champions League 5/8

I can’t believe I am finally saying it, but we are here. The Champions League final is upon us. The final two teams, date and place are set. It will be Liverpool going up against Tottenham June 1 in Madrid. This season-long struggle to lift the Champions League trophy will all come down to one match in the Spanish city to decide the champions of European soccer.

The first team to punch their ticket to the final was Barcelona … Wait?! No?! That’s Jurgen Klopp’s music. That’s right; Liverpool came back from a 3-0 deficit at Camp Nou to winning the semifinal 4-3 with four goals at Anfield. Like the last article I wrote about the Premier League, I am going to make sure you know my biases. I am a Liverpool fan, so this comeback is one of the most memorable in my life as a fan of any sport. Liverpool deserved the comeback and will come out swinging in the final. They will have Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah returning from injury, which was missing from the second leg of the Barcelona match. They are two of Liverpool’s most important players, and having them return for this match will be very important to winning it. They aren’t the only important offensive weapons. Sadio Mane has sort of cooled off from his meteoric form but is still great this season. Midfielders Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum have been playing great of late, with Wijnaldum scoring two of the four in the second Barcelona comeback. There are really too many amazing players on the Liverpool offensive side of the ball to mention every single one.

The defense of Liverpool is also a massive strength. Virgil Van Dijk, the winner of the PFA Award for best player in the Premier League voted by the players, is the headliner. He is the biggest reason Liverpool are as good as they are on both sides of the ball. He isn’t the only reason though. Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are important facilitators and help get the team the goals they need. The other center back position has been filled by many players, such as Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren.

Also, unlike last year’s Champions League final, Liverpool also doesn’t have a weakness. Last year, the goalkeeper was somewhere the opposing squad could exploit. That isn’t the case with Alisson Becker in goal. He has helped Liverpool get to where they are now in the Champions League and will continue to help them.

However, even though Liverpool got past the god known as Messi, now they have to go up against the Cinderella story of Tottenham. They were down and out after the first half of the second leg, but they didn’t give up. Thanks to a hat trick from Lucas Moura, Tottenham advanced from the semifinals to face off against Liverpool.

Even though Tottenham seems like Cinderella team, they have enough talent to go up against Liverpool. Their offensive firepower is there. Harry Kane might be hurt now, but I’ve read that there might be a possibility he could play in the final. However, bringing in Harry Kane takes away all of the great things one of the Tottenham’s other players, Son Heung-Min, can do. Dele Alli and Lucas Moura are also great players which could help Tottenham against the Liverpool defense, and when the Liverpool fullbacks are pushing up, that would be a perfect time to counter against them.

The Tottenham defense has some good players as well. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are good center backs, but they can make mistakes sometimes. Kieran Trippier is a weakness for them, and expect Liverpool to exploit that.

Another weakness can be Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Lloris has great games as well as bad games, but he is, overall, a good goalkeeper. He’s not going to win you the game, but he also won’t lose the game for you.

Overall, this will be a wildly intriguing Champions League final. These two teams have played each other twice this season, so they know what to expect. That might mean one of the teams could show something different or go full tilt. My prediction for the final will be 2-1 Liverpool, with one goal from Jordan Henderson, Mo Salah and Son Heung-Min. No matter what happens, however, this will be a fun game to watch.  

 

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