The Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid will host an all-English final on June 1 in which Maurico Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur will try to upset the odds and triumph over Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Both sides have had incredible run–ins leading up to the final and both of them will try to keep that winning momentum going all the way until the end.
Unexpected All-English Champions League Final 2019 in Madrid
If you told anyone after the first leg of the Champions League 2019 semi-finals that Tottenham and Liverpool would be the final on June 1, then you would have either been considered as someone who knows nothing about football or as a deluded Liverpool fan.
This is because both Tottenham and especially Liverpool faced an almost impossible uphill struggle to reach the final. A Tottenham vs Liverpool final was in fact considered as the least likely final pairing by all bookmakers.
Tottenham lost 1-0 at home to an inspired young Ajax team which played in the style of Pep Guardiola. This is unsurprising as Ajax’s manager, Erik Ten Hag, was actually Pep’s right-hand man in the past and was hugely influenced by this year’s English treble winner who missed out on the semi-final only because of a VAR-disallowed goal against Tottenham in the quarter-final.
Liverpool on the other hand, had the unenviable task of overturning Barcelona’s 3-0 home advantage, something that literally no one thought they were capable of doing. They played much better at the Camp Nou than that 3-0 result would lead you to believe, but nevertheless, scoring three while not conceding any goals against a Barcelona side led by the likes of Messi and former Liverpool hero Luis Suarez require a magical performance.
Overturning the Deficit
The first to try to overturn the deficit were Liverpool as they played a day earlier than Spurs. Their start was encouraging and they already had a goal after seven minutes with Divock Origi the unlikely scorer. The Belgian was thrust into the first team following the absences of both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah and it is fair to say that he repaid Klopp’s trust in him even if that would have been his only goal of the night. Luckily for Liverpool fans, it wasn’t.
After the half-time break, Georginio Wijnaldum was introduced for the injured Andrew Robertson, with James Milner being moved down from midfield to left back. This change proved to be decisive as Liverpool suddenly gained a lot of momentum with Milner absolutely bossing the left flank, resulting in two goals from Wijnaldum in rapid succession.
With the scoreline being 3-0 in Liverpool’s favour, it was Origi’s turn to shine again. This time it was after a cheeky corner kick which Trent Alexander-Arnold sent towards the Belgian and which completely caught Barcelona’s defence off-guard – a weakness in the Spanish side Klopp’s lieutenants had spotted and prepared for. The biggest comeback in Champions League history might have been Barcelona’s very own 6-1 ‘Remontada’ over PSG in 2017, but this was definitely a close second.
Tottenham had the easier task of the two English sides, but quickly made it more difficult for themselves by conceding two more goals before the break in Amsterdam. Pochettino’s men had to score three goals without conceding in order to progress and they had to do that in one half.
This was considered as virtually impossible, especially as Ajax had been playing brilliantly for three quarters of the tie by that time. However, inspired by Liverpool’s heroics, a Lucas Moura-led Spurs managed to surprise everyone and finished the night 3-2 winners, with the Brazillian a hat-trick hero and Pochettino’s men through on away goals.
As Moura’s winner sneaked into André Onana’s bottom left corner five minutes into stoppage time, captain Matthijs de Ligt and the other Ajax heroes fell crestfallen to the ground. Jose Mourinho were among the pundits criticising Ten Hag for having failed to soldier up his side’s defences in the second half.
CL Final 2019 – Which Side Will Keep the Momentum Going?
It is incredibly difficult to predict which of these two sides will keep that winning momentum going as both of them had to go through hell and back to get to Madrid. The Champions League final will definitely be a game in which both Tottenham and Liverpool will try to replicate their semi-final heroics.
That certainly guarantees that we will watch one of the most exciting finals to date, but it also means that betting enthusiasts will have to be on top of their game if they are to have any chance of predicting the final outcome of the match.
Backing the Favourite – CL Final 2019
Liverpool certainly seem like the more likely contender to win here and bookmakers seem to agree with this. They make Klopp and his men slight favourites coming into the match and give them odds of around 10/11 to win after 90 minutes. Backing them pays out almost even money and provides the comfort which comes with backing the stronger side.
We say stronger because Klopp will have a full-strength Liverpool squad to choose from, something which he hasn’t had the chance to do for some time now. Roberto Firmino was the player which missed most of Liverpool’s run-in to the final and Mohamed Salah was also absent in the crucial semi-final return match against Barcelona.
With Salah and Firmino back into contention, Liverpool will have the chance to complete their lethal trio of Salah, Firmino and Mane up front. This is definitely the best attacking unit in the world right now and having all three players fit is a huge boost for Klopp.
In addition to this, Origi’s phenomenal brace against Barcelona means that Liverpool will also have a player full of confidence ready to come into the game should the need arise. And it is not just Origi who will be ready to use his chance. Both Shaqiri and Sturridge possess the quality to be game changers as the match wears on or goes into extra time and there are tired legs in Tottenham’s defence.
Furthermore, Liverpool’s defence and midfield will also be complete and that means that Klopp will probably start with Alisson in goal, Van Dijk and Matip ahead of him, and Alexander-Arnold and Robertson flanking them. Milner, Henderson, Keita, Fabinho, and Wijnaldum will all be in contention to start in the midfield trio and that means that whoever plays in Spurs’ midfield will have to work his socks off to be stronger in the midfield battle.
Considering that Liverpool’s biggest weakness has been their lack of squad depth in seasons past, having a full squad to choose from means that Klopp’s side will definitely be the favourite here. They have a team which is capable of playing ‘heavy metal’ football for 90 minutes and knowing that this is the last match of the season will further motivate the players not to hold back and to give their best. Knowing that Liverpool are going to go all-in in this match and are not going to engage the brakes is a scary prospect if you have to defend against them.
This means that in addition to backing them to win after 90 minutes, it might also be a smart bet to back them to win in both halves at odds of 2/1. Furthermore, since Liverpool are such a strong unit and are likely to put more than one past Hugo Lloris, punters can also try backing them in the Asian Handicap market. Backing Liverpool to overturn a deficit of 2.5 goals comes at odds of 6/1, while backing them to win with a four goal winning margin and overturn a deficit of -3.5 goals comes at enticing odds of 15/1.
Where Should Tottenham Look for Their Chances?
Tottenham lost both of their EPL matches against Liverpool this season with an identical result of 1-2. In both of those matches they had more possession of the ball, but failed to convert that superiority into goals.
That possession-based football actually played into Liverpool’s hands as they were able to press Spurs high up the pitch and hit them with their quick transitions which usually result in goals.
This means that Pochettino’s best chance here is to play his possession-based football, but to instruct his players to move a lot more when they are without the ball. This should in theory result in Spurs maintaining their possession while at the same time drawing Liverpool’s attack and midfield deep into their half.
The next thing that Pochettino will probably like to see is for his players to move the ball as quickly as possible to their attacking players who would only have to face Liverpool’s defence and not their midfield, meaning there will only be one line of defence in front of Alisson.
This sounds nice in theory, but whether it will be possible for Spurs to play this type of game depends on how well their midfield moves without the ball. Our prediction is that they will execute Pochettino’s plan to some extent, but that Liverpool’s relentless press will result in a couple of mistakes which will then open the flood gates.
Punters can capitalize on this type of scenario by placing a cheeky bet on Liverpool to score more goals in the second half (13/10) or by claiming that there will be more than 2.5 goals (10/3) or 3.5 goals (10/1) in the second half.