Champions League Final Preview

After one of the craziest comebacks in UCL history, one of the best underdog stories in UCL history, and one team making their first UCL championship in history, we have finally reached the Champions League Final.

The final will take place at 3:00 ET on TNT and Univision on Saturday and will be played between Liverpool and Tottenham. Both teams had quite the interesting back stories heading into this Saturday’s final. Tottenham began the season not buying a single person in the transfer market and was heavily criticized by soccer media. They ended up knocking off top teams like Man City before having to come back from being behind 3 goals to Ajax in the second leg. Liverpool lost the UCL Final to Real Madrid last year after arguably the worst goalie performance of all-time by Loris Karius as they lost 3-1. The big question is though, who will bring home the UCL trophy this Saturday.

One of the biggest advantages that Liverpool has is its speed of play. That starts from the back where they have attacking wing backs with the likes of Trent-Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robertson. They provide so much to the Liverpool attack and will play a crucial role in opening up the entire Tottenham back line. Not to mention Liverpool still has Salah and Mane, arguably the best wingers in the Premier League, in width. I do not have a lot of faith in Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier to be able to handle the quality that Liverpool has on the flanks.

Tottenham will need to win the midfield battle as it is really the only category where they may be able to outclass Liverpool. Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, and Victor Wanyama will need to take care of business. I like Tottenham’s ability to split gaps in defenses and truly press the ball into the attack a lot better than Liverpool can. Firmino is a great CAM but plays much more like a CF and doesn’t drop in to offer a lot of support in the middle as a lot of the Liverpool attack is down the sides. In order for Tottenham to push Liverpool they are going to need to be very disciplined with their backline as Liverpool is very, and I mean, very fast. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are going to need to communicate a lot with the CMs in order to make sure they can stay in the middle for the ridiculous amount of crosses that Liverpool drops into the penalty area.

For Liverpool to win this game I think it will come down to them not being too excited to attack. They love to throw numbers forward and allow Virgil Van Dijk to absorb teams counter attacks. Even though Van Dijk is amazing, Liverpool just needs to make sure they are not allowing Tottenham simple chances when they turn the ball over. Liverpool will need to capitalize on their amount of chances as I, and the entire football world, knows Liverpool will have way more chances than Tottenham. Liverpool needs to finish their chances early, because if this season has shown us anything, it’s that if you allow teams to hang around they can get lucky.

With all this said, as much as it pains me as an Evertonian, I think I have to pick Liverpool as this years UCL Champions.

Liverpool – 3 vs Tottenham – 1