The betting lines have Liverpool anywhere from two to three times more likely to win the Champions League final on Saturday, while the stats gurus at 538 have the Reds in with a 72% chance to win their sixth European cup.
After they made it to the final last season, and after they ran Manchester City to within a point in the Premier League, the consensus is that if Liverpool play to their potential in Madrid on Saturday, they should win the game.
Odds and favourites and should, though, often don’t matter. Not over 90 minutes. Not in a one-off game. Not against a side as good as Tottenham. And so, if you ask Liverpool about being favourites, well, they aren’t having it.
“In a game, anything can happen,” was Gini Winaldum’s answer when asked about it today. “Ninety minutes, 95 minutes, two teams will both have a chance to win. I think everyone makes us favourites because we finished higher in the league.
“But I think if you especially look at the second game we played against them, it was very difficult. If you compare the teams to each other, it is 50:50 and both teams can win the game. That’s why it is important for us to start well.”
Start well, play their best game, and worry first and foremost about doing the things that they can do. It’s been what this Liverpool side have managed for much of this season. It’s why they earned 95 points and are in the final again.
And it’s not a bad place to start for Jürgen Klopp’s mentality monsters; his giants. Even then, though, if Spurs play their best game they will believe, too, and in the end it could come down to which side has managed to stay sharper.
“It was harder than normal,” Wijnaldum added when asked about the extended, three-week layoff before the final. “It was like a small pre-season. It is not so different to other weeks, but we had a few days off, so we trained a little bit harder.
“Because you have time before the final, you train differently. We had a rhythm, we were training less and playing a lot of games, but we don’t have the games now so you train slightly harder than normal.”