Who will conquer in the Madrid Champions League Final?
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It's hard to recall a set of Champions League finalists who have had such a dramatic route to the grand stage. Both Liverpool and Tottenhams' semi-finals were filled with twists, comebacks and pure bombast. They were two-legged sagas that shot adrenaline into the bodies of those watching.
They were startling feats to watch, ones which required an unbelievable amount of will power. Perhaps the sheer determination shown by the two sides in their respective semi-finals came from the
Liverpool started their Champions League campaign with a bang, fighting off a second half come back from Paris Saint Germain to snatch a late, but deserved, win against the French club. Away ties, however, proved to be problematic for the Reds as they fell to defeats in all their matches away from Anfield, including a 2-0 loss against Red Star Belgrade.
Eventually, it came down to their final group stage game against Napoli. A 1-0 victory saw the Reds go through in miraculous fashion, courtesy of a superb late
Tottenham had an equally dramatic group stage battle. After gaining just a single point from their first three matches, Spurs needed to match the result of Inter Milan in their final group game in order to go through.
That final group game, though, saw Spurs go up against Barcelona. An early Ousmane Dembele goal saw Tottenham on the brink of elimination before Lucas Moura popped up late on - as he would do months later in the semi-final - to rescue the North London side.
It’s possible that the belief both sides gained from these precarious scenarios contributed to their dramatic victories later in the competition.
The round of 16 and
Tottenham also made light work of the last 16, pushing past Borussia Dortmund after an inspired Jan Vertonghen performance at left wing back gave them a 3-0 victory at Wembley. A Harry Kane goal in Germany saw them win tie 4-0 on aggregate.
Then came the
A week later in Manchester, and it looked like Spurs' Champions League hopes had been shattered. The BT
VAR ruled in
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First, though, Liverpool
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Image Credit: Dudek1337 via Wikimedia CommonsOther players have stepped up, though. Moussa Sissoko has seen a dramatic turnaround in his Tottenham career as a box-to-box midfielder, Son has shone in Kane’s absence and Moura has provided some telling quality at vital times. Even Fernando Llorente has adequately chipped in, his physical presence providing a useful plan B for Mauricio Pochettino.
So what if Kane is fit for the final? Surely he would be expected to come straight back into the side, given his talismanic stature. But what about the quality Son has provided throughout the season, or the vital goals Moura has scored? And then, is Kane even match fit?
Despite all their struggles, Tottenham
Even with their own striking fitness dilemma in Roberto Firmino, they would appear
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