The plane carrying Liverpool to Madrid has left John Lennon Airport. Inside the cabin are Jürgen Klopp, his staff, and the twenty-three fucking giants that have been selected for the squad to face Tottenham Hotspur. Twelve substitutes are now allowed (some fancy new regulation).
Their names are familiar. It’s a strong squad of players that can produce a powerful starting XI and a secondary crew full of elite options for Jürgen Klopp. Rhian Brewster and Caoimhim Kelleher make up the youth contingent and what an experience that will be for the budding 19- and 20-year-old. Great seats. Great inspiration for them.
The big ones:
Alisson, Simon Mignolet, Kelleher
The best friends:
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joël Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno
The silly boys:
Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana
The fun ones:
Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge, Brewster
There’s debate around the nuances of Klopp’s eventual midfield choices but the team that starts the final is mostly set in stone. Substitutions will come into play based on the consequences of the game but you have to think that if Milner doesn’t start he’ll be subbed on at some point. That man has been amazing for this team and I think that would be very nice.
Gomez or Lovren could come on as late defensive subs if we’re winning. And Ox could be a dynamic attacking midfield option to toss in if we need to spice things up in the second half.
I don’t expect Klopp to take off any of his three attacking players, regardless of the scoreline, unless Bobby is too exhausted to go the 90. If we’re losing, we need them to win. And if we’re winning, we need them to win more.
It’s all happening. Tomorrow the team will wake up and prepare to win the Champions League. Tomorrow we all will wake up and prepare to win the Champions League.