On Saturday night, Liverpool recorded a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid. In truth, it was not a great advertisement for English football. Instead, it was a scrappy affair full of misplaced passes and a lack of energy.
Liverpool showed the spirit of winners
The game took a dramatic turn on just 23 seconds. Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko was adjudged to have handled Sadio Mane’s attempted shot after referee Damir Skomina consulted VAR. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot with the Frenchman’s arm outstretched.
Liverpool’s Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah stepped up and score with the spot-kick, which barely beat Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham then went on to control the first period without offering any cutting edge at all. In fact, Liverpool came closest to scoring, with full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson both firing efforts wide of goal from distance.
Even in the second half, the game lacked many clear-cut chances. Reds substitute James Milner firing just wide on 69 minutes was a rare sight of goal for either side prior to the 70th-minute mark.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side enjoyed their first shot on goal on 73 minutes, as Dele Alli chipped harmlessly into the arms of Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson. The Brazilian then produced a good save from a long-range effort by Heung-Min Son before comfortably denying compatriot Lucas Moura from 12 yards in the same attack.
Jurgen Klopp’s team wrapped up the victory on 87 minutes. The ball found Belgian substitute Divock Origi, who from left-side of the penalty box beat Lloris in the Tottenham goal with a powerful drive.
The shot was only the Belgian’s third in the Champions League this season, his other two also went in against Barcelona in the semi-final second leg. The victory sealed the victory who exorcised the demons of last season’s final defeat.
Liverpool deserved something from the season
It has to be said, but Liverpool have been fantastic to watch this season. The Reds did not deserve to end the season empty-handed after such a strong campaign. Klopp’s team were not at their best in the Wanda Metropolitano that is for sure.
However, they have developed the knack of the top team, winning when they are not playing well. On another night, they could well have suffered a defeat, as they did look tired and lacked energy.
Tottenham were the same. The likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and a barely fit Harry Kane offered their team very little. The difference was that the Merseysider’s defence and also goalkeeper produced solid displays.
Both clubs now look to the summer
With the Champions League final now over and done with, both clubs will be looking towards the summer and prospective new arrivals and exits.
Liverpool are unlikely to make major changes to their starting line-up, with maybe just a few tweaks in pre-season. No doubt they will be back fighting on all fronts next season.
As for Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino has done an excellent job with such little to work with at the north London club. Maybe he has taken the team as far as he has taken them.
This season’s league campaign has shown that they are miles behind Liverpool and of course Manchester City. If the club does not back him this summer it would not be a major surprise to see the Argentinian exit the club.
For now, Liverpool will celebrate their victory. However, boss Klopp is not one for sentiment and will already have plans for the future. To Liverpool congratulations on the achievement and this season could be the start of something special for the Reds. Already the Merseysider’s are one of the favourites to win both the Premier League and Champions League next season.
Did Liverpool deserve to win the Champions League?