Home Uncategorized The Road to the Champions League Final – who will reign triumphant?

The Road to the Champions League Final – who will reign triumphant?

Champions League Final
Champions League Final

It has been a long, tough season for Klopp and co, their bid for the Premiership title came down to the very last day .

Unlucky for Liverpool, Man City clinched the title by just one point. In any other year, ninety seven points should have secured the title but both City and Liverpool battled for the top spot for most of the season. Heartbreaking for Liverpool who has never won a Premiership title, runners up four times, the Koptites really thought this was their year but it’s not over yet!

Their bid for Champions League glory this season has been nothing short of miraculous!  In the first game of the Last 16, Liverpool drew 0-0 with Bayern Munich at Anfield but pulled off a 3-1 win in the away leg thanks to Mane’s two goals and Van Dijk’s first Champions League goal which booked their place in the quarter finals. Liverpool hosted Porto next and sealed the game with two goals from Naby Keita and Firmino. The away leg proved even easier for Liverpool with four goals from Mane,Salah, Firmino and Van Dijk with the hosts scoring just one from Eder Militao.

Liverpool then travelled to Barcelona for the away leg of their two leg tie, Liverpool more than held their own initially but former Merseyside striker Luis Suarez opened the scoring for the hosts. Liverpool crumbled under the pressure when Suarez’s shot hit the crossbar and Lionel Messi was in the right place at the right time to easily net the ball into an open goal. Messi made it 3-0 when he whipped in a superb free kick.

Barcelona arrived at Anfield for the return leg brimming with confidence and to be fair most people thought the game was just a formality. However Klopps side conjured one of the greatest European football comebacks ever at Anfield that night! Divock Origi’s early goal initially rallied the squad and the fans before midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum came off the bench at half-time to score twice within three minutes just before the hour. Liverpool’s winning goal came just eleven minutes from normal time when Alexander-Arnold went to take a corner, spotted an unmarked Origi in the box and faked a walk away, distracting Barca’s defenders before launching the ball into the box which Origi pounded into the net. Klopp replaced Origi with Joe Gomez to protect their lead and the last few minutes were tense with Barcelona went looking for an equalizer but  Virgil Van Dijk  cooly saw off any threat to see Liverpool book their place in their second successive Champions League Final.

So tomorrow night an all English Champions League final will be staged in Barcelona, what can we expect from an experienced Liverpool side and Tottenham’s debut appearance in the final?

Spurs had a convincing Champions League campaign. They won 0-4 on aggregate against Dortmund in the Round of 16. In the quarter finals they drew 4-4 on aggregate with Premiership winners Man City but progressed on away goals. In the semi’s Tottenham faced dutch giants Ajax but again won on away goals.

However, looking at both teams performance in this year’s Premier League, there is a wide gulf between second place Liverpool and fourth place Tottenham. Looking at their statistics – wins, losses, goals scored, goals allowed, goal differential, Liverpool eclipses Spurs. The most notable out of them is the most is losses: Liverpool with just one while Spurs suffered thirteen.

Liverpool obviously go into the game as favourites at 9/10 but anything can happen can in the beautiful game!

All eyes will be on Egyptian Mo Salah, Liverpools Premier League Golden Boot winner who has unfinished business in Europe. He was carted off the field just a half hour into the final against Real Madrid last year but he is in top form and will make it his business to make his presence count in tomorrow’s final. Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, will likely be the man charged with containing Salah’s efforts. Vertonghen is a very versatile player, normally a left-sided centre-back, he can also play at left-back and even excelled as left wing-back during Tottenham’s 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.

Liverpool will be keen to shut down the efforts of Spurs top goalscorer Harry Kane. The English International has been Spurs top scorer for the past five seasons after netting 31 times in his breakthrough campaign in 2014-15 season. However he is battling with an ankle ligament injury he sustained against Man City in April but he’s back in training and expected to play tomorrow night. Liverpool’s centre back Virgil van Dijk will be the go to man to shut Kane down. He was voted the 2018-19 PFA Players’ Player of the Year by his peers back in April, and is widely considered as one of the best defenders in the world. You only have to look at his performance against Barca in the semi’s to see the caliber of his talent. Having marked Kane in three Premier League games, Kane only got one goal and this from a penalty, so van Dijk will be very confident in his ability to contain him.

Tottenham’s other playmaker Christian Eriksen will be another one to watch closely, his performance has been pivotal to Spurs getting to the final. The Dane scored at Wembley to secure a vital 1-0 win over Inter Milan that kept Spurs in the competition during the group stage and provided two assists for Son Heung-min as they edged past Man City on away goals in the quarter-finals.He also scored ten goals in the Premiership and a whopping seventeen assists. Liverpool’s midfielder Fabinho will surely be charged with closing down Eriksen’s play. He has firmly established himself a pivotal part of Klopp’s side, he greatly impressed all with his fantastic defensive play against Barcelona in the quarter finals. He shut down Messi at every opportunity and gave him little room to do anything!

Win or lose, Spurs or Liverpool, it marks a historical night in football.

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