After 124 thrilling games, the final showpiece of the UEFA Champions League between Tottenham and Liverpool will take place in the Spanish capital, Madrid. For the second time in history, football enthusiasts will witness an all-English final on Saturday, June 1 at Estadio Metropolitan, Atletico Madrid’s home ground.
Appearing for the first time in a European Cup final, Tottenham will be the eighth English club to do so after the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Leeds, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. The Lilywhites were least favourites to come this far especially after their two successive defeats in matchday 1 and 2 against Inter Milan and Barcelona respectively to finish runners up in group B.
Spurs managed to outclass Borussia Dortmund both home and away and edged out Manchester City in the quarter-finals 5-3 on aggregate to set-up a mouth-watering clash with Ajax in the semi-final. Despite losing 1-0 in the first leg at home, Pochettino’s men were trailing 2-0 in the first half when the extraordinary happened after Lucas Moura had pulled one goal back in the 55th minute.
Tottenham stunned the home crowd when Lucas Moura completed his hat-trick on the stroke of extra-time to spark wild celebrations from the bench and across England.
The Reds have a second bite at the cherry after losing to Real Madrid 3-1 in last season’s showpiece in Kiev’s NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium. Liverpool will be seeking for the 6th Champions League title making them the leading English club to land the prestigious trophy. Can Klopp finally get his hands on the elusive trophy after coming so close twice?
Like their domestic rivals, Liverpool also finished runners up in the group stage after defeats by the group leaders PSG and a 1-0 loss in the hands of Napoli. After overcoming Bayern Munich in the round of 16 and Napoli in the quarters, the Reds looked to have set their eyes on the final.
The incredible comeback at Anfield is still fresh in the minds of most football fans after Barcelona looked to have dumped out Klopp’s men with a 3-0 defeat at Camp Nou in the first leg. A quick corner by Alexander-Arnold in the 79th minute found Origi unmarked in the box to score his second goal of the night and win the tie 4-3 on aggregate.
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The North London side has played 3 previous games in Madrid drawing two and losing one. This season’s Champions League campaign has seen Tottenham win 6, draw 2 and lose 4 matches. However, it seems the determination is high after the club released a Champions League victory parade plan head of the showpiece on 1st June.
Coach Pochettino has key players in his team with injury concerns including the club’s joint top scorer in the Champions League this season, Harry Kane. Though he never featured since his injury against Manchester City in the campaigns quarter-finals, the coach is optimistic he will feature in the final together with the fellow country-man Harry Winks who has been out for the better part of the season. Defender Jan Vertonghen is still a doubt after injuring his ankle against Ajax in the second leg.
Liverpool has a couple of injury worries too with key players racing to get fit for the final. Guinean international Naby Keita is back in camp training with rest of the team and so is Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino who had a muscle strain. The Reds first XI is likely to feature: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino and Mané.