Tottenham vs Liverpool – Champions League Final
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Vorm, Sanchez, Foyth, Davies, Aurier, Dier, Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Moura, Lamela, Llorente
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Subs: Mignolet, Kelleher, Lovren, Gomez, Moreno, Milner, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Origi, Brewster, Sturridge.
A Liverpool Perspective Preview by @NiallHawthorne
This f*cking team.
This team are not the same as last season’s team. They’re not going to be the same as next season’s team. They’re this season’s team, a unique collection of individuals brought together at a moment in time, creating something ethereal that will never be matched and can never be copied. This team have ‘it’, and I have no bloody idea what ‘it’ is. But it’s there, within them, and it has been since the season kicked off in August. It’s magical, mystical and very, very special. I could pontificate and tell you to savour it, enjoy it and remember it, but the beauty of it is we already have…
- One-eyed Bobby off the bench v PSG to nab a crucial late winner.
- Daniel Sturridge at Stamford Bridge curling one into the top bin to protect the unbeaten start.
- Origi 90+6 in the derby the likes of which you’ve never seen in your life.
- Alisson both saving and securing the game in the space of 15 seconds at Turf Moor.
- Salah at Bournemouth with bodies strewn everywhere as he taps one in from three yards out.
- Salah ghosting past the best defender in world football outside of Anfield to score the winner against Napoli and get us out of that god-awful group.
- Alisson saving in the last minute against Napoli to get us out of that god-awful group.
- The shellacking of Arsenal with Bobby ending careers, leaving four on the floor gazing up in admiration.
- THAT goal at City, the greatest goal ever scored that didn’t mean anything in the end.
- The insane game at home to Palace that was never over. I’m not quite sure it ever actually ended.
- Sadio’s goal at the Allianz Arena that still makes Manuel Neuer cry himself to sleep every night.
- Milner’s late penalty at Fulham which was yet another call to arms that makes Bill Pullman’s speech in ‘Independence Day’ look like a nursery rhyme.
- ‘Salah You Dancer’ against Spurs.
- Mo dribbling 70 yards at Southampton before smashing one in from 20 yards
- Jordan Henderson turning into peak Steven Gerrard.
- Mo Salah launching an Exocet missile into the Kop end against Chelsea.
- Gini at Cardiff, with a smile as wide as the River Mersey.
- Divock’s winner to finally sink our beloved Rafa who did anything but made it easy for us, which made us love him just that little bit more, were it possible.
- Messi wandering in aimless bewilderment around Anfield as we rattle four past the mighty Barca, him powerless to even think about doing anything to stop it.
This has been a season for the ages. The best Liverpool team I have ever seen, the first I can put hand on heart and say are better than the ’87-’88 team that featured Barnes, Beardsley, Aldridge and Houghton. That team made me fall in love with football. This team are better, in every conceivable way, and I don’t say that lightly.
They shouldn’t be in this final. Nobody does that to Barcelona when the greatest player of all time is in his pomp and has just torn you a new one a week before. Nobody skips past Koulibaly and slots like that against Napoli. Nobody saves in the 90th minute from point blank range when a goal knocks you out. Nobody strolls into the Allianz Arena and does that to the mighty Bayern Munich.
Then again, they would have won the league by a country mile in every other season between 1888 – 2017. Nobody gets 97 points and doesn’t win the league. Nobody loses just one league game all season and doesn’t win the league.
Then again Spurs shouldn’t be in this final. Nobody qualifies from their group when they have a single point from the first three games. Nobody does that to Manchester City. Nobody scores a left-foot hattrick in the second half of a Champions League semi-final when they’re right-footed. Nobody goes all the way to the Champions League final when half your squad got to the last four of the World Cup the summer before and your chairman forgot to buy any new players for 18 months.
I was asked to write a preview of the Champions League final from a Liverpool perspective y’know. Well I’ve just done it.
Some may say this is off the point, but it’s not. This IS the point. What happens on June 1st will be noted in history books forevermore, but for those of us who love this club and this team, the Champions League trophy would be lovely, but it won’t be everything.
We already have everything.
For one last match, one last time, one last moment.
We have this team.
This f*cking team.
Written by Niall Hawthorne.
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