UEFA Champions League final: Tottenham v Liverpool

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Both teams mounted spectacular semi-final comebacks to reach the Estadio Metropolitano, home ground of Atlético Madrid, each recovering from three goals down. While Liverpool won 4-0 in their second leg against Barcelona at Anfield to progress 4-3 on aggregate, Lucas Moura’s second-half hat-trick at the Johan Cruijff ArenA gave Spurs a 3-2 victory at Ajax, and an away-goals success.

Liverpool are seeking their sixth European Cup – and second UEFA Champions League triumph, following their memorable comeback against AC Milan in 2005 – while Tottenham have never previously appeared in the final.

Indeed, their sole semi-final before this season came in 1961/62, while their best previous UEFA Champions League campaign, in 2010/11, ended in the last eight.

There have been six previous UEFA Champions League finals between clubs from the same country, all since 2000.

Real Madrid were victorious in all-Spanish affairs in 2000 (Valencia), 2014 and 2016 (both Atlético) while AC Milan beat fellow Italian side Juventus on penalties in 2003 and Bayern München overcame Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 all-German final.

The only previous all-English final took place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in 2008, Manchester United beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Tottenham will be the eighth English club to appear in a European Cup final, more than any other country; Italy and Germany are next on the list with six each.

This is the fifth European Cup final to take place in Madrid, after those of 1957, 1969, 1980 and 2010 – all of which were played at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu home – and the eighth in Spain.


The sides have been paired together only once previously in UEFA competition, in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup semifinals, won on away goals by Liverpool after a 2-2 aggregate draw. Alec Lindsay gave Liverpool a first-leg advantage at Anfield and Steve Heighway’s goal in the White Hart Lane return, in between a Martin Peters double for the holders Spurs, proved decisive. Liverpool went on to win the trophy.

In total Tottenham and Liverpool have met 170 times in all competitions, the Reds winning 79 to Spurs’ 48; there have been 43 draws.

Liverpool have lost just one of the teams’ last 14 meetings dating back to the start of 2013, winning nine.

The Reds prevailed 2-1 in both this season’s Premier League encounters, most recently at Anfield on 31 March, when Toby Alderweireld put through his own net in the last minute. Roberto Firmino had opened the scoring in the first half only for Lucas Moura to level in the second.

Firmino had scored the winner when the teams met at Wembley on 15 September, adding to Georginio Wijnaldum’s first-half strike; Erik Lamela’s last-minute response came too late for Spurs.

The sides’ only previous final meeting came in the 1982 League Cup at Wembley, when Liverpool came from behind to win 3-1 after extra time, Ronnie Whelan (2) and Ian Rush getting the goals after Steve Archibald had put Spurs in front.



Spurs are the 40th club to reach the European Cup final, and the first newcomers since Chelsea in 2008.

Spurs could become the 23rd side to win the European Cup, and the first new name on the trophy since Chelsea’s 2012 triumph.

This is Tottenham’s fifth UEFA final, and a second against English opposition. They beat Wolves 3-2 on aggregate in the inaugural UEFA Cup final of 1971/72 (2-1 away, 1-1 home).

Spurs also overcame Atlético Madrid 5-1 in the 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, becoming the first English club to lift a European trophy, and Anderlecht 4-3 on penalties in the UEFA Cup in 1984. Their sole final defeat came in the 1973/74 UEFA Cup, Feyenoord winning on 4-2 aggregate.

Tottenham could therefore become the sixth club – after Juventus, Ajax, Bayern München, Chelsea and Manchester United – to win all three major UEFA club trophies.

Toby Alderweireld came on as a first-half replacement for Atlético in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final, a 4-1 extra-time defeat by Real Madrid.

Fernando Llorente was a late substitute as Juventus lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final.

Davinson Sánchez played 90 minutes as Ajax went down 2-0 to Manchester United in the 2017 UEFA Europa League final.


The Reds have won five of their eight previous European Cup finals:

  • 1976/77: Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
  • 1977/78: Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
  • 1980/81: Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid
  • 1983/84: Liverpool 1-1 Roma (aet; Liverpool win 4-2 on penalties)
  • 1984/85: Juventus 1-0 Liverpool
  • 2004/05: Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (aet; Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties)
  • 2006/07: AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
  • 2017/18: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

This is the third time Liverpool have reached successive European Cup finals. Only Juventus (1997, 1998) and Valencia (2000, 2001) have lost the fixture in consecutive years.

This is Liverpool’s 21st UEFA final. In addition to their eight European Cup appearances, they are three-time winners of the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League (1973, 1976, 2001), losing the 2016 final, and won the UEFA Super Cup in 1977, 2001 and 2005, losing in 1978 and 1984.

They also lost in the 1965/66 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, and the 1981 and 1984 European/South American Cup. Their overall record in UEFA finals is therefore W11 L9.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all started as Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool lost to Real Madrid 12 months ago; Adam Lallana was a first-half replacement for the injured Salah, with Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno unused substitutes.

Mignolet, Lovren, Moreno, Milner, Lallana, Firmino and goalscorer Daniel Sturridge all started Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat by Sevilla in the 2016 UEFA Europa League final at St. Jakob-Park, Basel with Divock Origi coming on as a late substitute; Henderson stayed on the bench for Klopp’s side.

Having got Liverpool’s goal against Madrid in Kyiv last year, Mané could become the eighth player to score in more than one UEFA Champions League final, after Gareth Bale, Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Raúl González, Mario Mandžukic and Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the only player to find the net in three.



Tottenham have drawn two of their previous three games in Madrid, losing the other – all three fixtures against Real Madrid.Spurs have never won in Spain, where their overall record is D3 L3. They last visited on matchday six this season, a 1-1 draw at Barcelona that secured their place in the round of 16.

The Lilywhites became only the second team in UEFA Champions League history to recover from losing the home first leg in a semi-final, turning round a 1-0 defeat by Ajax in north London with a 3-2 success in the Netherlands – Lucas Moura scoring a second-half hat-trick after Ajax had led 2-0 at the interval.

That gave Spurs a second successive away goals victory following their quarter-final triumph against Manchester City (1-0 home, 3-4 away). They beat Borussia Dortmund home (3-0) and away (1-0) in the round of 16 having picked up eight points in finishing second to Barcelona in Group B.

Spurs’ record in this season’s competition is therefore W6 D2 L4.

Tottenham have won four of their eight matches against fellow English sides in UEFA competition (D1 L3). The City tie in this season’s quarter-finals marked their first such fixtures in 46 years, since that 1973 UEFA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

Tottenham’s record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:

  • 4-3 v Anderlecht, 1983/84 UEFA Cup final
  • 5-6 v PSV Eindhoven, 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16
  • 1-4 v Basel, 2012/13 UEFA Europa League quarter-final


Liverpool’s record in Madrid is W1 D1 L2, those two defeats coming in their last two trips – to Real Madrid in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage and Atlético in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League semi-finals, both 0-1.

Defeat at Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final means the Reds have lost on four of their last five trips to Spain, where their record overall is W7 D5 L6.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last five European games against English clubs (W3 D2), beating Manchester City home (3-0) and away (2-1) in last season’s UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. They have won seven of their 20 matches against domestic rivals in UEFA competition (D8 L5).

This season Klopp’s side became the third team to win a European Cup semi-final after a 3-0 defeat in the first leg, Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum both scoring twice in the second game at Anfield to get the better of Barcelona.

Liverpool lost three of their first five games in this season’s competition – all away from home – before reaching the round of 16 with a 1-0 home defeat of Napoli. In the knockout stages they beat Bayern München 3-1 on aggregate (0-0 home, 3-1 away) and Porto 6-1 over two legs (2-0 home, 4-1 away) before eliminating Barça.

The Reds have lost six of their last 14 European matches, all those defeats coming outside England, although the semi-final first leg defeat in Barcelona is the sole reverse in their last seven matches (W5 D1).

Liverpool’s record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W3 L1:

  • 4-2 v Roma, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
  • 3-2 v AC Milan, 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final
  • 4-1 v Chelsea, 2006/07 UEFA Champions League semi-final
  • 4-5 v Besiktas, 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32



Lucas Moura made his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition in the semi-final second leg; Harry Kane is one game away from reaching the same mark.

Tottenham finished the Premier League season in fourth place, concluding their campaign with a 2-2 draw at home to Everton on 12 May. They won one of their last five league matches in 2018/19 (D1 L3).

The 3-2 win at Ajax in the semi-final second leg is Spurs’ only success in their last five matches in all competitions (D1 L3); they have won only six of their last 17 matches, losing nine.

Spurs have drawn only five of their 57 games in 2018/19 in all competitions (W33 L19).

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have kept seven clean sheets in their last 25 fixtures, and none in the last five.

Tottenham have lost 19 games in all competitions this season, their most since 2008/09 when they suffered the same number of defeats.

Jan Vertonghen suffered an ankle injury in the second leg at Ajax, while Dele Alli was taken off at half-time against Everton due to a muscular problem. Danny Rose did not feature against Everton and has a hamstring problem while Davinson Sánchez, who has a thigh injury, last played as nine-man Spurs lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on 4 May.

Kane was taken off in the quarter-final first leg against Manchester City with what Spurs described as “a significant lateral ligament injury” to his left ankle and has not played since.

Harry Winks has also not featured since the first leg of the City tie due to a groin problem.

Serge Aurier has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in Ivory Coast’s 3-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win against Rwanda on 23 March. He was an unused substitute against Everton.

Erik Lamela returned as a late substitute at Ajax, his first appearance since the round of 16 second leg at Borussia Dortmund on 5 March due to a hamstring injury.


Virgil van Dijk made his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition in the semi-final second leg; Xherdan Shaqiri will reach the same mark when he next features.

Liverpool ended the season second in the Premier League after winning their last nine matches, beating Wolves 2-0 at Anfield on the final day. Jürgen Klopp’s side finished a point behind Manchester City having lost just one match.

The defeat at the Camp Nou in the semi-final first leg ended Liverpool’s 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W14 D5), and was their first loss since a 2-1 FA Cup reverse at Wolves on 7 January. That loss at Barcelona is the only one of Liverpool’s last 14 matches they have failed to win.

Sadio Mané has 13 goals in Liverpool’s last 16 matches.

Mané and Mohamed Salah finished as joint top scorers alongside Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in this season’s Premier League with 22 goals apiece.

Naby Keïta scored after 15 seconds in a 5-0 win against Huddersfield on 26 April, Liverpool’s fastest Premier League goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold finished the 2018/19 Premier League with 12 assists, a new record for a defender; Andrew Robertson provided 11, equalling the old record held by Andy Hinchcliffe (1994/95) and Leighton Baines (2010/11).

The Reds had kept five successive clean sheets before the 4-2 win against Burnley at Anfield on 10 March; having not managed one for five games before the quarter-final first leg with Porto, they have now kept six in the last nine.

Keïta went off midway through the first half at Barcelona with a hip injury.

Roberto Firmino has a groin injury and has not played since a brief substitute appearance at Barcelona.

Robertson went off at half-time against Barcelona at Anfield with a calf problem, and was withdrawn late on against Wolves due to the same injury.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned as a second-half substitute against Huddersfield on 26 April, having not played since suffering a serious knee injury in last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma on 24 April 2018. He also came on against Wolves on the Premier League’s final day.

Adam Lallana, who has not played since 17 March, has been carrying a muscle injury.

Liverpool had four representatives in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year 2018/19: Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Robertson and Mané.

On 28 April Van Dijk was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year; Mané was also included in the six-man shortlist.

Liverpool will play Manchester City in the FA Community Shield at Wembley in early August.

The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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