Liverpool won its sixth UCL crown on Saturday, using an early penalty kick by Mohamed Salah and a late goal by the substitute Divock Origi to beat Tottenham, 2-0, in a matchup of Premier League rivals in Madrid.
Liverpool’s title came one year after it lost the final to Real Madrid, and soothed the disappointment of that bitter defeat.
Its fans were celebrating almost from the opening whistle: Less than 30 seconds later, Liverpool had won a penalty — on a handball in the area by Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko. The call, while harsh, was correct, and Mohamed Salah stepped up to bury the penalty kick beyond Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The game was a tepid affair from there, but Origi started the celebrations in earnest when he collected the ball after a failed attack by Liverpool and, turning in the area, fired a shot around Lloris and inside the far post.
“It’s unbelievable,” Origi said. “Winning the UCL is so hard.
“It’s my first trophy and we’re going to celebrate all together.”
That set the Liverpool fans off into a lusty version of “Allez Allez Allez,” the converted Italian disco hit that has been their soundtrack for a year. It was a welcome release for these fans, some of whom had watched their team fall to Real Madrid in last season’s final in Kiev.
When the final whistle blew this time, and the players and coaching staff poured onto the field, the supporters shifted to another standard, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the anthem they have sung since the club’s glory days in the 1970s and ’80s.
Liverpool last won the UCL in 2005, adding it to European Cups claimed in 1977, ’78, ’81 and ’84.
Tottenham was playing in the final for the first time and fought gamely after it was stunned by the early penalty. The Korean striker Son Heung-min had some of his team’s most dangerous chances. Harry Kane, the star English striker, returned to the Spurs lineup for the first time since April 9, but the layoff and the steamy Madrid night seemed to render him ineffective.
FULL TIME: Liverpool are champions again!
Pandemonium on the field, and joy after last season’s disappointment.
90’ +2 It’s just a formality now
Liverpool fans sing “Allez Allez Allez,” the Italian disco hit they modified for last season’s run to the final. They lost that day to Real Madrid, but this time the singing will continue long into the night here.
87’ ORIGI SCORES! That’ll do it! Liverpool, 2-0!
Everyone got lulled to sleep again and Origi banged in the clincher.
He’s got the knack for late drama, and this time he collected a ball after an attack had seemed to falter, controlled it and fired a left-footed shot around Lloris and inside the left post.
Liverpool 2, Tottenham 0. It’s all over but the singing now.
85’ SAVE by Alisson on Ericksen’s shot
He dives left to parry away Ericksen’s curler, a terrific save for a terrific shot.
The corner looks dangerous … until Liverpool’s back line pulls up and leaves Son and others well offside. Danger averted.
83’ VAR check after a challenge on the edge of the area!
Rose came for a ball and fell theatrically after Milner challenged for the ball. But the referee has not been swayed, and neither has the replay official. The foul was outside the area.
Ericksen will take the free kick, just outside the corner on the left …..
82’ Final sub for Spurs: Fernando Llorente for Dele Alli
Sort of a like for like there, in that both are attackers. Except that Dele is better. But Llorente is at least fresh, and in this heat, Tottenham could use that for the final 10 minutes. Nothing to lose now.
80’ Alisson comes up big — twice
That’s why they spent all that money to buy the big Brazilian goalkeeper from Roma: He stopped Son, who just keeps getting free for shots, and then a second attempt by Lucas Moura.
Good idea, spending £65 million on a keeper. Van Dijk gets Man of the Match, but Alisson, surely, has a claim on it. Kept Spurs at bay single-handedly in the last 20 minutes. Liverpool bad, but will not care. Really feel for Spurs, though. Shouldn't cloud what Poch has done.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) June 1, 2019
76’ Spurs pressing, van Dijk clearing
First the Dutch defender chases down Son and breaks up a shot at the last moment, then he clears a cross by Kane that could have been trouble. Liverpool spent a ton of money on van Dijk (and Alisson, the goalkeeper behind him), and these final 20 minutes can make it all worth it.
74’ A second Tottenham sub: Dier for Sissoko
The little-used (at least lately) Dier comes on for Sissoko, who provided the pivotal moment of this match with his handball before he’d even broken a sweat in the first half. The night will be a disappointment for him, that one (monumental) error overshadowing a solid job well done.
71’ Trippier creates some danger
Tottenham pings one cross, then another, across the full width of the Liverpool penalty area, but each sails through cleanly — and untouched. Trippier gets a third, but Liverpool clears that one and breaks out.
Only a late-arriving Tottenham foot at the other end thwarts the counterattack.
69’ Milner goes soooo close!
A probing, dangerous run by Mané ends with the ball set on a tee for Milner, and he rips it … just wide of Lloris’s near post. You could hear the “ooooooohs” from here.
66’ Pochettino’s turns to make a move: Lucas Moura for Winks
The hero of Amsterdam comes on, and they’ll need the same kind of late magic tonight. Winks did his job. Tottenham just doesn’t need that job done right now.
Lucas Moura offers the prospect of goals, or at least enough of a threat of them that Ericksen and Son and Kane and Dele Alli may get a little more room to work.
62’ Another sub for Liverpool: Milner for Wijnaldum
That’s Klopp opting for leadership and experience over the potential for Wijnaldum to do something flashy. He needs more of the former now, not the latter.
58’ Our first sub is Origi for Firmino
That may have been planned — Firmino has been out with a groin injury — but it also could be a reflection of the fact that Firmino has been a ghost today.
Origi, a young Belgian striker, has a knack for opportunistic goals. And late goals. But he’s also an imposing physical presence in ways that the smaller Sané and Salah are not.
Oh, and James Milner is getting instructions, so expect him to come on next.
55’ Danny Rose is writhing in the corner
He was clearly fouled by Alexander-Arnold as he cut back in on the left wing, but there’s no call. So he stays down to make the referee come over and check on him. “No call? O.K., then let’s see you do some running, buddy.”
54’ Much better from Robertson on a cross
That’s better. Liverpool strokes the ball around the outside as Spurs collapses into its area, and Robertson’s teasing cross is nearly met by Mané. But Lloris smothers the trouble, and Spurs break out looking for Kane almost immediately.
53’ Fabinho shoots from 25 yards, and we all wonder: Why?
That’s not really what Klopp wants to see.
49’ An appeal by Vertonghen for handball
Vertonghen fires a shot after a free kick but has two problems with his appeal for handball: 1. It hit the Liverpool defender in the backside, and 2. Tottenham was offside on the initial free kick.
46’ No changes for either team at halftime
No subs for either side, but remember: It’s a hot night, so expect some sooner rather than later.
What to expect in the second half
If there is a note of optimism to be struck after that cautious, sloppy, largely forgettable 45 minutes, it is that, for most of this season, the Champions League’s drama has come late. It likes to build to its climaxes. Spurs will have to pour forward; Liverpool will be asked more questions; there will be space on the counter. It could yet turn into a fitting final for the season that it concludes.
Whether it is may rest on whether this game follows the pattern of most meetings between these teams: At some point, Mauricio Pochettino will change his approach; the challenge for Jürgen Klopp is to see it and adapt to it, as quickly as possible. If not — as happened at Anfield only a couple of months ago — then Spurs may seize control.
The complicating factor is that, well, Spurs may think it already is in control. That first 25 seconds aside, Spurs has looked by far the more accomplished in possession. True, thus far it has only created a couple of half-glimpses of goal: Christian Eriksen had the best of them, right at the end of the first half. But Pochettino will have seen enough to think that, with a little more precision, his approach could yet bear fruit. If not, expect him to go more direct, perhaps through the introduction of Lucas Moura, who has the pace to trouble Liverpool in myriad ways.
As for Liverpool: It is worth noting that both of these teams are subject to stereotypes that are a little outdated. Spurs does not press quite as hard as it did a couple of years ago; Pochettino has refined his approach a little more. Liverpool has a reputation for adventure, for swash and buckle, but those performances have been much rarer this year. For the most part, it has built its season on defensive resilience, on game management. This will be a test of how well it has learned those lessons.
Halftime: Liverpool 1, Tottenham 0
For a match that started with a shocking penalty after only 30 seconds, there weren’t a ton of chances. Harry Kane, back in the Spurs team for the first time in 53 days, has had little service and even less impact on the game. (The same could be said for Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, who is actually playing in this game if you’ve forgotten about him.)
Liverpool grabbed that early lead, but it has been a little sloppy at times. A lead is a lead, though, and better to have one than not.
The good news for Spurs is that Kane doesn’t need a lot of chances. He’s the kind of player who can get only one and bury it.
44’ Now it’s Spurs getting forward, but Dele misfires
He tried to lead Son in on Alisson, but his touch was too heavy, and the chance vanished. One has to think both teams just want to get a drink and break and a rethink now.
And remember this paragraph from Rory’s “Why Tottenham will win” piece today:
Spurs and Liverpool’s meetings tend to share a pattern. At some point, Pochettino will tweak something, do something unexpected, and as a rule, Liverpool will struggle to react.
Halftime definitely will be a good time for another one of those tweaks.
42’ Another Liverpool corner, another test for Lloris
Liverpool is leaning on Spurs a bit more now. Tottenham clears the first but only gives up another.
Salah wastes it by hitting the first man.
38’ A chance for Robertson out of nothing
Joel Matip springs Robertson down the left with a quick-thinking pass and Robertson, driving forward and seeing no options, rockets a shot from outside the area. Lloris tips it over, though, and Spurs clear the corner.
But now Vertonghen is down; he injured his left elbow in the jostling inside there. Doesn’t look terribly hurt. Maybe just a ding on the funny bone?
26’ Half-chances and a few corners as the game steadies
Both teams have calmed down, but Tottenham, to its credit, has looked a bit dangerous at times through Son’s runs and Eriksen’s work in tight spaces. One can only hope a first-minute penalty doesn’t decide this.
18’ A pitch invader stops the match
In an age of security and terror fears, it’s really stunning that this continues to happen at major sporting events. This time the fan got all the way into the center circle.
12’ The heat may be slowing everyone down
The penalty got the match off to a rollicking start and had the Liverpool fans singing at full voice, but everyone seems to have dialed things back now, perhaps aware that a frantic pace is probably not wise on this sweltering night.
Mo Salah cool as you like after Sissoko got called for handball just 23 SECONDS in.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 1, 2019
6’ Tottenham in regrouping mode now
The game could not have started worse for Pochettino and Spurs: All that work, all that planning, to give up a penalty after 30 seconds. They’ll be looking for some position now, to get their footing and get back into this.
Liverpool make the perfect start!
Mohamed Salah from the spot in Madrid! 🔴
The Reds lead 1-0 inside two minutes! pic.twitter.com/D1ZdSrzXoq
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 1, 2019
2’ GOAL! 1-0 to Liverpool in Madrid! Salah..Salah Salah..Salah..Salah..Salah..Salah
Mohamed Salah buries the penalty past Lloris, who had no chance.
The penalty was a handball on Sissoko, who inexplicably had his right arm out on a Mané cross. What a disastrous start for Spurs.
Rory Smith: I wish I had some strong opinion on whether that was a penalty or not, but to be honest the rules now seem to vary so much between the Premier League and UEFA competitions, and the definitions are so sketchy and subjective, I’m honestly not sure. I can understand why Spurs are baffled, I can understand why Damir Skomina, the referee, gave it. It would be unsatisfactory, though, if that proved decisive.
1’ PENALTY!! What a start!
The referee, Damir Skovina of Slovenia, whistles a penalty against Tottenham after less than 30 seconds!!!
First, a moment of remembrance
The teams are on the field and are holding a moment of remembrance for the Spain and Arsenal player Jose Antonio Reyes, who died in a car accident today. As is customary, it is applause, not silence.
A full house on a sweltering day
Rory checks in from the Wanda Metropolitano:
The scale of the UCL final seems to grow every year: Strange as it is to say, it isn’t that long since this game was not always necessarily a sellout. Now it takes over an entire city: Madrid has been awash with Liverpool and Spurs fans since Wednesday; roads have been closed and hotels requisitioned and sun-bleached plazas staked out.
In fact, it’s not just the fans of the two clubs. One of the best things about the UCL final is the vast assortment of fans who travel just to be here: You see Argentine and Brazilian club jerseys — there must be dozens of Flamengo fans here — and always, always a contingent of fans, clad in emerald green, representing Mexico. Then there are the vanquished and the disappointed: the fans of those clubs who thought they might make it and never did. Normally that means Bayern Munich, but this year there are a number of Ajax fans, here to sample the occasion, and possibly to sell their tickets.
It feels as if Liverpool is, perhaps, better represented — both in the stadium and in the city as a whole — but the difference in noise is likely to be marginal. One bank of the Estadio Metropolitano has been given over entirely to Tottenham, another to Liverpool. Neither team will be short of support.
Spurs fans would have been cheered to see Harry Kane (and, less headline-grabbing but almost as significant, Harry Winks) in Mauricio Pochettino’s team. That was the only really difficult selection decision either manager had to make: whether Kane, who has not played for almost two months, could be drafted straight into action. Clearly, the idea of leaving him out was unimaginable for Pochettino. It is unfortunate that Lucas Moura, the player whose goals against Ajax brought Spurs here, misses out, but this feels like Tottenham’s strongest team.
Now that we have an answer to the first Kane dilemma, the question shifts to how long he can last, particularly in the sweltering heat. It has been blistering in Madrid today, and it will be hot, and close, on the field. That will be a challenge for everyone, not only Kane.
Liverpool Starting Lineup
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 1, 2019
Liverpool’s lineup (4-3-3) is out: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané
Substitutes: Mignolet, Lovren, Milner, Gomez, Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Brewster, Origi, Kelleher.
Analysis: No surprises here. Firmino had been dealing with a groin problem but Klopp declared him fit and ready to go this week.
Tottenham Starting Lineup
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) June 1, 2019
Tottenham’s lineup (4-2-3-1) is out: Hugo Lloris; Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko; Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min; Harry Kane
Substitutes: Gazzaniga, Vorm, Sanchez, Foyth, Davies, Aurier, Dier, Walker-Peters, Wanyama, Lucas, Lamela, Llorente
Analysis: Kane has not played since April 9, and Pochettino was coy about his inclusion right up until Friday’s pre-match news conference, when he said, “We have one training session and then we are ready to decide.” But no one really expected Kane to miss this one.