UEFA Champions League Winners 2019
After what can only be described as one of the all-time comebacks in the semi-final against the mighty Barcelona, Liverpool were in their second Champions League final on the bounce. After they were outplayed and outclassed last season by the impressive Real Madrid, it was fate that this final would be played in Madrid, but between 2 English clubs.
Spurs had managed their own magical semi-final night against Ajax, just 24 hours after the heroics of Liverpool at Anfield. Along with Arsenal and Chelsea fighting out the Europa League final the week before, history was made as all 4 finalists in these two competitions, came from the same country.
Liverpool were looking to make up for the disappointment of going unbeaten except for the one defeat in the Premiership, but still only coming second. This was the opportunity to get some silverware back to Anfield. The kings of Europe for a sixth time would appease fans, who had thought the premier title as theirs this time around.
Interesting Fact; Trent Alexander-Arnold (20 years 237 days), the Liverpool right back, is the first ever player aged under 21 to start in consecutive Champions League finals.
Without doubt, the bookies favourites were Liverpool who finished the Premiership on 97 points ( Spurs who were 4th, managed 71 ) and an impressive goal difference of 67 goals. This was second only to Manchester City.
What proved to be an eventful start saw a penalty awarded to Liverpool for hand ball in the box. Mo Salah scored from the spot, his goal times at 1 minute 48 seconds. The only faster goal was when Paolo Maldini scored in under a minute (00:50) for AC Milan versus Liverpool in 2005.
From here on the game was rather drab, Liverpool uncharacteristically looking nervous and out of sorts. Both teams were guilty of conceding possession. Shaky clearances and bad passes were aplenty by both teams.
The game rolled on, Spurs with 65% of the possession were unable to make use of this. They managed 16 shots all game with just half on target. Liverpool mustered 14 shots, but a poor return of 3 being on target said plenty about this fixture. Neither team looked dominant enough to make this a one way event. Liverpool were unsettled and the single goal margin left them open to the counter-attack possibility.
What was reassuring though was the investment in the best goalkeeper and also the best centreback in the Premiership in the shapes of Alisson in goal and Virgil van Dijk in the defence, gave Liverpool fans that bit of extra confidence in the outcome. Alisson was called into action several times later on in the second half. With Spurs bringing on semi-final hero Lucas Moura the pressure against the Reds stepped up. Finally in the 87th minute though, Divock Origi scored from a corner to put the game to bed and ease the nerves around the ground.
Interesting Fact; This was the first ever Champions League final without a single card shown.
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t sexy but it was an important win for Jurgen Klopp and the team
With the 2020 final being held 30 May at the Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı, Istanbul could we see Liverpool making their 3rd consecutive appearance? Who can forget the last time they played in a Champions League Final in Instanbul? Before that though, the reality is a Liverpool vs Chelsea Super Cup also played in Istanbul