UEFA Champions League final: the big preview

Written by Sport

For the first time since Moscow 2008, two English teams will be vying for the ultimate crown in European football, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur contesting the showpiece game. The Reds enter their second consecutive final following a stellar European campaign that has seen them negotiate a tough group consisting of Paris St. Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade and then following it up with knockout round wins over Bayern Munich, Porto and an unforgettable comeback against Barcelona. Tottenham’s progress into the knockout stages was equally complicated with the Europa League looking more likely after three games against Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven. They then eased past Borussia Dortmund, had VAR to thank against Manchester City and then mounted an impressive three goal comeback of their own in 45 minutes against Ajax to book their ticket to Madrid.

Liverpool come on the back of a highly impressive title challenge which saw them accumulate 97 points in the English Premier League, falling just a point short of champions Manchester City. Most of the team is fit to play with no real injury worries. The only real concern was Roberto Firmino who missed the second leg against Barcelona as well as the last two Premier League games against Newcastle and Wolverhampton. However, as of the time of writing, he has stepped up his rehab process and is on his way to playing in the final. Mo Salah, who also missed the game against Barcelona at Anfield, has recovered fully and will be available for the game.

Tottenham Hotspur, having secured a top four finish in the Premier League, will now be looking to enter next year’s competition as defending champions. Their talisman Harry Kane has missed most of the second half of the season because of injury but if his celebration at Amsterdam is any indication, he will be good to go against Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano. Harry Winks is also recovering from injury, but Tottenham do remain confident that they will be able to play in the final.

The Reds and Spurs will both probably line up in their usual formations (4-3-3 and 4- 2-3-1) going into the game. The big question for Liverpool is who will appear alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in the midfield triumvirate. Naby Keita has done well in the last few months and James Milner offers solidity and work ethic but Gini Wijnaldum, given his performance over the last few games- especially against Barcelona at Anfield- might be the person that Jurgen Klopp calls upon.

On the other side, Dele Alli is likely to play alongside Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura behind Harry Kane. Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko will be vying for the two places in central midfield. The two sides have met twice in the Premier League this season and the Reds have won both their encounters by the same margin of 2-1, with their defeat at Anfield being most notable for a late own goal by Toby Alderweireld. Spurs will be hoping to avoid mistakes like that while they chase their first ever European crown while Liverpool would love to get another win and cap a brilliant season off with a trophy to show for their efforts.

Last modified: 24th May 2019

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