Coming into this first All-English Champions League Final since 2008, punters were finding this one rather difficult to call. That said, despite the close nature of the tie, Liverpool were the side being given the slight edge by most.
Liverpool Lift Champions League
When the much-anticipated kick-off finally came the slight favourites quickly found themselves on the front foot. A probing cross from Mane less than a half a minute in was met by the arm of Moussa Sissoko, and the referee pointed to the spot. The decision, much debated by the White half of north London, was given a quick review by the VAR but there were no issues to be found.
The Egyptian Mohamad Salah stepped up to take the early penalty and powered it past Hugo Lloris, although the Frenchman may be slightly disappointed that he couldn’t get a hand to it.
As the pace began to settle following the frantic open, it was Tottenham Hotspur who exerted real control over the tempo of the game. However, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Spurs failed to really threaten the Liverpool backline. For the majority of the half, Spurs dominated possession but so much of their play was far too lateral.
Liverpool were far from their best but they defended well and comfortably contained the Spurs attack. The rest of the first half continued in a similar vein, Spurs commanding 65% of possession but looking very blunt in attack.
Spurs came back out for the second half once again on the front foot. Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane linked up a couple of times in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half to conjure up some half chances, but Liverpool’s rearguard stood firm. Despite all this pressure, the first real chance of the half fell to James Milner.
Sadio Mane picked up the ball in Spurs’ half and dribbled through the heart of the Spurs defence. Mo Salah teed up the ball for Milner in the box but his effort whistled marginally wide of the post. A damning indication of Spurs’ blunt frontline came in the 73rd minute. At the end of promising counter-attack, Alli’s tame lob attempt was easily gathered by Alisson Becker and this was their first shot on target in the game.
Arguably Spurs’ best opportunity fell again to Delle Alli on the 79th minute, as he got on the end of a dangerous cross from Trippier but headed over from a central position in front of the posts. Spurs refused to give up and fought on throughout the final ten minutes. They came close with a free kick from Christian Eriksen which Alisson did well to deal with.
With three minutes of normal time left to play, however, the hero from the semi-final against Barcelona rose again. Following a corner whipped in from Milner, there was a scramble in the box. The ball eventually fell to Divock Origi who cooly drove it into the bottom corner.
That was the winning of the game, as Jurgen Klopp’s men saw the game out to deliver a sixth Champions League trophy for the red half of Merseyside.
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