2018/19 Champions League Final Review: Liverpool crowned European kings in an all-English final
Liverpool shrugged off a taboo of six successive finals losses, by downing compatriots Tottenham Hotspurs 2-0 in the finals of the 2019 UEFA Champions League at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on the evening of June 1st. For Mohammad Salah, who gave the Reds an early lead in as early as the 3rd minute with a penalty, it was redemption time. The mercurial Egyptian forward was led off the field in tears during the 2018 finals in Kiev when he injured his shoulder in a nasty collision with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. Liverpool had to be content as runners-up conceding the title to the Madrid giants.
Champions League 2019/20 Outright Winner Odds
|To Win Champions League 2019/20||Odds as of 03/06/2019 - Subject to change|
Saturday night's final came nowhere near the quality of the two thrilling semi-finals that made this 2019 version of the Champions League such a showpiece. To begin with, the penalty awarded by the Slovenian referee Damir Skomina to Liverpool from a handball off Moussa Sissoko looked doubtful and could have easily qualified for a VAR. Spurs had their chances but failed to capitalize on them, something that was mercilessly punished by their opponents when substitute Divock Origi drove a low and powerful shot past Hugo Lloris with just 3 minutes of play left.
Mauricio Pochettino took the gamble of starting off with star forward Harry Kane who hadn't featured in a game since April owing to an ankle injury and surprisingly leaving out semi-final hero, Lucas Moura (which may have been a costly mistake). While Kane's presence had no salutary effect on the game, Moura, who was introduced in as late as the 66th minute did manage to make some impact on the proceedings with a couple of shots that made Liverpool goalie Alisson stretch. Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen were speedy and managed to trouble the Reds' defence especially in the latter stages of the second half, but some stellar work from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson saved the day for Jurgen Klopp's men.
At the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night, the £67m Brazilian Alisson was indeed the Man-of-the-match with his safe handling and crucial interventions when Liverpool came under stress after the interval. The Reds have him to thank for the title.
Liverpool's game wasn't characterized by their relentless attacking but more by a mix of stoic defending and swift counterattacking by the forward trio of Salah, Firminio and Sadio Mane although the second goal came in late from an unexpected source in the form of the substitute Origi. The match statistics tell that. Tottenham had as many as eight shots on target while their opponents had just three. The London club dominated two-thirds of the possession, but to no avail.
It wasn't the kind of game that one would have expected from a Champions League final, but then Liverpool's clinical approach and opportunism won the day. Bad luck for Pochettino's men who did everything but score.