For the first time in 11 years, the UEFA Champions League Final will be featuring two English clubs.
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur overcame a three-goal deficit in the second leg of Champions League semi-finals to knock out Barcelona and Ajax respectively.
Eleven years back, Manchester United faced Chelsea for the Champions League title in Moscow.
No one would have thought back then that the next time two Premier League sides meet in the Champions League final it would be Liverpool and Spurs.
It is their managers who have changed this perception. Both Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino have been the key to Liverpool and Tottenham’s revival.
Two managers who love attacking and aggressive football. However, if one considers all facets of the game it isn’t only both of them. The two English clubs make for perfect nemeses for each other.
The Title Coincidence
While Mauricio Pochettino joined as Spurs manager in 2014, his Liverpool counterpart signed up with the Reds in 2015.
One astonishing fact is that they haven’t yet got their hands on a trophy despite being two of the greatest managers in Europe, popular for their tactics and image amongst the players.
While Jurgen Klopp guided Liverpool to Europa League final in 2015/16 and Champions League final in 2017/18, this season’s Champions League final will be the first summit clash experience for Pochettino.
It will also be the first Champions League final for Spurs whereas Liverpool would look to overcome Barcelona (5) and Bayern Munich (5) in terms of Champions League titles. It was back in Istanbul 2005 that the Reds managed a miraculous comeback against AC Milan to win their fifth Champions League title.
The Art of Pressing
Both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have successfully utilised the art of pressing deep. But it is the intent that varies for both the clubs. This is why the full-backs become so important for both the sides.
Jurgen Klopp’s side presses deep to collect the ball and immediately attacks the opposition who are not in an organised position, which is counterpressing. A classic example of it was against Barcelona at Anfield.
On the other hand, Mauricio Pochettino lays emphasis on pressing deep in the opposition’s territory, getting back possession and then developing their own gameplay rather then instantly attacking.
Maximum to None: Market Approach
While Liverpool have been one of the most active sides in transfer window this season, Tottenham haven’t signed a single player.
Allison Becker, Nabi Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi. These are just a few of those that Liverpool signed this particular season. Ever since Jurgen Klopp came from Borussia Dortmund, he has created his own side and has been backed by the club to sign all the players that he needs.
On the other hand, it is hard to believe that a team which hasn’t even signed a single player this summer transfer window will play the Champions League final. Tottenham Hotspur have been at an all-time low on signings.
Another interesting coincidence was that both the sides made comebacks in UCL semi-finals despite their key players missing out due to injury.
While Harry Kane had been injured in the first leg against Ajax at home, Mohammed Salah suffered a shoulder blow against Newcastle at the weekend before the return leg against Barcelona and was ruled out.
Liverpool were also missing Salah’s forward partner, Roberto Firmino and midfielder Nabi Keita.
Spurs’ star defender, Jan Vertonghen also suffered an ankle injury in the semi-final win against Ajax.
As of now apart from Nabi Keita, none of the manager has given any update on any other player missing out the big final.
Liverpool will face Spurs on 2 June at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Madrid.
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