Following on from Wednesday night’s Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan, the eyes of the football world will swiftly turn their gaze to the fabulous new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital as the two Premier League finalists in the Champions League lock horns in what should be a fabulous game of football between the two.

Both Liverpool and Tottenham have had emotional and tumultuous journeys to reach the final, which for Liverpool is their second European Champions League Final in a row and their third European final in four years under Jurgen Klopp. For Tottenham it is their first ever Champions League final appearance and a chance for Mauricio Pochettino to earn Spurs its first trophy since their Football League Cup win in 2008.

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However, Reds fans will also be quick to point out that despite an incredible season and a remarkable turnaround in fortunes since Jurgen Klopp arrived at the club, they are yet to win a trophy under their German manager and they will be hoping it is third time lucky for Klopp and their beloved Reds in a Major European final this time around.

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Liverpool’s Road to Madrid

Having qualified for the Champions League Group Stage, Liverpool were drawn into Group C in the competition alongside Paris St Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade. It proved to be a tough qualifying campaign with the Reds losing all of their away games but going through thanks to better goal difference against Napoli in their final Group Game.

Group Stage Results

  • Matchday 1 – Liverpool 3-2 Paris St Germain (Sturridge 30, Milner 36(p), Firmino 90)
  • Matchday 2 – Napoli 1-0 Liverpool
  • Matchday 3 – Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade (Firmino 20, Salah 45,51(p), Mane 80)
  • Matchday 4 – Red Star Belgrade 2-0 Liverpool
  • Matchday 5 – Paris St Germain 2-1 Liverpool (Milner 51(p))
  • Matchday 6 – Liverpool 1-0 Napoli (Salah 34)

The Reds were held at home by Bayern Munich in their first knockout round match seemingly handing the advantage to the German side, but a fine away performance saw Liverpool win 3-1 in the Allianz Arena to progress. FC Porto were swept aside 6-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals but in the semifinals goals from Suarez and a brace from Messi saw Barcelona take a 3-0 lead into the second leg at Anfield. Liverpool then produced one of the most incredible comebacks in football, defeating the Spanish champions full-strength team 4-0 at Anfield in an incredible night to clinch a place in the final for a second successive year.

Knockout Stage Results

  • Round of 16 – 1st Leg – Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich
  • Round of 16 – 2nd Leg – Bayern Munich 1-3 Liverpool (Mane 26,84 Van Dijk 69) – Liverpool win 3-1 on aggregate
  • Quarterfinal – 1st Leg – Liverpool 2-0 FC Porto (Keita 5, Firmino 26)
  • Quarterfinal – 2nd Leg – FC Porto 1-4 Liverpool (Mane 26, Salah 65, Firmino 77, Van Dijk 84) – Liverpool win 6-1 on aggregate
  • Semifinal – 1st Leg – Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool
  • Semifinal – 2nd Leg – Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (Origi 7,79, Wijnaldum 54,56) – Liverpool win 4-3 on aggregate

Tottenham’s Road to Madrid

Tottenham also qualified for the group stages of the Champions League and they were drawn into a tough looking group with PSV Eindhoven and Inter. Spurs started slowly in the tournament and on the final round of fixtures had to better Inter’s result, while playing away at Barcelona, while Inter faced PSV Eindhoven. Incredibly, Inter lost and Spurs 1-1 draw in the Nou Camp saw them pip Inter to second spot in the group on head to head record thanks to their away goal at the San Siro.

Group Stage Results

  • Matchday 1 – Inter Milan 2-1 Tottenham (Eriksen 53)
  • Matchday 2 – Tottenham 2-4 Barcelona (Kane 52, Lamela 66)
  • Matchday 3 – PSV Eindhoven 2-2 Tottenham (Moura 39, Kane 54)
  • Matchday 4 – Tottenham 2-1 PSV Eindhoven (Kane 76,89)
  • Matchday 5 – Tottemham 1-0 Inter Milan (Eriksen 80)
  • Matchday 6 – Barcelons 1-1 Tottenham (Moura 85)

Spurs began the knockout phase far more convincingly defeating German side Borussia Dortmund in comprehensive fashion before an incredible away goals victory over Manchester City saw them take on Ajax in the semifinals. Here they lost the home leg 1-0 and were 2-0 down at half time in the second leg in Amsterdam before an incredible Lucas Moura hattrick, the final goal coming in the sixth minute of injury time, saw Tottenham squeak through to the final on away goals and in the process, break Ajax hearts.

Knockout Stage Results

  • Round of 16 – 1st Leg – Tottenham 3-0 B.Dortmund (Son 47, Vertonghen 83, Llorente 86)
  • Round of 16 – 2nd Leg – B.Dortmund 0-1 Tottenham (Kane 48) – Tottenham win 4-0 on aggregate
  • Quarterfinal – 1st Leg – Tottenham 1-0 Man City (Son 78)
  • Quarterfinal – 2nd Leg – Man City 4-3 Tottenham (Son 7, 10 Llorente 73)) – 4-4 on aggregate – Tottenham win on away goals rule
  • Semifinal – 1st Leg – Tottenham 0-1 Ajax
  • Semifinal – 2nd Leg – Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (Moura 55,59,90) – 3-3 on aggregate – Tottenham win on away goals rule

Team News

Liverpool

Roberto Firmino will be fit after missing the last few games of the season while Andy Robertson is another who will also be back to full fitness for the game, while only Naby Keita is likely to miss out through injury. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be fit enough for a place on the bench though it could be a pick between him and Lallana over who gets the nod. Daniel Sturridge will likely play his last game for Liverpool though he will most likely start from the bench.

Liverpool Probable XI – 4-3-3 – Alisson, Alexander Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Mane, Salah, Firmino

Tottenham

Spurs should have striker Harry Kane back from injury for the final after he missed the last few weeks of the Premier League season with an ankle injury. However, the fitness of other players such as Harry Winks, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez is still not quite so positive, though all are expected to be fit. It will be interesting to see what tactics Pochettino’s side adopts for the game having tried a number of different styles and formations against Liverpool already this season.

Tottenham Probable XI – 4-1-3-2 – Lloris, Trippier, Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Sissoko, Alli, Eriksen, Son, Kane, Moura

Champions League Final Tips

Match Result – Liverpool to win – 19/20

Both these teams have had their fair share of scrapes and emotions in reaching the final and while Spurs will feel this is a great spectacle and a chance of a big trophy, I feel Liverpool’s attitude will be that for any vindication for their amazing season and their progress under Klopp a big trophy is a must and there is none bigger than the Champions League. As such, I just see the extra experience in big finals being with the Reds and after last year’s debacle with Karius, I think the Reds will feel they owe their fans a big performance here and I think they’ll get it.

Correct Score – Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham (14/1)

So if Liverpool are going to win, what will the score be? Well both games finished 2-1 to Liverpool this season in the Premier League so that was a tempting bet, but I think Liverpool have shown they are more than capable of beating anybody on the day and I think after that Barcelona win and the narrow miss in the league, they will want a statement performance here, so I am going for a 3-1 Liverpool victory.

Anytime Goalscorer – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) 11/10

The little Egyptian superstar’s final and potential World Cup appearance was put in jeopardy last year when he was cynically fouled and injured by Sergio Ramos. I can’t see this happening this time around and I am backing Salah not just to play a big role for Liverpool but to be the key man and grab a goal or maybe two on the way to a Reds victory.