- Liverpool looks to win the 6th UCL trophy.
- First UCL final of the Spurs in club history.
- Klopp, Pochettino has not yet won the trophy in his clubs
- First final entirely in English since 2008, only the second in the history of UCL
MADRID – And then there were two.
Two teams of the Premier League. Two finalists for the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid, Spain. Two very friendly managers looking to win their first trophy with their respective clubs. Two sets of largely sympathetic players who have worked for this moment during the past four seasons and have challenged the odds of reaching the most important event in world club football.
[ MORE: How will teams line up? ]
Both could have gone out in the group stage, but joined to make the elimination rounds. Both lost 3-0 in their semifinals against, but nullified those deficits with incredible victories to get Barcelona and Ajax out of the competition. These two teams are not really meant to be here. But they are. And all those who are connected with the clubs are making the most of being in Madrid.
☀️?? The scene here today sunny and scorching day, Madrid. Tottenham and Liverpool fans everywhere. A lot of singing A lot of beer.
– Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) May 31, 2019
Tottenham Hotspur against Liverpool. White against red. London against the north of England. All this is very familiar, but this time the streets of the Spanish club are invaded by the English, as it is estimated that 80,000 fans have come to Madrid for the final at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium, which has 67,000.
The two teams trained on the site of the final on Saturday (start, 4 p.m. ET) on Friday afternoon, one after another, going through their final preparations in the scorching Spanish sun.
[ MORE: Kane fit? | Klopp positive ]
In the heat of more than 90 degrees, 90 minutes will define not only their careers as a player, but also those of Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, none of whom has won trophies in their respective clubs.
Of course, they will have other opportunities to win trophies and reach the finals, but the Champions League? No no. Moments and games like this only appear a few times in life if you're lucky. With fans gathered in Madrid, packed in squares and lining bars as far as the eye can see, the party atmosphere is strong. This is exactly the kind of occasion in which players, managers and fans dream.
The locals laugh and dance in the streets with the fans, while everywhere you go, people ask: "who will win?" The capital of Spain is also a football city and everything is perfectly organized so that Premier League clubs can participate in this competition. an appropriate end
But that pressure was not exactly palpable when both Klopp and Pochettino spoke to the hordes of media gathered on Friday.
Klopp has lost six of his seven top finishes as a manager, including all three in Liverpool, but he relaxed and told several jokes. Pochettino smiled frequently, but kept his cards close to his chest when it was the only news of the team that dominated the preparation of this game.
Tottenham's top scorer, Harry Kane, has been out since April 9 with another ankle injury. But he has declared himself in form. Does Pochettino risk playing Kane from the beginning and upsets the balance of his team? Would it be a greater risk to save Kane for a late cameo, but then be out of the game when the time comes? Pochettino did not reveal anything about Kane, just as Klopp refused to talk about the physical condition of Roberto Firmino.
Fans of Tottenham and Liverpool sing at the Puerta del Sol in the center of Madrid.
So far I have spoken with fans from the United States, Australia and England who are in the Spanish capital. Great construction environment.
– Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) May 31, 2019
These teams know each other so well that it is possible that this final is not a matter of blood and thunder as we expect. Liverpool outscored the Spurs 2-1 in their two Premier League games this season, but the second game in particular could have tilted Tottenham's favor at the end.
The margins are very thin. The teams so matched. The managers are so similar in their ideologies. The recent trajectory of both clubs so similar.
Two great English teams are fighting for the biggest title in the club game.
One will enter the history books as great European champions.
What they are saying
Klopp in his poor record in big finals"If I were the reason to lose six times in a row, then everyone should be really worried, if that's not the case, then we always have a chance, that's how we really see it."
Pochettino on the importance of a decision on Kane"It's not easy to make decisions for tomorrow, we have all the information, we know every detail and we'll make the right decision to win, it's so painful when this kind of game comes and you can only use 11 players, it's the most painful situation." I asked UEFA to have the whole team together, and tomorrow the whole team will take a picture on the field. "
Andrew Robertson in Tottenham is called the losers in the final: "I do not think they're lost, when we played in the Premier League, they were the toughest games we've played, we know we can cause them problems, they both have very good squads, it's the one that comes up best on the day. even ".
Harry winks what it means to get to Tottenham.: "The occasion is mbadive. It shows how far Tottenham has come as a club. It will be a special and emotional night. "
Liverpool are the overwhelming favorites and with good reason. They won 97 points in the Premier League, but finished second behind Man City for a reason. Klopp's team lost in the final last season and does not seem to have a weakness. As for the Spurs, they have upset all the chances of being in this final. Kane's fitness is his main concern, but they know that most of the pressure is on Liverpool. He expects a disorder to end what has been a season of upsets in the Champions League. Tottenham to win, 2-1.