For Liverpool, a year after falling to Real Madrid, the Champions League final is a chance at redemption. That’s likely true for no one more than Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian superstar who was knocked out of that match by a dirty Sergio Ramos tackle.
A season of goals, a season of hard work, all ended in a moment of pain. Then, having to sit and watch, unable to impact the outcome. Now, 12 months later, Salah and his teammates have a chance to put things right in another Champions League final.
“That would have been a massive disappointment, everything he had done leading up to it and having to come off,” said Jordan Henderson of his teammate. “It will be a big motivation to him to go out and show what he can do in a Champions League final.
“You do feel the need as a team to comfort him—as a person rather than anything else. He was so emotional that he couldn’t contribute to that game. Now we have been given this opportunity again and I’m sure he can’t wait to get out there again.”
The same, to a slightly lesser degree perhaps, will be true for many of Liverpool’s players, with the core group this season largely unchanged from the team that came so close to winning it all in Europe last season only to come up painfully short.
And after coming up short last year, that group responded by putting together a 97-point season in the Premier League. They responded by beating the champions of France and Portugal and Spain and Germany to get back to another European final.
They responded such that, this time around, they will be favourites. Not that the team—not Salah or Henderson or anyone else—will be thinking that anything is won, not just yet. Last year’s final and everything since will have made sure of that.
“I don’t really care who is favourite and who isn’t,” Henderson added. “Tottenham are a very, very good side. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be where they are. It’s just about focusing on the job we need to do on the night. Anything else is irrelevant to us.”