George Pitts previews the all-English Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.
For advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
- Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
- BT Sport 2, 2000 BST kick-off
It has been a long season full of ups and downs and it all comes down to Saturday for Tottenham and Liverpool.
After the disappointment of just missing out on the Premier League title, despite recording 97 points, Jurgen Klopp's side will make their second Champions League final appearance in a row and it is a great chance for the German to end his hoodoo at this stage of the competition.
Klopp has guided his Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool teams to an impressive eight major finals, but he has the unwanted record of losing his last six. It will be his fourth European final, after doing so with Dortmund in 2012/13 and Liverpool in 2017/18, as well as the Europa League showpiece with the Merseysiders in 2015/16.
He will have learnt from those disappointments and the success of his side this season has shown his willingness to sacrifice his gung-ho approach in favour of a conservative style which saw them lose just once in the Premier League all season.
Their two league meetings with Spurs this season ended in 2-1 victories and they will want to use that as a psychological advantage on Saturday.
They booked their place in Madrid in style, coming from three goals down to beat Barcelona in the semis to add another memorable European night at Anfield to the history books.
If that was not crazy enough, the following night saw resilient Spurs come from three down in the second half at Ajax, Lucas Moura scoring with essentially the final kick of the game, much to the delight of an emotional Mauricio Pochettino.
The odds were stacked against them when they faced Man City in the quarter-final and they performed miracles at the Etihad, then pulled off something special in Amsterdam - so is their name on the trophy? They enjoy going into games as the underdog and Pochettino will be telling his men that anything is possible.
It will be the Argentinian's second final as a manager, his second with Spurs after reaching the 2014/15 League Cup final only to lose out to Chelsea.
He will be boosted by Harry Kane's return from injury, which presents a selection headache for the Spurs boss after Lucas Moura stepped up to fire the important goals in the England forward's absence.
Not only do the sub plots provide plenty of interest, one notable factor for both teams is the fact they have not played a competitive match since the last day of the Premier League season three weeks ago. While the rest will do them some good, especially Spurs with Kane returning, it could also prove a hindrance.
Whatever happens on the night, it promises to be an exciting evening for English football.
Prediction: Spurs 1-2 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: Price Boosted to 8/1)
It would be no surprise to see this one level at half-time, considering how we see finals start off cagey with no-one wanting to make a mistake. The second half could open up a little and the feeling is that Liverpool's solid defence will be key in helping them seal the trophy.
Best bet: Fabinho to be carded at 9/4
With Naby Keita out, Fabinho is likely to get the nod in Liverpool's three-man midfield and he will be in the thick of it, with the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli operating in advance roles for Tottenham. The Brazilian has three bookings to his name in the competition in 2018/19 and nine in total, so he is no stranger to picking up cautions and could be key to stopping the Londoners on the counter.
Goals: Sadio Mane to score a header at 11/1
A nice goalscorer price on one of Liverpool's key front three. Mane has been vital for Klopp's side this season and, arguably, you could say at times more important than Mo Salah. With his positional role mostly occupying the left wing and coming inside, he has a great chance to head home at the far post or to pick up any scraps in and around the six-yard box and he is no stranger to a header. Virgil van Dijk is the obvious aerial threat, but Mane (with 22) had more headed efforts in the Premier League this term than the Dutchman (20). The last time we backed Mane to score a header, he netted two of them against Huddersfield. Mane has had four attempts with his head in Europe and has four goals to his name in the competition and this is a good option that's worth a small play.
Sporting Life Price Boost: Click here to back Harry Kane and Mo Salah both to score in 90 minutes at an enhanced 15/2
As the excitement builds over the Champions League final, our team discuss all the main talking points and pick out their best bets for Tottenham v Liverpool. Click the image below to find out how to listen...
- Liverpool are playing in their ninth European Cup/Champions League final – more than any other English side. They’ve won the trophy five times, but have lost their last two finals (2007 and 2018).
- Tottenham Hotspur are playing in their first ever European Cup/Champions League final, and are the eighth different English side to do so. The last five first-time finalists have ended up on the losing side (Chelsea 2008, Arsenal 2006, Monaco 2004, Bayer Leverkusen 2002 and Valencia 2000).
- This will be the second all-English European Cup/Champions League final, with Manchester United beating Chelsea on penalties in 2008 in the other.
- This is the first Champions League final between two sides who both failed to win their respective groups since Inter Milan vs Bayern Munich in 2010.
- Liverpool won both of their league meetings with Spurs this season. In total, they’ve met at least three times in all competitions in 13 previous campaigns – Liverpool have only beaten Spurs three times in a single season in one of those (1985-86 – four times).
- The only previous meeting between Liverpool and Tottenham in a major final was in the 1982 English League Cup final, with the Reds coming from behind to win 3-1 after extra-time.
- Liverpool were the losing finalists in last season’s Champions League final – the last side to lose consecutive finals in the competition were Valencia in 2000 and 2001.
- This will be Tottenham’s first major final in any European competition since the 1984 UEFA Cup. They are looking to become just the third English side to win all three of the major UEFA tournaments after Chelsea and Manchester United (European Cup/Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League and Cup Winner’s Cup).
- Liverpool have lost their last four appearances in major domestic and European finals since winning the 2012 League Cup. Meanwhile, Spurs’ last major trophy win was also the League Cup (2008), losing their last two finals since then.
- Tottenham failed to win any of their opening three Champions League group stage games this season – they’ve become just the second side to do so and go on to reach the final after Inter Milan in 2010, who went on to win the trophy.
- Only FC Porto (10) have had more different goalscorers (excluding own goals) in this season’s Champions League than Liverpool (9).
- No team has conceded more goals in this season’s Champions League than Tottenham Hotspur (17). 41% of these goals have come in the opening 15 minutes of games (7/17).
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reached his third Champions League final, on the losing side with the Reds last season and with Borussia Dortmund in 2013. The only manager to lose three successive final appearances in the European Cup/Champions League is Marcello Lippi (1997, 1998 and 2003 with Juventus).
- This is Jurgen Klopp’s third major European final with Liverpool – only Bob Paisley (4) has ever reached more with the club.
- Mauricio Pochettino is only the third Tottenham manager to guide the club to a major European final, after Bill Nicholson and Keith Burkinshaw. It’s only the second final the Argentine has reached during his time as a manager in Europe, after the 2015 League Cup final with Spurs (0-2 vs Chelsea).
- Liverpool forward Sadio Mané scored the Reds’ goal in their 1-3 defeat in last season’s Champions League final. He could become just the second Liverpool player to score in multiple European Cup/Champions League finals after Phil Neal (1977 and 1984).
- Liverpool’s Sadio Mané scored in the 2018 Champions League final, and could become the first player to score in back-to-back European Cup/Champions League finals since Franz Roth with Bayern Munich in 1975 and 1976.
- If Trent Alexander-Arnold starts for Liverpool, he’d be the first ever player aged under-21 to start in consecutive Champions League finals. The previous youngest is Christian Panucci with Milan in 1994 and 1995.
- Tottenham’s Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick in their win at Ajax to see them into the final, scoring more goals in that game than he had in his previous 16 appearances in the competition beforehand (2).
- Of players to have scored at least 10 Champions League goals, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has scored the highest percentage of them in the knockout stages of the competiton (71.4%, 10/14).
Odds correct as of 1320 BST on 31/05/19
Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC
Related Champions League links
- Latest Champions League betting odds
- Our in-depth Champions League guide
- Champions League final: Talking Points
- QUIZ: Champions League Finals
- Tottenham's Road To Madrid
- Liverpool's Road To Madrid
- Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona: Report and goal highlights
- Ajax 2-3 Tottenham: Report and goal highlights
- Reaction to Liverpool's triumph
- Reaction to Tottenham's miracle