Clinical Liverpool shut out Spurs to claim sixth Champions League crown
PUBLISHED: 22:36 01 June 2019 | UPDATED: 22:36 01 June 2019
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Champions League Final: Tottenham Hotspur 0 Liverpool 2
Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of winning a maiden Champions League title fell short at Wanda Metropolitano with Liverpool showing the required clinical touch you need in a final to triumph 2-0 in Madrid and claim a sixth European Cup.
Spurs made the worst possible start when the ball hit the arm of Moussa Sissoko inside 60 seconds and Mo Salah fired the Reds ahead from the penalty spot.
After this, Mauricio Pochettino's team enjoyed the better of the possession, but struggled to create chances in the first half.
This changed after the break and yet they were unable to take their big opportunities and suffered one last defeat in this memorable campaign.
It had been quite the journey for both of these teams to this point with Spurs almost out in the group stage and Liverpool encountering trouble too.
After three matches, Tottenham had one point, but made it through and the Reds had to win their final fixture in the group to progress into the knock-out phase.
Drama followed the Lilywhites, especially in the quarter-final and semi-final where extraordinary finishes saw them get past Manchester City and Ajax.
Liverpool also produced a comeback of the ages to overturn a three-goal deficit in the last four to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate.
It set up this all-English Champions League final and it was a case of the master versus the apprentice in terms of European Cup football.
The Anfield club were eyeing their sixth victory in this competition while Spurs were in their first final after last reaching the semi's in 1962.
However, the north Londoners were looking to complete the set of major continental titles having previous won the UEFA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup.
A big call for Pochettino was whether to start main man Kane and he duly did which came as no real surprise given how sharp he looked in training at Hotspur Way on Monday during Tottenham's open media day.
Fellow academy graduate Harry Winks also started with hat-trick hero against Ajax Lucas Moura reduced to a spot on the bench.
Liverpool had all their big guns involved and Georginio Wijnaldum got the nod in midfield after his impressive semi-final double.
The Wanda Metropolitano was filling up quickly as the seconds ticked away and the two sets of supporters were in great voice for this last game of a long season.
Some fans saw their hopes of making the final almos thwarted with a lengthy delay at Stansted, but a police escort ensured they arrived in time for kick-off.
Imagine Dragons added to the atmosphere with an electric performance which saw a number of fireworks let off.
After that the main event was close to getting underway after the Champions League music was played for one last time this 2018/19 season.
There was also a minute's applause following the tragic death of Jose Antonio Reyes and then Liverpool got proceeding start and an event opening minute occurred.
Sadio Mane got in behind Kieran Trippier and checked back before his cross hit the hand of Moussa Sissoko inside 25 seconds and referee Damir Skomina didn't need any time to point to the spot.
Pochettino's players felt hard done by, but it was similar to the penalty given away by Danny Rose in the quarter-final first leg against City.
On that occasion Hugo Lloris saved the effort from 12-yards, but he was unable to do the same in Madrid with Salah firing Liverpool ahead in the second minute.
It was a disastrous start for Tottenham and they could be forgiven for feeling sorry for themselves, but they rallied strongly.
Heung-min Son forced a corner soon after and Sissoko drilled over from a promising position before the 10-minute mark.
Spurs were looking comfortable in possession and yet Liverpool went close with 17 on the clock when Trent Alexander-Arnold flashed an effort wide from long range.
Klopp would have been uneasy with the holes appearing in his team's defence as Kane found Eriksen, who passed into Son in a dangerous position in the 20th minute.
He was smartly tackled by the covering Joel Matip, but it offered encouragement to the Lilywhites who were slowly forcing their way into the contest.
The trouble for the Londoners was another Liverpool goal would make it a long road back and they remained a threat whenever they attacked with Salah forcing a corner with a blocked effort soon after.
Spurs' final pass was just lacking with Rose and Winks both failing to find the intended target past the half an hour mark with Son and Trippier in decent positions.
Liverpool had been fairly subdued since their goal, perhaps happy to sit back and try to pick Tottenham off on the counter-attack and given the pace at their disposal, it was not a bad tactic.
It was demonstrated seven minutes before half time when Alexander-Arnold found his fellow full-back Andrew Robertson with a sensational crossfield pass.
The left-back carried the ball forward, came inside and let fly from 25-yards, but Lloris was equal to it and tipped over.
Klopp's men were boosted by this shot and went on to finish the half strongly as they forced a number of corners, but they came to nothing
A decent opening occurred in the 44th minute when Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose stayed calm under pressure and worked the ball to Alli, but he couldn't find Kane or Son, who were trying to get into space.
Two minutes were added on at the end of the half and Eriksen blazed over from a fine position after good play between Sissoko and Son and it brought an intriguing first 45 to a close.
Neither team had hit full potential and chances had been at a premium, but it was all to play for in the second half.
After making Spurs wait to get the game back underway, Liverpool were put on the back foot and it had an effect on the Lilywhites' supporters who began to produce an incredible amount of noise from their stand which Tottenham were now attacking.
It was slightly end-to-end now with Lloris diving in front of Mane from a cross before Salah's shot was blocked by Vertonghen and Alli almost got an effort away at goal, but he saw his strike denied by Virgil Van Dijk.
Rose and Vertonghen were unable to test Alisson minutes later and Klopp had seen enough with two substitutes made by the 62nd minute.
First Origi replaced Roberto Firmino and then James Milner came on for Wijnaldum in midfield as the tension increased inside Wanda Metropolitano.
Pochettino reacted and introduced Moura for Winks - the type of bold move which has got Tottenham to this first ever European Cup final.
Eriksen and Sissoko made up the midfield now with Kane, Moura, Alli and Son all further ahead as the game approached its final 20 minutes of normal time.
Tottenham straight away found a second wind and Trippier and Rose delivered balls into the area in quick succession, but Alisson remained untested in the Reds goal.
Eventually the Brazilian did have to make a save, yet Spurs squandered a wonderful opening to seriously test him.
Kane brought the ball forward and Son passed into Alli, but his curler was weak and easy for Alisson to grab with 17 minutes left.
Sissoko was replaced seconds later, having pulled up minutes before, with Eric Dier on in his place as Spurs desperate searched for more late drama in this tournament.
A leveller very nearly arrived with quarter of an hour remaining when Son raced past one defender and almost beyond Van Dijk, but the Netherlands defender got back in classic fashion to block and show his class.
Chances were suddenly arriving more frequently now and Alli headed over from seven yards after a fine Trippier cross in the 79th minute and then two outstanding openings were created by Tottenham.
Son, who was now enjoying more freedom, cut inside and fired towards the corner from 22-yards, but Alisson tipped away from goal.
Rose was first to the loose ball and picked out Moura inside the area, but he failed to get the required power on his strike and his Brazilian compatriot got down low to keep the score 1-0.
Alli's race was run after with Fernando Llorente introduced in his place with nine to go and Tottenham continued to push for an equaliser.
More good play by Rose won Spurs a free kick in a great position with 85 played and from it Eriksen beat the wall, but Alisson produced his best save of the night to parry wide for a corner.
From it, Trippier's delivery found Moura and he flicked towards goal where Son got on the end of it, but could only head over, although he was flagged for offside.
The Lilywhites were hoping for one final opportunity and unfortunately before they could fashion it Liverpool wrapped the game up.
A corner was only partially cleared and Matip knocked into Origi's path and he took a touch before firing smartly into the corner to spark wild celebrations involving both the players and coaching staff.
While this season's Champions League had produced a number of unexpected moments, Liverpool knew a sixth title was there's now.
Five minutes were added on at the end of the 90 and Alisson had to make saves from Son and Kane, but Spurs were unable to find a consolation goal and the full time whistle soon followed.
It was met with You'll Never Walk Alone and also chants from the Tottenham faithful who were quickly up on their feet to applaud the players Pochettino has often described as superheroes.
Tottenham didn't win the Champions League, but it took extraordinary measure for them to get this far for the first time in their history.
It was Liverpool's night with their finishing superior to Spurs, but for the Londoners they must make sure this is the start and not the pinnacle for this group.
After reaching the final this season, the Lilywhites must continue to progress and the key to that is keeping Pochettino at the club and allowing him to improve a squad which has often looked on its last legs in recent months.
Should Tottenham give the Argentinian want he wants to start a new project, the future will continue to look bright for Spurs.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (c); Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko (Dier 74), Winks (Moura 66); Eriksen, Alli (Llorente 81), Son; Kane.
Unused substitutes: Gazzaniga, Vorm, Sanchez, Foyth, Davies, Aurier, Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Lamela.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Milner 62); Salah, Firmino (Origi 58), Mane (Gomez 90).
Unused substitutes: Mignolet, Kelleher, Lovren, Moreno, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Brewster, Sturridge.