A remarkable Premier League campaign saw Liverpool, hijacked to their first ‘Premier League’ title… even after racking up the third highest points tally ever.
The mood on Merseyside may well have took a major hit but for the they have a meeting in Madrid to look forward too. Having dumped out Spanish Champions Barcelona in the semi-final of the Champions League, the Reds have since been installed as favourites to take the title.
With just Tottenham Hotspur in their way of a taking home trophy number six in the competition, it’s rightly so that Jurgen Klopp’s men are highly fancied. Spurs have had a remarkable Champions League campaign given the circumstances, having not signed a player all season Maurico Pochettino has to be admired for their accomplishment in reaching the final.
Simple facts do remain though that the Argentinian’s side at the moment aren’t at the same standard of their opponents over a long format. In addition to that, Pochettino will be entering his first Champions League final as a manager along with the fact it is also the first time the club have reached that stage. The same can’t be said about Klopp and his team who will travel to the Spanish capital to compete in their second successive final in the competition.
Liverpool will go into the mammoth clash with two wins in succession against Spurs and unbeaten against the London side since a 4-1 horror show, in October 2017. It has often been found though that finals are a completely different ball game and even though the favourites often do produce the goods, anything can happen.
Both sides will step onto the turf at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano knowing that things may well have been different after leaving themselves up against in the semi-final. To all intent and purposes, it looked as if the final would be contested between Barcelona and Ajax but the Premier League sides decided to flip that on it’s head.
Off the back of the first leg both sides were trailing and extremely up against it for contrasting reasons. Tottenham lost at home to the young Dutch sensations from the capital. They went into the return leg requiring nothing less than away win which seemed very unlikely at the time. Ajax, were impressive in London collecting a 1-0 while also playing some delightful free flowing football. A positive start in Amsterdam followed too, Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech were both on the score line before half time, meaning that Spurs had 45 minutes to find three goals. It appeared almost impossible but incredibly it happened, right at the dying embers. Level on the night going into injury time, Lucas Moura completed a magical hattrick with literally seconds remaining.
Klopp’s side on the other hand had to make history to qualify. They travelled to Barcelona and received a thumping of sorts. Even after arguably matching Messi and co for much of the game, ruthless finishing ensured a healthy lead for Ernesto Valverde’s side. One thing is for certain with Liverpool in recent times mind, there is a never say die attitude running through the club from top to bottom. No side had ever overturned a 3-0 first leg in a Champions League semi-final before. It certainly never dulled the believe passing around Anfield, for some reason there was still hope and plenty of it. Anfield was absolutely bouncing. The players were ready and the result came, 4-0. A miraculous night that will be remembered long in the memory.
(Image via UEFA)