The second all-English Champions League final is swiftly approaching and football fans will be eagerly anticipating the showpiece between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, and the victors will be the first Premier League side to win Europe’s elite competition since 2012.
The game promises to contain plenty of thrills and spills, and if the semi-finals are anything to go by, both sides will be doing everything within their power to ensure they return home with the trophy. The Tottenham v Liverpool odds are available right now and we’ve identified three key clashes ahead of the final on June 1.
Virgil van Dijk v Harry Kane
The most intriguing contest is likely to be fought between Virgil van Dijk and Harry Kane, and the latter will need to be 100% match fit to have any chance of getting the better of van Dijk. The PFA Player of the Year has been irresistible all season for Liverpool, and has still yet to be dribbled past by an opposition player this year.
Kane is Spurs’ captain, talisman and main source of goals. His ankle injury, suffered against Manchester City in the first-leg of the quarter-final, has seen him absent in recent weeks, but it appears he’ll be set to start when the two sides square off in Madrid. It literally is a case of whoever comes out on top in this battle, will most likely be celebrating at full-time.
Sadio Mane v Toby Alderweireld
Generally speaking, Mohamed Salah takes the majority of the plaudits when discussing Liverpool’s attacking trio, but Sadio Mane will arguably by Tottenham’s biggest concern. The Senegalese forward seems to get a little bit better each times he plays, and many consider Mane to be in the world class category.
He finished joint top-goal scorer in the Premier League and has four goals in the Champions League this season, and Spurs’ Toby Alderweireld will have to be at his absolute best to stop an on-song Mane. The Belgian centre-half has had another stellar season in North London and will be absolutely key to stopping Mane.
Fabinho v Christian Eriksen
After a rather indifferent start to his career at Anfield, Fabinho has grown into his midfield role and will be a vital cog in nullifying Tottenham’s attacking threat. Said danger is likely to spark from Christian Eriksen, who will be looking to pull the strings from midfield and create plenty of chances for Kane and Heung-min Son.
The Danish international hasn’t been playing to his usual high standards in the last few weeks but it would be naïve to neglect the natural talent he possesses, and Eriksen is one of the best in the world at dead ball situations. From Fabinho’s point of view, he’ll need to anchor the defence and thwart Eriksen from having any influence over the game. If he can do this, it’s likely Liverpool will be able to take the game to Tottenham and dictate their own style of play.
Other key duals
Mohammed Salah v Jan Vertonghen/Davison Sanchez – The two-time Golden Boot winner will be hoping to make it second-time lucky in the Champions League final, after last year’s shoulder injury forced him off in the first-half. Either Jan Vertonghen or Davinson Sanchez will be tasked with stopping the Egyptian forward, and whoever is selected, will certainly have their work cut out.
Alisson v Hugo Lloris – Granted, the two goalkeepers won’t specifically go up against each other but after Loris Karius’ two howlers in last year’s final, it’ll be imperative for Alisson to demonstrate why the Reds forked out so much money on him. Lloris has certainly endured a mistake or two of his own this season, but the World Cup winner will be just as vital for Spurs’ chances of success.