In his first season as the team's head coach, Jason Kidd transformed the Mavs from one of the worst defensive teams in the league into an elite defensive team that comes close to being a true championship threat year after year and year round. Heading into the offseason, they have some important roster decisions to make, but if they've got one thing clear, it's that they won't be going anywhere in the Western Conference any time soon. Although it was over quickly, the 2022 Western Conference Finals was a great spectacle with many stars showing off great. As the Warriors head to the NBA Finals again, let's take a look at the key things we learned from their streak against the Mavericks. Stephen Curry was the series MVP and we all know the impact All-Stars Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins had on this team, but the most important player for the Warriors is and was Kevon Looney. When you talk about the "glue guys" in the NBA who play their roles perfectly and do their best night after night, it's really hard not to say that Looney is one of the best. He's an "undersized" center and definitely not the most talented big man or most athletic player in the league, but Kevon Looney has an extremely high basketball IQ, knows how to play to his strengths, and has been with the Warriors since 1996 for quite some time. This is Looney's seventh NBA season and while people tend to say the Warriors don't have a center all the time, he's proven to be one hell of a center! In that series against Dallas, the 6-foot-9 tall man averaged 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and he shot 70.6% from the floor. This was possibly Looney's best playoff streak of all time, and he had a couple of career games against the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals this year. After a performance of 10 points and 5 rebounds in Game 1, Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds in a massive come-from-behind win in Game 2 for Golden State. In Game 3, Looney had another strong performance with 9 points and 12 rebounds and on Thursday to close he recorded another double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Just under 36% of Looney's total rebounds in that streak came on the offensive end of the floor, and time and time again his aggressiveness on the inside really helped breathe life into the Warriors when they needed it most. The Mavericks didn't have any inside solutions for Kevon Looney, and while he might not be the greatest player on the floor, Looney plays his role perfectly and knows what he needs to do to help the Warriors win games. What he's accomplished so far in the playoffs has helped propel the Warriors into a championship contender once again, and with him set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kevon Looney is making quite a buck from his recent games performances. Luka Doncic is a generational talent who is already one of the faces of the NBA at 23, but he alone will not lead the Dallas Mavericks to basketball immortality. There are so many talented players in today's league and almost every team has an all-star level player, so it's really hard to imagine that one player can single-handedly give a team a title. Maybe it will happen again, but if the Mavericks learned anything from that series against Golden State, it's that they need another high-profile All-Star-like talent alongside Doncic to take some of the pressure off of him. Against Golden State, Luka literally had to do anything, and this seemed to repeat itself over and over again in the postseason for Dallas. The Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. The list of teams with multiple All-Stars and All-Star-like talent goes on and on, but when you look at the Dallas Mavericks and their roster, the only name that really stands out as an elite-level threat is the it can stand over a game is Luka Doncic. They don't want to and shouldn't shake up their roster too much in the offseason, especially after that run to the Western Conference Finals, but moving forward and looking at the big picture over the long term, the Mavericks are still a long way from a true title threat in the NBA. Those were the words of Stephen Curry after the Golden State Warriors were knocked out of the play-in tournament by the Memphis Grizzlies and failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year last year. Exactly one year and four days later, Stephen Curry lifts the first MVP trophy of the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals as the Warriors find themselves back in the NBA Finals! After losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, all hope seemed lost for the Warriors as a franchise, not only because Kevin Durant had torn his Achilles tendon and was likely to leave Golden State, but also because Klay Thompson was keen had torn cruciate ligament and the team had important roster decisions to make. At the start of the 2019-20 season, Stephen Curry suffered a broken hand and Draymond Green also missed major streaks through injury, resulting in the Warriors finishing with the worst record in the league. The 2020-21 season wasn't all that much better for the Warriors either as they continued to struggle with key injuries in their roster and now, as previously mentioned, Klay Thompson is out again with a torn Achilles tendon. So many question marks surrounded this team and its health heading into the 2021-22 season, and many wondered if we had seen the last of this new dynasty in the NBA. Now Golden State is the first team to go from the worst record in the NBA to a Finals appearance in three seasons since a team did so in 1964-67. The teams they faced in their sixth NBA Finals in the last seven years at the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls tell you everything you need to know about this Golden State Warriors franchise. This era of Curry, Thompson and Green is one of the greatest dynasties in the league of all time, and should they win another title this year, it would be really hard not to call them the greatest dynasty in basketball history. What they have had to go through through injury and conquer individually is a remarkable feat and the only thing evident in the league is that the Warriors are still Public Enemy #1 which must mean the dynasty lives on! * Klay Thompson's emotional post-Game 6 quote: Klay Thompson spoke to TNT after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks to advance to the NBA Finals on Thursday night. * Here's what Steve Kerr said after the Warriors beat the Mavs: Steve Kerr met with the media after the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Thursday night to win the Western Conference Finals.

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