Wanda Metropolitano stadium, Madrid – Saturday June 1, 2019 – 20:00hrs GMT
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs clash in an all-English final of the 2019 UEFA Champions League on June 1, both having emerged from the semi-finals in dramatic fashion. Spurs’ hopes have got a huge boost in the form of Harry Kane’s return from injury. Tottenham’s ace striker who missed both the quarter and semi-final clashes owing to a ligament injury, is now confident that he will start the final game at Madrid on Saturday night. But Spurs’ boss Mauricio Pochettino is not so sure and in a fixture of such importance may choose to leave out the English striker unless he is declared cent per cent fit. Moreover, even without Kane, the upfront duo of Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura have got vital goals that have seen the team through to this stage. The best Pochettino could do is to introduce Kane as a second-half substitute. Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez who were out owing to injuries in recent games are back on the training pitch. Sanchez hasn’t played since the Premier League defeat at Bournemouth in early May because of a thigh issue, while Winks has undergone a groin surgery last month. Defender Jan Vertonghen, who had to leave on crutches against Ajax in the semi-finals a fortnight ago has recovered quickly and seems fit enough to start on June 1. Danny Rose and Del Alli who have niggling injury issues should also be fit enough for the finals.
Tottenham’s predicted starting XI: Hugo Lloris (goal), Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Ali, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura
As for Liverpool, the injured Firmino is back to full training having missed out on the semi-finals against Ajax. The Reds’ talismanic striker and all-time top scorer Mohammed Salah should also be back and will in all probability feature in the finals. So, the super Liverpool attack trio of Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane who have as many as 68 goals between will be expected to start. Liverpool’s only long-term absentee is Naby Keita out with groin injury, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana are reported to be recovering from their injuries well but still lack full match fitness.
Liverpool’s starting XI: Alisson (goal): Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohammed Salah.
Liverpool look the favorites given their superb form in the English Premier League where they finished runners-up to Manchester City by just a point. But after the manner in which both teams came back in the semi-finals it would be difficult for someone to hedge their bets either way. Much will depend on the match fitness of the likes of Salah, Firmino and Kane, although both teams hardly seemed to miss them in the knock-outs. But Liverpool have an exemplary record against the London club, losing just once in their 10 meetings since 2015 and winning as many as five.
With so much at stake for both managers Jurgen Klopp and Pochettino, logic dictates that it should be a tight game that should end with penalties deciding the fates of the two.
UEFA has allocated only 38,000 tickets to supporters as reported. The Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium where June 1st’s final will be held, has a capacity of 63,500.
Liverpool to win: 10/11
Tottenham to win: 3/1