Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will play in the first all-English Champions League final to take place in 11 years. The last time two English teams were in the final round of the UEFA tournament was Chelsea and Manchester United in 2008. It comes days after this year’s Europa League English clash between Chelsea and Arsenal. The CL final will take place on Saturday at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
La Liga has dominated the contest in the past five years, with Real Madrid winning four and Barcelona clinching the remaining trophy. Few would have bet on Liverpool repeating last year’s feat in reaching the final after the side suffered a 3-0 away defeat at Camp Nou against Barcelona.
Tottenham has not spent any money in the last two transfer windows and became one of the finalists against all odds. The London club also qualified in a dramatic way after eliminating Manchester City despite a 4-3 away loss in the quarterfinals.
Spurs got past Ajax on the away goal rule, having played for a 3-3 draw on aggregate (conceding one goal at home and scoring three away) at the Johan Cruijff Arena in the Netherlands.
The club is hoping for a miraculous recovery by Harry Kane for the final. He suffered a ligament injury in the first leg of the quarterfinals and it is uncertain if he will play.
It is the first time that Tottenham has qualified for the CL final and the club has not won a trophy since 2008.
Liverpool is more experienced, having won five European Cups and was runner-up last year, when the English side fell to Real Madrid in Kiev.
Head coach Jurgen Klopp has already lost two finals. Another defeat would be intolerable.
The German coach will have to do without midfielder Naby Keita due to a groin injury but Roberto Firmino has recovered from a muscle injury that forced him to miss the final stretch of the season.
The possible return of Kane seems like a determining factor for the final.
Forward Fernando Llorente replaced him perfectly in the journey toward the Wanda stadium, but Kane is able to make a difference.
Harry Winks is an option to play in the midfield, but Klopp could opt for Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko to play beside Christian Eriksen, giving more freedom to Dele Alli and Son Heung-min.
Possible lineups —
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dier, Alli, Son and Kane.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Mane, Firmino and Salah.
(With IANS Inputs)