MX23RW : Friday, August 6 04:15:33| >> :60:834:834:
Jun 1, 2019 at 8pm UK at Estadio Metropolitano
Attendance: 63,272
SpursTottenham Hotspur
FT(HT: 0-1)
Salah (2' pen.), Origi (87')

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's all-English Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, including predictions, teams news and head-to-head records.

English football will descend on Madrid this weekend as Tottenham Hotspur face domestic rivals Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League final at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

Both sides enjoyed unforgettable comeback victories in the semi-finals and will now go head to head for the biggest prize in European club football - a trophy Liverpool have lifted five times before whereas Spurs have never won it.


Lucas Moura celebrates his hat-trick goal as Tottenham Hotspur complete their comeback win against Ajax on May 8, 2019© Reuters

Eleven months after having more players in the semi-finals of the World Cup than any other club, Tottenham Hotspur find themselves gearing up for the biggest match in their history.

To have even made it to this stage is a feat which deserves huge credit; the Londoners did not sign a single player either last summer or in January, have had to contend with delays to their new stadium throughout the campaign and also had that hangover from the progress of their players at the Russia World Cup.

Even the most ardent of Tottenham fans would not have expected their dream run to the final of this competition, and there would be a certain degree of irony if Spurs ended their 11-year trophy drought with the biggest one of all.

Spurs are looking to become the 23rd different side to lift the most coveted piece of silverware, and the first new name on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012, having previously only made it to the semi-finals of this competition on one occasion - way back in 1961-62.

Liverpool certainly have the edge in terms of experience at this stage, then, but it is not entirely uncharted territory for Spurs, who have made four previous European finals including one against another English team, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers on aggregate in the inaugural UEFA Cup final of 1971-72.

The Champions League final is an entirely different level, of course, and Spurs will arrive in Madrid as underdogs, but they have already made a mockery of the odds on a number of occasions during their rollercoaster ride to the final.

Indeed, Spurs looked destined for an early exit from the competition after picking up just one point from their first three group games, only to then beat PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan before securing a draw away to Barcelona to seal their place in the knockout stages.

A hugely impressive 4-0 aggregate victory over Borussia Dortmund set up another all-English quarter-final against Manchester City, which saw twists and turns galore as Spurs progressed on away goals in dramatic fashion.

The semi-final spectacle outshone even that, though, as Spurs found themselves three goals down on aggregate against Ajax with only 35 minutes of the tie remaining. Enter Lucas Moura, who scored a remarkable hat-trick to complete a turnaround that will never be forgotten by Tottenham fans.

The road to Madrid has already been eventful and enjoyable for Spurs, then, and the fact that they are playing such a familiar rival in the final - rather than the feted European names of a Real Madrid or Barcelona - could help them come to terms with the occasion.

Not that their players are likely to be daunted; captain Hugo Lloris led his country to World Cup glory last summer, while both Toby Alderweireld and Fernando Llorente have played in a Champions League final before.

Tottenham have never won in Spain before, though, drawing three and losing three of their last six visits, and their second-leg triumph over Ajax is one of only two wins from their last eight matches across all competitions.

Indeed, Mauricio Pochettino's side have been beaten 19 times this season - their highest tally of defeats in a decade - including four losses already in the Champions League.

Despite that, Pochettino's current crop stand just 90 minutes away from becoming immortals in the club's history and also putting Spurs in an elite group of teams to have won all three major UEFA club trophies, alongside Juventus, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Recent Champions League form: WWWLLW
Recent form (all competitions): WLLLWD


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp watches on ahead of their match against Barcelona on May 1, 2019© Reuters

If Liverpool's run to the 2017-18 Champions League final was unexpected, their progress to this season's showpiece confirms their place firmly back at the top table of European football.

The Reds have now reached successive European Cup finals for the third time in their history, and only Juventus and Valencia have ever lost back-to-back finals in this competition - a club Liverpool will be desperate to avoid joining.

Having fallen to defeat in devastating fashion at the hands of Madrid in last year's final, Jurgen Klopp's side will now hope to put that right in the Spanish capital - and this time they will be going into the game as favourites.

Whereas in 2018 it was their front three who fired them to the brink of glory, this time around Liverpool look like a much more complete team. It is almost impossible to envision Alisson Becker making the same mistakes as Loris Karius did in Kiev, while in Virgil van Dijk the Reds have a player voted by his peers as the best in the Premier League this season.

The defensive improvement is perhaps the biggest reason why Liverpool were able to sustain such an impressive title challenge on the domestic front, incredibly only finishing as runners-up despite amassing a club-record 97 points.

It would be difficult to begrudge the Reds silverware at the end of such an impressive campaign, then, and they should arrive in Madrid full of confidence having finished 26 points above Spurs in the final Premier League table, in addition to beating them twice already this term.

Klopp's side also eliminated tournament favourites Barcelona in the semi-finals, producing one of the most famous nights in Anfield's illustrious history with a 4-0 victory to overturn their 3-0 first-leg defeat at Camp Nou.

Liverpool will hope that such a comeback is not necessary this weekend, although they are no strangers to European Cup final drama having pulled off the 'Miracle of Istanbul' in 2005, when they last got their hands on this trophy.

Success on Saturday would give them a sixth European crown - twice as many as any other English club - and this will be their 21st European final overall too, including three in the last three years.

Klopp has a woeful record of his own in finals to overcome, though, having lost each of his last six, including two in the Champions League - although Saturday's match will be the first of those he has gone into as favourite.

Liverpool's path to such occasions may be more well-trodden than Tottenham's, but that is not to say that it has been straightforward and they too almost suffered a group-stage exit, with only a last-gasp Alisson save against Napoli keeping them in the competition after losing three of their first five games.

The Reds then saw off Bayern Munich and Porto before that night against Barcelona, and it is those knockout performances which may give them the most confidence heading into the Madrid showpiece.

Liverpool also ended the domestic campaign in fine form, winning their last nine Premier League games, and it is worth remembering that the only defeat they suffered in the top flight all season came away from home against eventual champions Man City.

Ultimately, though, they know that defeat on Saturday would see a historic campaign end without silverware, and losing to a domestic rival would be a hugely underwhelming way to finish off such an impressive season.

Recent form: WWLWWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWWWLW

Team News

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane in action during the Premier League clash with Burnley on February 23, 2019© Reuters

Both teams have injury doubts hanging over their main strikers, although both Harry Kane and Roberto Firmino are expected to be fit to feature.

Kane has returned to training having not played since the first leg of the quarter-final due to an ankle injury, and Pochettino must decide whether to throw the England skipper in from the start.

Lucas - the hat-trick hero from the semi-final - could be the unlucky player to miss out should Kane be deemed fit, with Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen unlikely to be dropped for such a big match.

Harry Winks is also pushing to be fit in time for the final after undergoing groin surgery last month, while Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose are expected to have overcome minor fitness issues.

Klopp was positive regarding the potential fitness of Firmino, meaning that Liverpool's semi-final hero Divock Origi is likely to miss out.

Georginio Wijnaldum changed the game when he came off the bench against Barcelona and should have done enough to earn a starting role in midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

Naby Keita is definitely sidelined, but Andrew Robertson has overcome a calf problem and should start in a team which could only see one change from the semi-final second leg.

Sadio Mane is Liverpool's form player with 13 goals in his last 16 games for the club, and should he score again on Saturday then he would become just the eighth player to score in two separate finals in the Champions League era.

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks; Son, Alli, Eriksen; Kane

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Head To Head

Saturday's match will be the 171st meeting between these two sides across all competitions, and Liverpool currently lead the head-to-head record with 79 wins to Tottenham's 48.

However, they have only ever met once in European competition before, with Liverpool winning the 1972-73 UEFA Cup semi-final on away goals before going on to lift the trophy.

The only previous clash between Spurs and Liverpool in a final also went the way of the Reds, who won 3-1 in the 1982 League Cup final at Wembley.

Klopp's side boast the superior recent history too, losing just one of the last 14 meetings dating back to 2013 and winning both Premier League games this season by a 2-1 scoreline.

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We say: Tottenham 1-3 Liverpool

Spurs are capable of beating Liverpool in a one-off match, but the Reds have been so impressive throughout the season and showed no sign of buckling when the pressure was on during the closing stages of the Premier League season. Klopp's side should be better suited to rise to such a grand occasion, then, and we are backing them to add a sixth European Cup to their honours list.

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah gives the thumbs up on May 12, 2019
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CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States29352791
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Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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