Tottenham Hotspur 0 - 2 Liverpool
Liverpool: Salah 2’ (PEN), Origi 86’
It’s finally here. It’s Champions League final day, and the team sheets have been announced. Firmino starts for Liverpool, as expected. James Milner starts on the bench, but look for him to come in for the second half. For Spurs, it is, indeed, Harry Kane starting with Lucas Moura on the bench.
(Editor’s note: The above reaction was written 45 minutes ago, before time stopped and 45 minutes stretched into six hours 52 minutes and counting. This game may never begin.)
I was just cracking my knuckles and getting ready to start this first half recap when Liverpool were awarded a penalty less than 30 seconds into the game for a handball against Sissoko. Mohamed Salah takes it. Liverpool are leading less than two minutes into this game, and Salah becomes the first Egyptian player to score in a Champions League final.
Wow. WOW. WOWWWWWW!
(Editor’s note: What you’re witnessing is the author’s brain processing what she has just witnessed. Apologies for the interruption.)
Spurs did well to recover from that huge psychological blow and have had the better of the possession for the next 10 minutes or so. Honestly, though, both teams are taking their time coming into the game and both sets of players seem pretty scattered here in the early offing. But Liverpool have a lucky goal, so we’ll take it. Alexander-Arnold makes a long range attempt that goes wide, but it’s the best chance that either team has had since the goal.
Anyone hoping for a beautiful, technically impressive match between two teams who know each other inside and out will be, well...disappointed with what’s happening so far. Very cagey, clearly nerves on both sides. Liverpool can’t seem to keep possession of the ball, opting to lob it up and over the midfield to the forwards rather more than I would like. Neither Kane nor Firmino have been involved much in the first 30 minutes.
Joel Matip gets an excellent pass off to Robertson, who storms down the pitch and whacks one in, forcing Hugo Lloris to tip it over a bar. The resulting corner is unimpressive, but ends with Jan Vertonghen clutching his wrist in pain.
The last few minutes of this half has seen both teams amp up the pressure, though neither threatened the goal after Robertson.
The problem with the urgency of this game might partly be the Spanish heat, which is said to be scorching. Either way, Liverpool go off at halftime leading by one.
The second half begins with Spurs taking the initiative, charging at the Liverpool goal. The game has improved and both teams look brighter and like they’re playing with more purpose.
Spurs are attacking more, which has given Liverpool a little more room to attack on the break. All in all, looking better. At 56 minutes into the game, no changes have been made for either team, but they are likely coming.
And as I say that, Roberto Firmino makes way for the Barcelona hero, Divock Origi. Firmino didn’t find his way into this match, and with him just returning from injury, it’s no surprise that he couldn’t go much longer. Klopp isn’t usually a fan of early subs, but he quickly makes his second change of the match, with James Milner coming on for Gini Wijnaldum. And speaking of heroes, on comes Lucas Moura for Harry Winks, marking Tottenham’s first sub.
James Milner gets a shot off with his left foot that goes wide. Spurs have a few good minutes of play, but then Trippier, Sissoko, and Rose are all down as Alisson switches play brilliantly on the break, getting the ball out wide to Salah. He can’t finish it though, but Liverpool probably should have been 2-0.
Sissoko goes off injured for Eric Dier in the 73rd minute. Spurs look absolutely battered by a combination of exhaustion and heat. Liverpool really need to score another here. 75 minutes in and Virgil van Dijk makes his presence known for the first time with a huge, huge block one-on-one against Son.
Son is tearing up the Liverpool defense at the moment. Alisson has had to make two quick saves against him. Dele Alli goes off the pitch to be replaced by Fernando Llorente while Liverpool take a lucky corner. Less than 10 of the 90 minutes remain. On the other end, Liverpool get off lightly when James Milner fouls Rose just outside the box for a free kick. Alisson saves the resulting free kick from Eriksen and then avoid disaster on the resulting corner.
DIVOCK ORIGI IS A HERO AGAIN! Our gorgeous Belgian savior makes it 2-0 off a corner in the 86th minute. Matip toes the ball to him in the box. Origi gets control, takes a couple touches and deftly slots it home. Words fail me.
LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, THE BEST TEAM IN EUROPE! NUMBER SIX! NUMBER SIX! Have fun and be safe tonight, my friends. I love all of you, but not as much as I love Divock Origi.