Tottenham and Liverpool are set to face each other in an all-English final in the UEFA Champions League at Wanda Metropolitano on the 1st of June.
Both teams looked down and out at some stage of their semifinal clashes but came out on top in the end. Tottenham lost the first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium 1-0 to Ajax and were trailing 2-0 in the second leg at half-time. However, a fantastic hat-trick from Lucas Moura, including a 96th-minute goal took Mauricio Pochettino’s men into the final.Embed from Getty Images
Meanwhile, Liverpool faced an uphill task after losing 3-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the first leg. The Reds were handed a further blow when Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were ruled out of the second leg. However, motivated by a defiant Anfield crowd, Jurgen Klopp’s men won 4-0 to knock out the tournament favorites in some style.Embed from Getty Images
Now, both teams have a three-week break before the final, which is both good and bad. The good part is this gap allows players to recharge after a hectic season while players with injuries can recover for the showpiece event. On the other hand, maintaining match sharpness is a genuine problem at this point.
Mauricio Pochettino’s players are undergoing one of the most extended campaigns ever with quite a few members of his first-team playing without much of a break since last year’s FIFA World Cup. After two transfer windows without any signings, Spurs just about finished 4th in the Premier League to secure qualification for next season’s UCL.
On the other hand, Liverpool put on their most excellent performance in the PL era, amassing their highest-ever points tally (97 points) but fell short of a point, in the end, to lose the title to Manchester City. The Reds suffered just one defeat all season in the league and will be looking to use this as a motivation to lift the UCL trophy in the last game of this season.
Pochettino is hopeful for Jan Vertonghen to recover from his ankle injury in time. Harry Kane is expected to be fit after missing close to two months with an ankle ligament injury. Harry Winks has a slim chance of making it to the matchday squad as he continues to recover from a groin injury.
Davinson Sanchez, Danny Rose, and Dele Alli are carrying minor niggles and are expected to be fit to play in Madrid.
Meanwhile, Klopp will not have Naby Keita available for the final as he continues to recover from a groin injury. Firmino missed the last three games with a training injury, but he is expected to recover in time for the match. The rest of the squad will be available for selection, barring any new injuries.
Liverpool come into the final on the back of a great season. The Reds have won 12 of their last 13 games and lost just once in their previous 23 games. Alisson won the PL Golden Glove, Virgil van Dijk picked up the PFA Player of the Year while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane shared the PL Golden Boot, highlighting the form of players in the side.
On the other hand, Spurs have won just 6 of their last 15 games across all competitions, 2 of them coming against Manchester City and Ajax in the UCL. The North London side have struggled in the league of late, and Pochettino will hope the break will help his players go up another level.
In terms of recent head-to-head, Liverpool completed the double over Spurs in the league, winning both games 2-1. Since Klopp took over, both teams have met nine times, with the Reds winning four times while Pochettino’s side won once. Thus, the Merseyside club are slight favorites and they also are more experienced at this stage of the tournament, having played in the final last year against Real Madrid.
Tottenham vs Liverpool Prediction
The last 2 English sides to meet in a UCL final were Chelsea and Manchester United in 2008. That match was won by Manchester United on penalties, and this matchup can be expected to be close with both teams possessing enough quality to hurt the other. However, Klopp’s men will have the extra incentive of rectifying last year’s loss along with the PL angst, thereby edging Spurs in a tense final.
Predicted Tottenham XI: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Wanyama; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane
Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexande-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino