This past week’s Champions League Semi-Final matches were two of the greatest soccer matches in the history of the sport. Soccer fans across the globe learned the valuable lesson that no lead is safe, especially with highly competitive European clubs.
Liverpool and Tottenham needed three goals each to advance and both completed the improbable come-from-behind victories. The Champions League final is now set, and will be an all-English affair as Liverpool will face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, June 1st in Madrid.
This is the first finals matchup between two English clubs since Chelsea and Manchester United faced off back in 2008. This will also be the first time a non-Spanish club has won the Champions League since 2013. At the moment, Liverpool has opened as favorites to come away as champions due to their consistent Premier League success and Tottenham’s injury-depleted roster.
Date: Sunday, June 1st
Time: 3 p.m. ET/8 p.m. BST
Venue: Wanda Metropolitano Stadium (Madrid, Spain)
Channel: TNT and live streamed on FuboTV, WatchTNT, and Bleacher Report Live.
How did Liverpool and Tottenham make the Champions League Final?
Liverpool finished second in their group behind PSG with three wins and three losses in the Group Stage. They advanced to the knockout rounds and in the Round of 16, drew Bayern Munich, the twenty-seven time Bundesliga champions. Liverpool defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 on aggregate behind much-needed performances from Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk. They then went on to defeat FC Porto in the Quarter-Finals 6-1 on aggregate, behind world-class performances from Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah. In the Semi-Final, Liverpool faced off against the Spanish powerhouse and La Liga champions FC Barcelona. In the first leg, Liverpool suffered a deflating 3-0 loss at Camp Nou behind jaw-dropping goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. With both Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino sidelined with injuries, match analysts gave Liverpool just a 4% chance of winning the second leg and advancing to the final. In shocking fashion, Liverpool silenced the critics with a 4-0 win at Anfield behind 2 crucial goals a piece from Diviock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum. With this historic and inspiring victory, Liverpool advanced to the Champions League final for the second straight year.
Tottenham finished second in their group behind Barcelona with two wins, two ties, and two losses. They made it out of “The Group of Death”, which included Barcelona, Inter Milan, and PSV Eindhoven. They advanced to the knockout rounds and in the Round of 16, drew Borussia Dortmund. Tottenham defeated Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate with notable performances from Harry Kane and Jon Vertognhen. They then went on to defeat Manchester City in the Quarter-Finals behind eye-opening performances from Son Heung-Min and Fernando Llorente. In the Semi-Final, Tottenham faced off against the Dutch powerhouse AFC AJax. In the first leg, Tottenham suffered a devastating 1-0 loss at home thanks to Donny Van de Beek’s goal in the 15th minute. Similar to Liverpool, with Harry Kane sidelined with injury, match analysts gave Tottenham just a 6% chance of winning the second leg and advancing to the final. Ajax appeared to be on its way to the final after getting up 2-0 in the second leg, but lost in unforgettable fashion as Lucas Moura scored his third goal in the 96th minute, giving Tottenham the 3-2 win. Tottenham advanced on an aggregate score of 3-3 due to their away goal advantage. With this improbable victory, Tottenham has advanced to its first ever Champions League final in its club’s one hundred and thirty-seven-year history.
Liverpool wins 2-1.
Liverpool maintains a psychological edge after they beat Tottenham twice this year in the Premier League. In both matches, Liverpool won 2-1 at both Wembley Stadium and Anfield, which shows just how competitive and action-packed this finals matchup will be. Anyone who has paid attention to this year’s Champions League understands just how dangerous Tottenham can be despite being shorthanded. However, Liverpool is just as talented as any team we’ve seen in Premier League history. They are en-route to the third highest point total in Premier League history, outscoring opponents at a rate of 87-22. Just one year after suffering a loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League Finals, Liverpool added the Premier League Player of the Year in Virgil van Dijk and the Premier League Golden Glove winner in Alisson. If it weren’t for a near perfect and historic season by Manchester City, Liverpool would be just 90 minutes away from Premier League and Champions League titles.
The biggest question is whether an injury-depleted Tottenham side will finally surrender against the physical challenges they’re going to face from Virgil Van Dijk, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, and Alisson. I don’t anticipate Tottenham to respond the way Barcelona did, however, it will be interesting to see how they react to the pressure that a Champions League Final brings to the table. At the end of the day, experience is everything. For the most part, the starting eleven from Liverpool have already experienced the atmosphere and pressure of a Champions League Final. After losing last year’s final, they are going to be hungry and know exactly what it’s going to take to come away as champions. With a fully fit forward line of Salah, Mane, and Firminio, along with the energy in midfield to deny Tottenham’s key midfielders Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen time on the ball, Liverpool will come away as champions with another 2-1 scoreline.