Champions League final – Tottenham v Liverpool talking points
Liverpool won a sixth European Cup title and ended Jurgen Klopp’s trophy drought when they beat Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid.
Mohamed Salah’s penalty, awarded after only 22 seconds, and a late Divock Origi strike settled a game that failed to live up to the billing.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at the main talking points from the Wanda Metropolitano.
Klopp’s seventh heaven
Jurgen Klopp laughed off his terrible losing record in finals before the match, branding himself the “world record-holder in winning semi-finals” but finally, at the seventh time of asking, he has been victorious. It is his first trophy since moving to England in 2015 and a first Champions League title. He has also written himself into Anfield folklore by delivering a sixth European Cup or Champions League, taking them a clear third in the all-time list behind Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Salah’s final redemption
In the Champions League final 12 months ago Mohamed Salah left the Kiev pitch in tears after only half an hour when Sergio Ramos inflicted a shoulder injury. The Egyptian, who had a sensational season, was Liverpool’s main threat and their evening turned south quickly after his exit. Salah has been nowhere near as good this season, but he was able to finish on a high as he struck an early goal. There was never any doubt about the result of his second-minute penalty as he smashed it down the middle, scoring the second fastest Champions League final goal in history. He did not do too much else, but this was a sweet moment for him.
Spurs’ final regret
This was Tottenham’s first Champions League final, but a magnificent, and dramatic, campaign ended in disappointment and they will regret how things panned out in the Spanish capital. Going behind early in Europe this season has been a common occurrence as Salah’s early spot-kick was the eighth time they have conceded in the opening 15 minutes, but they responded well. They had enough chances in the second half to draw level before Origi’s late second, the best of which fell to Lucas Moura. He shot straight at Alisson, though as it was not Spurs’ night.
The Kane gamble
Mauricio Pochettino said he had a “painful” decision to make in whether to start with the fit-again Harry Kane or Amsterdam hero Lucas Moura and he went with his talisman and top scorer. It was a gamble given Kane, who is a notorious slow starter after injuries, has not played since April and one that ultimately did not pay off. He was a virtual passenger in the first half but did at least improve slightly after the break. However, Virgil Van Dijk totally bossed the England captain, who had to wait until injury time to get a shot on goal.
Penalty or no penalty?
The blessing of Origi’s late second goal at least meant that the final was not decided by a penalty that was hotly-contested. There is a big debate as to whether referee Damir Skomina was right to point to the spot after Sadio Mane’s cross hit Moussa Sissoko on the chest and rolled onto his outstretched arm. The UEFA directive is that if the body is not in the natural position when the ball strikes the arm then it should be penalised, but that is not a decision we are used to seeing in English football. With VAR coming into the Premier League next season, it is a debate that is sure to rumble on.