Champions League Final 2018/19
This will be the second season in a row that Liverpool play in the Champions League final and one difference from last season is the overwhelming sense of confidence that they will go on to lift the trophy. There was excitement at reaching the final against Madrid last season, but this time the feeling is that this team is just too good to end the season without a trophy.
Liverpool go into the final as the favourites among most people who are making a CL final prediction and this is fully deserved after a memorable league season that saw the Reds finish with 97 points – not to mention the epic comeback against Barcelona in the semi-final second leg. The tournament has been full of highpoints for us, starting with the last-16 second leg against Bayern Munich. The Germans survived an Anfield onslaught in the first leg to secure a lucky 0-0 draw, but the Reds got the reward their performance in the tie deserved thanks to two goals from Sadio Mane and a header from Virgil van Dijk.
This was a great night, but most fans knew it wasn’t a great Bayern side and the really memorable performances came in the quarter and semi-finals. Against a decent Porto side in the quarters Liverpool were simply too strong. After a 2-0 win at Anfield in the first leg, Reds fans travelled to Portugal feeling pretty sure that a semi-final place was as good as in the bag. In the past, the Reds have sometimes disappointed in situations like this, but the 2018/19 Jurgen Klopp Liverpool team is a different kettle of fish altogether. The new mean Reds defence dealt with early pressure from the home side where they would likely have crumbled last year, before goals from Mane and Salah killed the tie. The Mane strike proved the virtues of VAR as it was initially ruled offside before the goal-line tech proved it wasn’t. Jurgen himself felt that this was a statement of how far his team had come.
That set up a semi-final against Barcelona and the first leg was surely our worst result and performance of a brilliant season, as we went down 0-3 in Spain – the goals from ex-Red Luis Suarez helping rub salt in the wounds. Despite this, there was a quiet belief among the fans and a feeling that this Liverpool side never quite knows when hope is lost. With the fans making Anfield into a raging inferno of noise on the night, Liverpool started the second leg with a seventh-minute goal by Divock Origi, before destroying Barcelona with two quick goals from Wijnaldum at the start of the second half for one of the most glorious nights in our fabled history. That set up a final against Tottenham, who the Reds have beaten twice in the league already this season. They will make things difficult, with both league matches having been close, but if we can put out a team close to full strength Liverpool will have too much quality in all areas to lose again.
We aren’t writing Tottenham off, but the Reds deserve to be favourites to win Champions League number six, as a gap of 26 points in the final league standings doesn’t lie.