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Frustrating Night for Liverpool as They Lose 1-0 to Atletico Madrid

It was not the finest Liverpool performance yesterday as they failed to get a shot on target against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League draw at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. The former Champions League winners must now score at least two to go through at Anfield next month and defend their much-coveted title.

As of recent, Atletico Madrid have not played to their best. We have witnessed surprisingly clumsy football from the Spanish giants this season. However, in last night’s Champions League showdown, what we saw was a typical Atletico, defensive Simeone-led performance. They frustrated Liverpool, disrupted their rhythm, won 1-0 with an early strike and were happy with the result. If Atletico can mount a similar defensive performance in two weeks’ time at Anfield Stadium, then the world champions will be in trouble.

Can The Reds muster up the strength to overcome Atletico’s goalkeeper with such huge pedigree? Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Jan Oblak has kept 26 clean sheets in 49 Champions League fixtures. Liverpool failed to upset the sharp performance from Atletico Madrid which was both tenacious and disciplined. We saw some of the brilliance that Atletico Madrid demonstrated last season, displaying what they do best; defend deep and hit on the break.

Of Liverpool’s front three, Sadio Mane was taken off at half-time. Many suspected that the winger was suffering once again with hamstring issues. However, Jurgen Klopp has since revealed that he was concerned Mane would be targeted and receive a second yellow card. Mo Salah was also taken off on the 72-minute mark, having missed multiple opportunities throughout the game, whilst Jordan Henderson staggered off the pitch due to hamstring injury with just 10 minutes to go.

Despite the loss, Liverpool still remain confident about their Champions League journey. Virgil van Dijk said ‘we knew it would be a proper battle. We have 90 minutes to set it straight’, whilst Andy Robertson commented, ‘we gave them the best possible start. They got the fans behind them. They got under our skin. But we know we can be better.’

Jurgen Klopp praised Liverpool’s ‘exceptional’ press but admitted there were problems in the final third. ‘Their defence in the box was incredible’ but added, ‘we will take it like it is. It is only half time. It is not over yet.’

Liverpool have only really struggled twice in what’s been a fantastic season for the Premier League Champions elect and the Champions League Winners but maybe what’s more concerning for Jurgen Klopp is that on both occasions, it’s come against teams who have mastered the 4-4-2 formation in Napoli and Atletico Madrid. Most of Liverpool’s creativity stems from their full-backs and coming up against a flat midfield four means that oppositions have been able to track and screen a lot of what Liverpool’s full backs do. That then means that the midfield three that Klopp selects is key to how creative Liverpool can be. The midfield trio of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Fabinho offers a lot of legs and cover but not necessarily the creativity and drive to get into the half spaces behind the opposition defence and break the lines.

Atletico Madrid came at Liverpool from the off and The Reds did the worst thing possible; allowed them to get a goal after just 4 minutes. A corner slung over, Liverpool’s defenders were not decisive, didn’t deal with it, it pinged off Fabinho’s foot straight to Saul Niguez who slotted past Alisson. The luck certainly went the way of Atletico Madrid but it was a poor performance from a Liverpool perspective.

Full-backs Sime Vrsaljko and Renan Lodi were tight on Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold while the experienced Stefan Savic and Felipe dominated the middle. Indeed, they could have grabbed a second but failed to do so. Robertson, last defender and facing a potential two on one, managed to get it out for a corner. Then Alvaro Morata had a big chance but couldn’t make it count.

Liverpool had it in the net but Salah was a mile offside in the build-up. Otherwise restricted to pot-shots from 25 yards, Robertson well wide and a Fabinho effort high and mighty over the bar. Liverpool’s set pieces were woeful; not moving the ball around fast enough – very unlike the always offensive-minded Merseysiders.

The second half was more of the same – massive Liverpool possession, but ponderously put together attacks with Atletico Madrid trying to steal a second. Thankfully, they couldn’t because that would have put them in pole position but Liverpool have plenty to do.

Salah spurned the best opening when heading a beautiful Joe Gomez ball wide when he should have scored but then Morata slipped with the goal at his mercy, evening itself out.

Diego Costa, the villainous centre-forward, once of Chelsea, came on for Atletico Madrid, but managed to scuff well wide. Jurgen Klopp got a yellow card for going mad on the touchline as the referee failed to spot a blatant hand ball. Which pretty much said it all.

Yesterday was certainly not Liverpool’s finest hour but hopefully they can learn from last night’s mistakes and make a comeback at Anfield next month and be on the road to becoming Champions League winners once again. The trophy is still all to play for.

Premier League: 10 Talking Points from the 2nd Matchday

Manchester City hit with VAR again, Frank Lampard unsatisfied with Chelsea draw & Wolves equalised with Manchester United.

 

MAURICIO POCHETTINO’S SPURS END MAN CITY’S WINNING STREAK AT HOME

In the 2018/19 Premier League campaign Tottenham Hotspurs lost both their home and away game to Man City, unable to get a single shot past the Citizens ballproof defence. In their first game of the 2019/20 campaign against the current Champions, Spurs got two!

Man City started out in front after an incredible header by Raheem Sterling before Erik Lamela drew the equaliser, curving the ball around Ederson to score a stunning goal. Sergio Aguero slotted another one home for City and then substitute Lucas Moura drew Spurs level again within 16 seconds of coming on the pitch.

Pochettino’s strengthened squad exhibited their determination to equal Man City and Liverpool as genuine contenders for the title, even if VAR did save them from losing the match. New boys, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso made big impacts on the pitch, with Ndombele dominating in midfield against Man City, achieving 100% tackle, dribble and duel success.

Spurs walked away from a 2-2 draw on Saturday 17th August. Pochettino must be delighted with the way his new team are progressing and committing themselves.

FRANK LAMPARD WAS HAPPIER WITH 4-0 LOSS TO MANCHESTER UNITED

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Leicester City at Stamford Bridge but Frank Lampard wasn’t impressed. The former Chelsea midfielder admitted to being happier with Chelsea’s 4-0 loss against Manchester United and that his side need to be tougher and show more personality.

Chelsea had played against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday which went all the way to penalties but Lampard didn’t want tiredness or fatigue to be an excuse. He hopes that in their away game to Norwich City, the team will do more to control the ball and prevent chances for the opposition on the counter-attack.

The Blues boss now has a loss and a draw under his belt as manager and still waits for his win.

NEW ARSENAL TEAM LOOKS A WORLD APART FROM LAST YEAR

Arsenal spent big £££ on their transfers and signings this season and its certainly been worth it as the Gunners are producing some fine performances. New additions Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe have shifted the dynamics in the team.

In the game against Burnley at the Emirates Stadium, dangerous duo Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put in work to put two home for the Gunners but it was Ceballos and Pepe that helped shake things up on the pitch.

Ceballos dominated in midfield, covering more ground than any other player and no doubt has become a quick fan favourite with his pace and technicality. £72M signing Pepe appeared from the bench after half-time but his late start didn’t stop the former Lille star from tearing through Burnley.

Arsenal lost their opening two matches last season and have won their first two this season. The Gunners seem to be on the right track for top-of-the-table success but will face a bigger challenge this weekend when they meet Liverpool and play under the shadow of the Kop.

LIVERPOOL CLIMB TO THE TOP AFTER SOUTHAMPTON WIN

Liverpool sit in the number one spot on the Premier League table after their 2-1 win at St. Mary’s against Southampton and with Manchester City being denied a goal thanks to VAR, the Reds are two points ahead of their Northern rivals.

Jurgen Klopp, with three ex-Southampton players in his midst (Virgil van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane) had to thank them along with the rest of the team for their glorious efforts against the Saints.

Mane’s superb opening goal put the Reds out in front before Roberto Firmino doubled Liverpool’s lead with a low finish past Angus Gunn – he celebrated in true Bobby Firmino style. Either way, Southampton gave Liverpool a good game and should be proud to have only conceded two goals to the Champions of Europe.

Liverpool walked away from the game having had 63.8% possession and 6 shots on target compared to Southampton’s 3. This victory also propelled the Reds on to a club-record win, though it was a near triumph as the Saints almost equalised with Ings attempt in the final minutes.

LEANDRO TROSSARD MAKES A THRILLING PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT

Leandro Trossard started for Brighton & Hove Albion in their game last weekend against West Ham and the Belgian netted twice for Albion, though one was denied by VAR (VAR has been catching out a lot of players this season).

The score remained 0-0 until Javier Hernandez put the Hammers out in front in the 61st minute but after four minutes Trossard equalised with a fine goal from the edge of the box. The Seagulls continued to create chances for them to take the lead, determined to get Graham Potter a win against West Ham but just fell short.

Trossard, named ‘Man of the Match’ should be happy with his performance and is even hoping Eden Hazard will be proud of his goal!

NORWICH CITY V NEWCASTLE – TEEMU PUKKI’S HAT-TRICK

Daniel Farke must be ecstatic with the Canaries performance last weekend, especially in knowing that their lead goal scorer was a free transfer. There’s been no better bargain!

Teemu Pukki must be on every football enthusiast’s dream team by now as he continues to light things up on the pitch. In the Championship last season, he helped propel his team to the title, scoring 29 league goals and he seems to be heading in the same direction in the Premier League.

Pukki left Newcastle’s defence spinning, scoring a hat-trick for his side and earning Farke his first three points for this season. The striker has proved to be a revelation. Though that’s not to stay the rest of Norwich sat back and did nothing, Farke’s men surged forwards, were innovative and strong on the attack.

Next, they take on Europa League winners, Chelsea, which could be a thrilling game with the Blues set on those three points and Norwich looking to extend their winning streak.

SOUTHAMPTON STILL HAD REASON TO CHEER

The hosts were down 0-2 until Liverpool goalkeeper, Adrian, blundered and allowed his attempted clearance to deflect off Danny Ings shin and into the net, edging the Saints a step closer to the Champions of Europe.

Alisson Becker had done the same thing last season against Leicester City, though more fear seems to have sparked around the back-up goalkeeper’s error. It’s said that there have been talks over his reliability and consistency despite his crucial save in the UEFA Super Cup.

Though the Reds were victorious, Southampton still have much to smile about. They suffered a harsh defeat to Burnley but against Liverpool they stepped up, taking the initiative to drive forwards and gave the Reds a good game. The Saints almost equalised four minutes from time when a wonderful ball from Yan Valery fell in Ings path, who just failed to capitalise on the cross. Nevertheless, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side certainly shouldn’t be disappointed.

Let’s home to see more play like this from the Saints!

MAN CITY DÉJÀ VU WITH VAR HANDBALL

Manchester City were denied a late win in their game against Spurs due to VAR. Spurs equalised with their only two shots on target, whereas City had 30 shots on target, an unfortunate result for England’s reigning Premier League champions at Etihad Stadium last weekend.

The dismissed shot came after an infuriated Sergio Aguero was taken off the pitch for Gabriel Jesus. He and Pep Guardiola were seen to be in a heated discussion over his substitution, which was quickly forgotten about when Jesus netted the ball to give City, what they thought was the win. City had even ended their celebration by the time news came back that the goal had been ruled out, ending City’s 15-match winning run.

Pep described it as déjà vu as a similar matter happened between the two teams during the Champions League quarter-finals. In injury time, Sterling put one away for City in the last minute igniting a euphoric celebration at Etihad Stadium, only for it to be chalked off by VAR deciding Aguero, who crossed the ball was offside.

MANCHESTER UNITED UNDER FIRE AFTER 1-1 DRAW WITH WOLVES

Manchester United are under fire with a ton of criticism for their game against Wolves yesterday. With Man Utd and Wolves level at 1-1 and twenty minutes to go it didn’t look there was much chance for either side to get ahead until Conor Coady tripped Paul Pogba in the penalty area.

Outrage sparked over the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left it down to Pogba and Marcus Rashford to decide between them who should take the penalty. A great number of people have stated that it is Ole’s duty as the manager to designate that responsibility and in not doing so has left a taste of bad management in the mouths of some.

But Pogba has scored 7 of 11 penalties in the Premier League, whereas Rashford has scored 1 of 1 and only just last week. However, many seem adamant that the two deciding between themselves is an embarrassing look for Man Utd by implying that there is a lack of leadership.

But if Pogba hadn’t missed the shot, would people have as much to say? What are your thoughts?

SHEFFIELD UNITED DEFEAT CRYSTAL PALACE

Hosts, Sheffield United impressed manager Chris Wilder with their “full-blooded and committed” performance against Crystal Palace. Wilder’s men gave a strong performance and deserved to secure the win, which was their first Premier League win in over 12 years.

Crystal Palace did have a higher possession rate but failed to cause any real damage and thanks to John Lundstram, the Blades got off to the perfect start! There was an early scare when Christian Benteke fired a shot into the palms of Dean Henderson but things picked up and started to look promising for the hosts there after.

Baldock especially was causing a lot of stir on the pitch as the Eagles struggled to get past him down the right. England International manager Gareth Southgate was also in attendance for the game, perhaps on the lookout for some talent as Wilder’s squad is largely made up of British players.

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Liverpool’s Winning Streak

Allez Liverpool!

Adding another to their drawing board as both the Community Shield Match at Wembley and the Super Cup ended in a draw for The Reds. It looks as if the team are practising on their penalties though as both matches ended in penalty shootouts.

Super Cup

We won it SIX times, we won it SIX times, In Istanbul, we won it SIX times

Jurgen Klopp on top, as he wins his second European trophy in 2 months with Liverpool after a Turkish Delight.

Liverpool celebrate as they win another Super Cup in their second home, Istanbul. After 90 minutes The Reds where left with a 2-2 draw but later went on to winning the penalty shootout 5-4. The decider was made after Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham’s shot was saved by Liverpool’s reserve Goalkeeper Adrian. The Spaniard gave a good show after Alisson was out due to an injury in the game against Norwich City, with Adrian literally ‘saving’ Liverpool.

Unlucky Chelsea put up a strong fight and both teams played well throughout the 90 minutes. But the strongest boot was Mo Salah who took the last penalty, edging his team into the winning zone, following his left-footed goal blessing.

In just 3 minutes of coming onto the pitch, Brazilian, Roberto Firmino set Sadio Mane up for an equaliser. In the 95th minute Firmino did it again, assisting Mane and putting Liverpool out in front of The Blues. They are two key players for Liverpool, and when you throw Salah into the mix, they do look like potential Premier League champions, right?

Mane Commented on his teams play, ‘I think this is how we play at Liverpool. We play for each other and we always enjoy playing for each other.’ Mane we one hundred percent agree that team work makes the dream work!

Premier League

Jürgen Klopp’s men had an excellent start to their Premier League season, with their first game at home against Norwich City. The game ended in a 4-1 win at Anfield. At 7 minutes Norwich’s Grand Hanley began Liverpool’s Happy Hour with an own goal, later followed by Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Divock Origi’s superb goals. All happening in the first half of play.

Istanbul Thursday night, Premier League Saturday afternoon. Liverpool have a tight and busy schedule with their second fixture in the EPL being pencilled in for Saturday at 3pm. The team will fly back on Friday, just in time to get back into the game and fighting for another win at St Mary’s this weekend. Signs of fatigue and the aftermath of Super Cup celebrations won’t help the team, but a winner’s mindset should help. Who can afford to lose or even draw when you’re up against Manchester City for the top spot another year running.

Liverpool fans will be hoping that Jordan Henderson and his team keep the winning momentum going throughout the Prem season and have another try at winning the English League.

If you’re interested in watching some top-class Premier League football at Anfield head over to our Liverpool Hospitality Packages. Be there to witness the Champions of Europe in action.

Liverpool F.C.: Transfer Talk & Rumours

A new deal for Divock Origi, Harvey Elliott to join The Reds and Phillipe Coutinho to return to Liverpool?

Liverpool F.C.: Transfer Talk & Rumours

Harvey Elliott: Up-and-coming star midfielder joins The Reds

The 16-year-old, who made his Premier League debut as a substitute against the Wolverhampton Wanderers, was the youngest ever player to compete in top-flight football and is now reported to have signed for Liverpool. This came after news that the youngster rejected a scholarship with Fulham, which understandably, caught the attention of a number of football giants. Aside from Liverpool, it seems Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and RB Leipzig are also interested in the budding star. But Elliott, who has quickly become regarded as one of the country’s brightest talents is said to have chosen The Reds as his next club.

Several reports infer that he cannot sign a professional contract due to his age and will not receive a professional wage until he turns 17, which is in April next year, so for the time being he will continue on a scholarship wage. Elliott is the second sought-after teen that Liverpool have signed for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, as they have already secured a deal for the gifted Dutch defender, Sepp van den Berg.

Van den Berg, who is only 17-years-old also rejected offers from other European football clubs, deciding on Liverpool as his next venture. He and Elliott will have to work through the academy’s squads before making an appearance in the first team but there is a strong held belief, that they will consolidate the Liverpool team.

The race to re-sign Phillipe Coutinho

Just 18 months after releasing the Brazil international, rumours have it that Jurgen Klopp is considering re-signing the talented midfielder.

Coutinho was sold to Barcelona for £142m and the Spanish club were convinced he would replace club legend Andres Iniesta but his time at Barca has only seen him drop down the pecking order. Despite winning the La Liga in both seasons at Spain, it seems that Coutinho doesn’t get the same kind of love or respect that he received during his time with Liverpool, at Barca.

After a tough time with the Spanish team, reports suggest he is set on leaving but news of a possible return to Liverpool has sparked a conflict of interests. Some argue that given Liverpool have had better fortune without the star, they don’t need him and that his return could overshadow and hinder the potential of other top-rated players such as Naby Keita. However, others believe his return to Liverpool will only enhance the team and that Coutinho’s skills and creative prowess as a footballer shouldn’t be overlooked. There is no denying that he is a playmaker and if Liverpool are to cement themselves as Premier League and Champions League titlists in 2019/20, Klopp should definitely think long and hard about passing on this one.

Divock Origi: Happy to stay for the long-term?

Klopp made it a priority to convince Origi to re-commit and continue playing for Liverpool. Thanks to his exploits in the last campaign, Origi has secured legendary status amongst Red fans and has become a prolific figure for the team. So, it comes as no surprise that Klopp was eager to extend and renew his contract.

Origi only has a year left on his existing contract which means he’d be leaving on a free transfer next year and this has attracted interest from a number of other Premier League clubs but Liverpool have resisted any offers.

After releasing Daniel Sturridge, it became clear that Klopp wanted to secure an attacking forward, especially as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will be eased back into play following their involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations and Copa America. Origi is the kind of player you’d want to turn to in times of need and hopes are high for his continued progress and success with The Reds.

The Champions League-hero may have also been motivated to stay following a post-match chat he had with club legend Sir Kenny Dalglish, as reports suggest the 24-year-old is leaning towards staying with The Reds and is happy at Liverpool.

Head over to our Anfield News page for all the latest updates on the The Reds and don’t forget our Liverpool hospitality page for your chance to watch Liverpool play at Anfield stadium.

Fernando Torres: The Glory Days

Liverpool legend, Fernando Torres, made a surprise announcement last Friday that he would be retiring from football after 18 years in the game.

The 35-year-old who was most recently playing for Japanese club, Sagan Tosu, held a press conference in Tokyo and revealed to journalists that he felt he was on the verge of no longer being able to physically or mentally meet his own personal standards and expectations. During the conference he stated, “I do not want to get to the stage where I go on the pitch and do not enjoy football.”

Despite being involved with a number of other clubs throughout his career, El Nino undeniably experienced the greatest days of his footballing profession with Liverpool. Having joined The Reds in 2007, Torres became a notorious goal scorer for the club, scoring a total of 24 league goals in one season. This made Torres the first Liverpool player since Robbie Fowler to achieve such a feat.

During his first year at the club, he managed to score his first hat trick against Reading, resulting in a 4-2 victory. This was then followed by a number of other hat tricks; one in February 2008 against Middleburgh and again in March 2008 against West Ham. Jack Balmer was the only other Liverpool player to score a hat trick in consecutive home games.

Torres initially played for Atletico Madrid at the mere age of 15 and remained there for 6 years before leaving for Liverpool. Although he had ties to Atleti, with it being the team adored by his Grandfather, Torres had a huge impact on The Reds from the get go, consistently performing match after match.  During 2009, The Times listed him as one of the top 50 greatest Liverpool players, despite only being part of the club for one and a half years. Rankings such as this goes to evidence the immediate effect that he had on the club.

Even with the great success he experienced with Liverpool, Torres eventually transferred to Chelsea in 2011, signing a £50 million deal. This deal made him one of the world’s most expensive footballers and crushed the hearts of not only Liverpool fans but also his fellow team members. The news shocked Liverpool fans and many viewed Torres as a traitor – especially with The Blues being The Reds’ ultimate rivals!

Many will argue that Torres was simply not the same player when he joined The Blues. There were no moments of magic, no camaraderie, no club breaking records. A perfect example being his total goal figures at each club. He collectively scored 81 goals with Liverpool as opposed to just 45 with The Blues. No doubt, there will be some committed Kopites out there who never quite forgave him for shifting over to the opposition.

Despite his controversial decision, El Nino is clearly a respected and valued figure within football. Both Liverpool and Chelsea have publicly stated that they wish him well in his retirement and posted montages of some of his greatest moments on social media.

One of the most endearing aspects to El Nino’s time at Liverpool was perhaps the great relationship he had with his team mates. During the conference, Torres mentioned how it “left him cold” when he first discovered that Stephen Gerrard would be retiring. He labelled Gerrard as the best player he has ever played with and credited him for some of his success on the pitch. There was always a mutual, bromance-like respect between Torres and Gerrard. Who can forget the touching moment when Gerrard handed him the match ball after his hat trick against West Ham, earning the team a 4-0 victory. This moment truly depicted the admiration that he had during his time at Liverpool. Arguably, that same magic was never present during his other endeavours and I’m sure many fans are of the opinion that he should never have left.

Regardless of the multiple transfers and offers throughout his glistening career, Torres made it clear during his announcement that he does not regret any of his professional choices. Some have speculated that perhaps the decision to retire came about due to his less successful stints at other clubs, namely his most recent one. Having joined the club in July 2018, he has not even managed a full year there. Sagan Tosu, although not a household name like his other clubs, Torres stated that the team has great potential and that they have a lot of great players. He added that he experienced a culture shock upon his arrival and that there is still “tremendous margin for improvement.  He then finally confirmed that the decision to retire was purely guided by feelings rather than how he has performed at Sagan Tosu.

When asked what would next be on the cards, he mentioned that he firstly wants to take some time out to rest and be with his family. With the millions he has made over the years, he understandably wants to enjoy the fruits of his labour. He then stated that eventually coaching or management could be a possibility in the future. He acknowledged his lack of experience and that he would need to obtain the relevant qualifications. Ultimately, his desire is to remain within football in some capacity as he declared that he still has “more to offer”.

He also expressed that he was keen to reconnect with Atleti, declaring that it is his family, his home and his life. Due to the years of history that he has with the team, he mentioned that they “would connect in some way in the future but not immediately”.

Although thousands of football fans will undoubtedly miss not seeing him on the field, we can all appreciate the years of fantastic football that El Nino has given to us and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.

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Two of the best title races in recent years – Liverpool F.C. raise the bar

A blockbuster semi-final and Champions League victory is not enough for Liverpool, who will chase the Premier League title in 2019/20 with a new kind of determination.

Liverpool have proven to be football giants after last season’s performance. In both the 2018/19 Premier League and Champions League, The Reds defied the odds and demonstrated that they are a major force in football.

As the Premier League title edged a little further away, the Champions League ebbed in. On May 7th, Liverpool produced one of the most astounding comebacks in football history, beating Barcelona 4-0 to reach the Champions League finals after a 3-0 deficit in their first leg. As the final whistle sounded, cheers from home fans thundered through Anfield whilst a bewildered Barca-side wasted no time to head towards their nearest exit. That night, the atmosphere at Anfield was special – it reminded all about the greatness of football, with its ability to shock and conjure up unforeseeable storylines as Liverpool achieved what was thought to be impossible.

It’s hard to determine which individual stole the show as there were heroes in red shirts no matter where you looked, though hats have to be taken off to Georginio Wijnaldum, Divock Origi and Alisson Becker. Liverpool were a true depiction of what a team looks like and how a team should act that night. So how did they do it? Without Mohamed Salah, without Roberto Firmino – how would they do it?

It started with Origi, who after just seven minutes of play, tapped in Marc-André ter Stegen’s parry off Jordan Henderson’s blow. In the opening ten minutes, Barcelona had just managed 38% possession of the ball but that did not mean they wouldn’t threaten. Barca responded on the attack and efforts were made by Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho to do serious damage but Alisson denied them any opportunities. It came very close when Jordi Alba attempted to remedy his mistake and sent a shot hurling towards a Liverpool goal but Alisson was there to meet the ball once more.

Things looked like they were going to take a turn for the worse when Henderson went down. After a medical check-up he was good to continue play but then like a game of dominos, Robertson fell and didn’t return to the pitch after half-time, due to a kick to the calf that came from Luis Suarez. Klopp sent Wijnaldum on as his substitute and dropped James Milner to left-back and to some unknown miracle, that turned out to be the best thing the German could have done.

The collapse of Barcelona was shocking for all – home and away fans, even Suarez was in disbelief as he stared vacantly into the crowds. Within the first 11 minutes, Wijnaldum had scored two goals –two minutes after the other – drawing Liverpool equal to their rivals. The first goal came off a low-cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Wijnaldum stroked the ball right under Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s torso. Two minutes later, he emerged unmarked to header in Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross, sending Anfield into a wild frenzy.

The Reds took the lead by another assist from Alexander-Arnold, who deceived a distracted Barca-side and pretended to walk off for Shaqiri to take the corner before dashing back and sending the ball in Origi’s path. Origi responded in a rapid manner and swept it home with eleven minutes to go. By now Anfield Stadium was rocking, trembling and shaking with cheers and roars of the Liverpool club anthem.

The Champions League finals lacked all the excitement of the game-changing semis that had seen Liverpool and Tottenham reach Madrid but nevertheless, it was a final full of suspense and euphoria.

Liverpool were handed their first opportunity and it was star striker Mohamed Salah, who put The Reds out in front. After just two minutes of play, Moussa Sissoko was punished for a questionable handball that came off Sadio Mane and Salah took the penalty. And Salah didn’t miss, firing the ball firmly down the middle. Tottenham tried to create pace and began to have more possession of the ball but didn’t create a shot on target until the 73rd minute, which fell right into the hands of Alisson.

The Lilywhites were starting to look more dangerous in the second-half and no doubt Liverpool were grateful to Alisson, for producing key saves. He first stopped Heung-Min Son’s strike and then hat-trick hero, Lucas Moura, who was given 30 minutes by Mauricio Pochettino to produce a miracle but just couldn’t get past the Brazilian keeper. Tottenham were growing in pace but under the sweltering Spanish heat just couldn’t do enough and Origi soon found the back of Spurs net three minute before time. Liverpool had won their 6th Champions League and Klopp, his first European triumph.

It was said that the Champions League was their “second prize” and that the Reds were set on achieving the Premier League title, so fans and football enthusiasts should expect the Premier League 2019/20 campaign to be a blockbuster show. Last season, Liverpool set a number of records, one of which being the most points for a Premier League second-finisher and it can be presumed that they’ll be outdoing themselves this time round.

In the 2018/19 campaign the Champions of Europe missed out on the Premier League title by a single point to rivals and reining champs Man City. It’s now been 30-years since Liverpool have been crowned Champions of England and they are hungry for that title. Who do you think will be victorious next season?

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