Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander
Toni Kroos is expecting a very stern test from Liverpool in the Champions League final (Picture: Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos believes Liverpool are a better team now than the one they faced in the 2018 Champions League final, hailing Thiago Alcantara as the man who ‘sets the standards in midfield.’

The two giants meet in the Champions League final again on Saturday in Paris, with Liverpool looking to gain some revenge for their 3-1 defeat four years ago.

The Reds have won Europe’s top competition since that meeting, and the Premier League for the first time, and most would agree with Kroos that they are a superior team now to 2018.

One reason the German reckons they have improved is the arrival of Thiago, who he holds in the highest of regards, playing in the same position in the middle of midfield.

‘Honestly, I think Liverpool is a better team than in 2018,’ said Kroos. ‘They managed to retain their best players and signed a few more.

‘Thiago sets the standards in midfield, they are still very strong at the back and I think, In terms of consistency , they were the best team in Europe this season.

‘But it’s still only one game and we also have to take into account that we eliminated them last season in the quarterfinals. The thing is 50%.’

The good news for Liverpool is that Thiago has been passed fit to play on Saturday after suffering a worrying injury in the last Premier League game of the season against Wolves.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that the Spain international is available to play against Real, as is Fabinho, so Liverpool will be at full strength.

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League
Kroos knows from first hand experience how tough a challenge Liverpool are (Picture: Getty Images)

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was not so sure that the Reds have developed over the last four years, saying: ‘They’re very good. ‘They haven’t changed much over the years. But in the end, we have to look at our game. And if we do our thing, then what happens happens. I’m confident.’

MORE : Steven Gerrard wants to sign Liverpool hero Luis Suarez for Aston Villa

MORE : Paul Merson makes Champions League final prediction as Liverpool take on Real Madrid

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