⚽️Liverpool OR Spurs to win the Champions League
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Here are my predictions for the 2018/19 Champions League Final. Predicting the winner of the massive Champions League final – Tottenham vs. Liverpool. Can Spurs win the first European Cup or will Liverpool make it number six? Who is going to to lift the biggest trophy in European football at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium?
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But, how did they make it to Madrid? Spurs qualified for the Champions League finishing 3rd in the Premier League last season. They came second in a group containing Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV. Pochettino’s side got off to a terrible start to their European campaign losing to Barcelona and Inter Milan, before drawing in Eindhoven with PSV. They turned their form around and an 85th minute equaliser from Lucas Moura was enough to finish 2nd behind Barca in the group. They then brushed aside a blunt Borussia Dortmund before three decisive away goals and a correct VAR decision at the Eithad saw them meet Ajax in the Semi-Final.
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In the first leg, Ajax outclassed Spurs in the first half with Pochettino getting his tactics completely wrong. But adapting in the second half saw them going to Amsterdam only a goal down. The second leg saw the return of Jan Vertongen and Heung-min Son. This didn’t change the approach of Ajax, who dominated the ball through Frenkie De Jong and ten Hag’s vertical tiki-taka. First half goals from de Ligt and Ziyech forced Pochettino to adapt his approach at half-time. Here is where Pochettino took control of the tie. First bringing off his holding midfielder, Victor Wanyama, for Llorente and switching to a more direct style. Tottenham scored three unanswered goals through a Lucas Moura hat trick and progressed to the final.
Liverpool arguably had one of the hardest groups and were drawn against Red Star Belgrade, Napoli and Paris-St Germain and after a little wobble, had to wait until the final game to qualify, were they beat Napoli 1-0. They dispatched the German Champions in Bayern Munich, before sweeping aside the Portuguese Champions, FC Porto and they were drawn against old friends Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho in Lionel Messi’s Barcelona. Despite losing the first leg 3-0 there were positives to take back to Anfield. Liverpool were unusually poor in front of goal and should have taken at least one away goal but injuries to Firmino and Salah made Liverpool’s tough task seem ever more impossible. Klopp started the second leg in a 4-3-3 that’s main purpose was to counterpress. Sadio Mané operated in a more aggressive position in the absence of Mohamed Salah, drifting inside and sitting on the last man. Alongside this, Klopp selected Divock Origi who constantly ran into the channels and pulled Barcelona out of shape. When Liverpool had the ball, they looked to play long to the channels, turning Barcelona’s midfield. From this position, they’d look to counter press and their supporting midfielders would look to steal the ball. Liverpool’s first goal came from this and they kept creating chances through this method. We’ve highlighted Barcelona’s weaknesses this season, their midfield don’t track runners and they don’t stop crosses coming into the box. Funnily enough, Liverpool scored from a combination of these things, first Alexander-Arnold crossed and Wijnaldum ran off Barcelona’s midfield to apply the finish before Milner and Shaqiri were unopposed, combined and Shaqiri crossed for another Wijnaldum goal.
On top of this, it’s reported that Liverpool’s analysts identified that Barcelona would switch off when the ball went out of play and they instructed the ball boys to give the ball back quickly. Quick thinking from 14 year old Oakley Cannon-ear and Trent Alexander-Arnold saw the full back pick Origi out from a quick set piece to take Liverpool to the Final.
Who will win the Champions League? Get your predictions and your comments in below to get involved in the debate!
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