Liverpool became European champions for the sixth time as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
Liverpool were quick off the blocks as they grabbed their first opportunity to break the deadlock in the very first minute. Sadio Mane found his way into the Tottenham box before trying to chip the ball into a central area. But, the ball never made it past the first man, Moussa Sissoko.
Then, came a hugely contentious moment as referee Damir Skomina decided to award Liverpool a penalty, even though replays suggested that the ball had struck Sissoko’s shoulder first. With the reformed rules not coming into effect at the UEFA Champions League final, it became a major talking point for the rest of the game.
As for the penalty, Mohamed Salah stepped up to take it and made no error in converting from the spot, although Hugo Lloris was whiskers away from getting his hand on the ball. With the lead firmly secured, the Reds were happy to sit back and absorb any pressure that Tottenham looked to create.
In fact, Liverpool came the closest to scoring again, when Trent Alexander-Arnold narrowly missed with a long-range effort. A similar pattern ensued in the second half as well, with Spurs barely coming any closer to pulling things level. The lull would finally end with 20 minutes left in regulation time.
Alisson was called into action for the first time in the 73rd minute following which he would go on to deny Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen. And, three minutes from time, Liverpool struck the killer blow as Divock Origi produced a fine finish to round off the win.
Liverpool thus, successfully exorcised the bad memories of last year’s final to become champions of Europe for the sixth time. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men following a professional performance in the UEFA Champions League final.
Alisson Becker: 8/10
Having been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League this season, Alisson had one final test of the campaign, this time in the UEFA Champions League final. The Brazilian though, had a breeze of an outing till the 73rd minute.
When Tottenham finally managed to test him, Alisson was well up to the task, keeping Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen at bay. The saves from Eriksen and Son were especially delightful. Coming up trumps at clutch moments, Alisson.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
A strong performance from Alexander-Arnold, especially on the defensive front, as he neutralised the threat of Son superbly while also making some key interceptions. In the final third, the English full-back looked dangerous from open play deliveries and came close with a first half effort. But, his crossing from corners lacked bite, although it did no harm to Liverpool’s cause in the end.
Joel Matip: 8/10
The second half of the season has been one to remember for Joel Matip and he made it all the more memorable on Saturday. The Cameroonian, in fact, had a key role to play for Liverpool to remain unconcerned by Tottenham’s dominance of the possession. Was instrumental in Origi’s goal. A brilliant end to a marvellous season for Matip.
Virgil van Dijk: 8/10
What a way to cap off a mesmerizing campaign. Virgil van Dijk was near faultless in organising the Liverpool defensive line on Saturday. Striking the perfect partnership with Matip, the Dutchman did not allow the Spurs attackers an inch for the most part. Continued the run of not being dribbled past even once this season – an outstanding achievement. Certainly an early Ballon d’Or contender.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
A typical outing by Robertson, who was a bundle of energy all throughout the game. At the back, he had Kieran Trippier to deal with for the most part and he stuck to his guns with aplomb. Going forward, the Scotsman was a constant threat, combining marvellously with Sadio Mane. What an asset for Liverpool.
Jordan Henderson: 8/10
The Liverpool captain continued his strong end to the season in the no. 8 role that he has thrived in lately. This time around though, Henderson had a lot more defensive work to do than he has had to in the last few games.
This added defensive responsibility ended up bringing the best out of him and he drove his side forward efficiently when needed. A redemption day for Henderson who has managed to hit back at critics questioning his place in the Liverpool side for years.
On a night when he had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, Fabinho revelled in his job of shielding the defence. Marked Alli out of the game while also restricting the creative movements of Eriksen. Could have done better with the ball at his feet, but that was only a small negative on an otherwise strong night.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
One of the rare occasions when Wijnaldum did not quite show up this season. While he did not have a great deal to do without the ball, on it he was not as enterprising, completing a mere 12 passes. A quiet evening that ended at the hour mark.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
With Tottenham dominating most of the game, Salah did not have many moments in the final third. But, he had already risen to the occasion when it was needed off him, calmly slotting the penalty past Hugo Lloris. What a way to get over the bad memories of last year’s final.
Roberto Firmino: 4/10
Firmino was drafted into the side after evidently recovering from his injury. But, he was clearly not fit enough to play a match, especially one that held this much importance. Given 58 minutes on the pitch, wherein he was anonymous before finally being replaced by Origi.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
Far from Mane’s best performance of the season. But, in terms of pure contribution, he did enough, earning the penalty that would eventually by the Champions League winner. Otherwise, he drifted in and out of the game, looking dangerous when he was in the mood.
Divock Origi: 8/10
Not involved a great deal after replacing Firmino, making one wonder if the move made any difference whatsoever. But then, in the final stages of the match, he popped up with a wonderful finish to seal the Champions League triumph.
Divock Origi’s 3 shots in the Champions League this season:
1️⃣. Goal against Barca
2️⃣. His second goal against Barca
3️⃣. The goal in the final
🖊 Liverpool fans should start a petition to get this man a statue pic.twitter.com/NsG49Etkwn
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) June 2, 2019
Interestingly, Origi has scored three goals from literally the three shots he took in the competition this season. A simply stupendous level of impact by the Belgian international, who was the hero against Barcelona as well.
James Milner: 7/10
Quite an upgrade over Wijnaldum for the final half hour, Milner was his industrious self and worked hard to ensure Tottenham never quite came close.
Joe Gomez: N/A
A late substitution to see the game off.