Champions League Final Preview: Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur

Here we are again.

A year on from the heartbreak of Kyiv and Liverpool are back in a Champions League final, ready to battle it out for the biggest prize in club football.

As fans descend on the Spanish capital, The Anfield Talk’s Hannah (@hannah_pinnock) previews what is sure to be an exhilarating game.

Team News
Jurgen Klopp confirmed in his press conference earlier this week that Roberto Firmino is expected to be back fit ready for Saturday’s game.

The forward sustained a groin problem in the latter stages of the league season and missed the Reds’ incredible comeback against Barcelona on May 7.

It wasn’t good news regarding Naby Keita, however, as the Liverpool boss confirmed there is no possibility of him playing a part in Madrid.

The Guinean international picked up an adductor injury in the first leg against Barcelona and was ruled out for the rest of the season.

He remains a doubt for the Africa Cup of Nations this number.

Minus Naby, Klopp expects a fully fit squad to pick from on Saturday.

Tottenham have also received some injury boosts in the last few weeks as Harry Kane and Harry Winks, among others, are back in training and have been included in the travelling squad to Madrid.

Selection Dilemmas
Team selection is likely to be a real headache for both managers, with some big decisions to be made.

For the Reds, most of the starting eleven picks itself with the midfield being the exception.

Klopp is renowned for sticking to his trusted trio of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner in the big games, but Fabinho has proved himself to be instrumental to this side.

One of the four is going to miss out on starting, but all of them can expect to play a role at some point in what could potentially be a 120-minute game.

Mauricio Pochettino has to make a decision on the fitness of Harry Kane and whether the number nine is fit enough to start.

The London side are not short of attacking talent, with the likes of Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura scoring a handful of goals in the absence of their main man.

Pochettino may stick with the in-form players whom are fully fit, as opposed to relying on Kane who hasn’t featured since early April.

Form
In a one-off game, previous form flies out the window and given the three-week gap between the last game of the Premier League season and the Champions League final, both sets of players have had more than enough time to re-group and prepare.

Despite missing out on their first league title in 29 years, Liverpool signed off in style having lost just one game (Barcelona away) since their 0-0 draw with Everton back in March.

Tottenham’s end to the season was not as plain sailing, failing to win one of their last three Premier League fixtures.

Liverpool have also overcome Spurs home and away this term, securing 2-1 victories in both games.

Prediction
It’s a tough one to call, games against Tottenham are never straight forward for Liverpool and they have more than enough to cause us problems.

But I back the Reds and Liverpool’s “never-say-die’ attitude has been evident on many occasions across the course of the season.

No matter what this game throws, this team doesn’t know when they’re beaten, and I truly believe they’ll come out on top.

It will be tight, and it will be nervy, as most games against Spurs are – so I’d go for a 2-1 Liverpool win (continue the pattern, ey?)

I’d like to see Salah on the scoresheet and having a decisive part to play, especially since the opportunity was taken away from him in such cruel fashion last year.

One day to go. Up the Reds.

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