It wasn’t a UEFA Champions League final for the ages, but that’s irrelevant if you’re a Liverpool fan.
The Reds are Champions League winners for the sixth time in their long and proud history following their 2-0 triumph over the Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid, with the latter left to rue what could have been.
Following Chelsea’s victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final earlier in the week, it was the first time in history that all four finalists in both the Europa and Champions League were all English clubs – even more impressive when you consider the dominance of Spanish teams in recent years.
Both Liverpool and Tottenham orchestrated remarkable comebacks in their semi-finals over Barcelona and Ajax to reach European football’s pinnacle.
Although the final didn’t produce the same stirring excitement as those two matches, it did start with a bang.
It took twenty-eight seconds and the Champions League final was Liverpool’s to lose, with Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko penalised for a handball after Sadio Mane’s attempted cross into the penalty area hit him on the outstretched arm – it was Liverpool’s first charge forward.
The referee pointed to the spot, Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah stepped up, eager to avenge the heartbreak of last year’s final against Real Madrid where he was taken off injured in the early moments.
Salah made no mistake with his penalty and there was little Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could do – at under two minutes Liverpool were on the path to Champions League glory.
It would’ve been easy for Tottenham to crumble early following that start, but they responded strongly, going on numerous attacking runs to no avail.
They controlled the ball for most of the game, maintaining possession for 61% of the match over Liverpool’s 39% whilst also finishing with more scoring shots.
Spurs Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min went close but couldn’t break through for an equaliser thanks to a repellent Liverpool defence led by Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Allison in goal; whilst Spurs returning captain Harry Kane struggled to make an influence.
The contest had endured a period of respite following Salah’s opening goal, and it wasn’t until the 87thminute that saw Liverpool substitute Divock Origi score the decisive goal that secured the Champions League title.
With that Liverpool rectified last year’s final loss against Real Madrid, and moved to third on the all-time winner’s list for the Champions League, they are the most successful English team in the competitions history.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is the man responsible for bringing Liverpool back to the top of European football.
Upon his unveiling as manager in 2015, he said that he was ‘pretty sure’ Liverpool would have won a title come October 2019 – he delivered on his belief.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more passionate fanbase than that of the Liverpool variety and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ engulfed the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hoisted the Champions League trophy for the world to see alongside his teammates – a moment to savour for Liverpool faithful all over the world.
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