A second-minute penalty converted by Mohammed Salah and a late second-half strike by substitute Dobuk Origi was enough to secure victory for Liverpool in this years champions league final match against Tottenham in Spain.
The penalty call may have been harsh, but Sissoko was punished for making the mistake of having his hand raised above his head (he appeared to be instructing a teammate to cover the space behind him) as Reds striker Sadio Mane lined up his cross.
The early shock seemed to stun both sets of fans. It also served to take the edge off what had been a party atmosphere. A typical, end-to-end Premier League contest this wasn’t. With the stakes sky-high and temperatures approaching 90 degrees in the Spanish capital, chances were few and far between for the remainder of the first half.
Still, even with Spurs chasing the game, Liverpool carved out the better opportunities. Had it not been for rock-solid Tottenham backstop Hugo Lloris, who was forced to make two good saves, the underdogs would’ve had a steeper hill to climb. The Reds fired off eight shots in the first half. Mauricio Pochettino’s side managed just two, neither of them on-target.
It didn’t help Spurs’ cause that Pochettino opted not to start Brazilian winger Lucas Moura, who single-footedly vaulted Tottenham into the final with a hat trick against Ajax in the semis. It was even stranger that the Argentine manager didn’t bring Moura on from the start of the second half.
In Moura’s place was Harry Kane, who was playing for the first time since early April after injuring his ankle in the first leg against City. Kane’s lack of match-fitness was evident, as the England captain was rendered mostly invisible by center back Virgil van Dijk. Moura eventually entered in the 66th minute, but he couldn’t reproduce his semifinal magic, sending his lone shot straight at Reds keeper Alisson Becker.
James Milner left Spurs hanging around when he squandered a chance that would’ve sealed the win. And Tottenham came close a few times, with Son Heung-min the main protagonist. The South Korean even got an open look at Alisson’s goal, only to send a blistering effort directly at the sure-handed Brazilian.
Once again, the football gods just didn’t seem to be on Tottenham’s side. If that realization hadn’t set in earlier, it certainly did when super sub Divock Origi finally scored the Reds’ second goal, ending any possibility of yet another miraculous comeback:
It was a just result in the end, and nothing short of what Liverpool and Klopp — who won his first trophy since leaving Borussia Dortmund for Anfield four years ago — deserved after a season that, in just about other year, would’ve been good enough to win both domestic and European honours. It’s hard not to feel a little bad for Spurs, though, and wonder how this match would’ve played out if not for that pivotal early call against them that, as their fans suspected, proved too difficult to overcome.
With additional report from Yahoo Sports