Liverpool 2 Spurs 0
Salah (pen) 2 Origi 87
Poch started Harry Kane, who hadn’t played since April 9th.
Kane hadn’t played for 53 days!
In my preview, said I didn’t think he would start Kane.
We watched the Champions League Final at a friend’s house, arriving early for dinner, then going downstairs to discover that Kane was starting with Son up wide, Dele behind, Lucas Moura on the bench.
I was gobsmacked.
The game began and Sadio Mane kicked the ball against Sissoko after 28 seconds and the ref gave a penalty. I didn’t think it was a pen and when I saw the replay the ball hit Siss on the pec and the armpit and I was confident that VAR would overrule the ref.
But VAR enforced UEFA’s interpretation and gave the penalty and Salah blasted it past down the middle, just missing the diving body of Hugo Lloris.
To go a goal down in two minutes, after a soft penalty, was a big blow. But at the same time, it gave Spurs 88 minutes to find an equaliser.
They played OK at times but could not find the cutting edge that got them to Madrid.
Then they conceded a late goal when supersub Origi fired in a very hard low shot.
After the early breakthrough Liverpool showed superior game-management by keeping a solid shape, with Hendo-Fabinho-Wijnaldo very compact and conservative.
Just as the Spurs players knew that Kane could not be in full warrior–mode, so their opponents knew that Firmino was not himself and could not press or feed his co-strikers Mane and Salah as he normally would.
Overall, I thought the game was very close but the outcome was a Liverpool victory, which was what I’d expected and predicted and had two bets on.
I prefer Liverpool’s style of play to Man City’s but gegenpressing could not work as well on a hot night in Madrid, the highest capital city in Europe at 2,188 feet. The conditions affected both teams much more than the TV audience realised.
This success, which was Jurgen Klopp’s first Cup Final victory after six defeats, demonstrated how astute and adventurous Liverpool’s recruitment has been.
Second half, Spurs created some slick moves but Virgil van Dijk showed sensational poise with a tackle on Son inside the box, and Allison made good saves from Son twice and Eriksen.
I thought Dele had a decent game but knew everyone would say he was crap.
Why did Pochettino start Harry Kane when he knew his captain wasn’t match-sharp?
If they had lost without Kane, would fans have said it was the manager’s fault?
I think Pochettino wants to continue a successful project where he is in complete charge of the football side.
By starting Kane, he wanted to protect his relationship with his captain. There are few footballers who are natural leaders these days but Kane is one of them.
Also: Spurs have a working-class fanbase and Kane, a kid from Walthamstow, is the brand.
Alexander-Arnold Matip van Dijk Robertson
Henderson Fabinho Wijnaldum
Salah Firmino Mane
Trippier Alderweireld Vertonghen Rose
Sissoko Winks Alli Eriksen