Jordan Henderson expects a very different Champions League final to the 2018 clash (Picture: Getty Images)

Jordan Henderson has warned Real Madrid that they are facing a much better Liverpool side this weekend in the Champions League final than the one they beat in the same fixture four years ago.

The two sides played out a memorable Champions League final four years ago in Kyiv, which Real Madrid won 3-1 thanks to a Karim Benzema opener and a Gareth Bale brace.

That only tells half the story, though, as Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius made a couple of glaring errors allowing Benzema to start the scoring and Bale to net one of his strikes.

The upgrade of Karius to current goalkeeper Alisson Becker is a big part of the improvement in the Liverpool side since then, but Henderson thinks there has been much more growth over the last four years and warns Real that it is a different beast they face on Saturday in Paris.

‘I would say they are facing a different Liverpool, for sure,’ Henderson told the Guardian.

‘We did very well to get there when we played Madrid in the final in 2018. The lads were incredible. But we’ve grown since then.

Liverpool suffered a painful defeat to Real Madrid in 2018 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘New players have come in, we’ve been successful, we’ve had bad moments as well within that period, and all of that you learn from.

‘I definitely feel this is a different team to what Madrid faced a few years ago.’

The starting line-up in Kyiv four years ago included a number of names likely to play a part on Saturday, so it is not an entirely different Liverpool that will take on the Spanish giants.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Henderson himself all started the 2018 final and are likely to start in Paris.

However, they have since won the Champions League and Premier League under Jurgen Klopp, and have this season lifted the FA Cup and League Cup, while narrowly missing out on another Premier League title.

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With the likes of Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota now in their ranks, the Reds pose threats from many areas, although they are sweating on injuries as they head into the Champions League final.

Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are two more players who would likely start this weekend who were not involved four years ago, but neither is fully fit.

A hamstring injury for Fabinho is likely to have recovered in time for Saturday, but the problem Thiago picked up on the final day of the Premier League season against Wolves is unlikely to be cured in time.


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