Football

1 June 2019 Liverpool 2 Tottenham 0 UEFA Champions League final

 

Joel Matip (Cameroon) - right-sided centre back, 27-year-old, rated £18m, partnered MOM Virgil van Dijk, doesn't have the passing ability of the Dutchman but provides a solid combination, wins headers, dealt with Harry Kane, maybe fortunate not to be booked, part of a Liverpool side that gave Tottenham few chances.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt) - striker, 26-year-old, rated £135m, decisively converted the early spot-kick, always offered that forward outlet, though given few other chances since Liverpool conceded a lot of possession.

Sadio Mane (Senegal) - striker, 27-year-old, rated £77m, his forward break resulted in the penalty, looked sharp and often presented the most danger to the opposition, but again limited opportunities with LFC less coherent than usual. 

 

So Jurgen Klopp could finally celebrate his first title as Liverpool coach and the sixth UCL/EC triumph for the Merseysiders.

On a warm night in Madrid, we watched a final that generally failed to live up to the billing.

With limited quality and few serious threats on goal, it was all about winning.

It began with the drama of a handball decision within 25 seconds of the start.

Egyptian star Mohamed Salah would keep his cool to tuck away the spot-kick after Sissoko was adjudged to have touched Mane's pass.

That would have immediately disrupted coach Pochettino's plans.

However, his Spurs side went on to dominate possession though without offering too many dangers to Allison in the opposition goal.

While Liverpool failed to create that fluent football seen at Anfield as they slowed the game down.

Just one goal separated the teams for a long period giving the underdogs hope.

But that was extinguished when the ball broke to substitue Divock Origi who delivered the clincher with three minutes remaining.

So the red half of the Wanda Metropolitano could celebrate as could their (probably very relieved) German coach.

By no means a classic but it was all about victory and three Africans played their part.

 

report & analysis - John Bethell

 

 

 


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