For just the second time ever, both finalists of the Champions League will be from England. Last time, it was Manchester United facing off against Chelsea in 2008. Let’s just agree that this is miles better, regardless of the outcome.
This match-up is unique for another reason: it’s the first time since 2007 that both semifinalists overcame a first leg defeat in order to secure their place in the final. That year also featured Liverpool, but considering we lost that year, hopefully this is where the comparisons end.
Although many Liverpool fans would have preferred facing Ajax for historical (and potential damage limitation reasons), it is special to face another English side in the biggest of stages. Moreover, Tottenham and manager Mauricio Pochettino have done a fantastic job building their club in the right way (glares in the direction of Manchester City). There is a lot of respect between Pochettino and Klopp, and the Spurs manager was quick to heap praise on his future opponents immediately after the semifinal.
“Allow me to relax a little bit, there is going to be time to talk about Liverpool,” Poch said in an interview.
“I want to congratulate Jurgen Klopp and all the players and Liverpool, because I think they were amazing.
“We enjoyed a lot, watching the tie against Barcelona, they are heroes too and of course it is going to be an amazing final between two English teams that for sure we are going to enjoy.”
Considering the negativity between past rival managers, this is a breath of fresh air. I’m sure the hostilities will ramp up between now and the end of the month (not to mention within the game itself), but for now we can appreciate just how special this match up is.
Hopefully it’ll be a fantastic final, one in which none of the starting 22 players have to (or should) leave the pitch because of a violent assault. And of course, one which ends with Liverpool bringing home #6.