UEFA Champions League final preview: Tottenham Hotspur & Liverpool will feel victory is their destiny

Saturday will be the first UEFA Champions League Final since 2008 to see two English teams face off against one another as Liverpool, seasoned veterans in the competition, take on Tottenham Hotspur, a team playing in their first ever European Cup final.

Both teams completed historic comebacks in their semi-final second legs to set up this mouth-watering clash. Both clubs will feel destiny is on their side as they head to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atlético de Madrid.

Reigning International Champions Cup champions Tottenham failed to win any of their first three group games before triumphing in two of their final three ties to progress ahead of Serie A side Inter. In the last 16 they knocked out Borussia Dortmund before meeting eventual Premier League champions Manchester City in the quarter-finals.

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Heung-min Son netted the winner in the first leg in the first ever European match to be played in Tottenham’s new stadium.

The return tie at the Etihad was a Champions League classic, including last-minute drama as Raheem Sterling’s goal, which would have sent Pep Guardiola’s men into the semi-final, was ruled out by VAR. The game ended 4-4 on aggregate with Mauricio Pochettino’s side progressing on away goals.  

Donny van de Beek scored the winner in the first leg of the semi-final, giving Ajax a vital away goal to take to the Johan Cruyff Arena. In the return leg, the hosts got off to a flyer with Matthijs de Ligt scoring after five minutes before Hakim Ziyech doubled the Amsterdam side's lead with 35 minutes on the clock.

However, a superb second-half hat-trick from Lucas Moura sent Spurs through on away goals. His third was almost the last kick of the game, sparking pandemonium among the travelling Tottenham fans.  

Liverpool’s path to the final was every bit as dramatic.

Jürgen Klopp’s men kicked off their campaign with a late win over Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield but defeats to Red Star Belgrade, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain meant a win at home to the Serie A side on the final matchday was required to progress.

Alisson's late save thwarted Arkadiusz Milik and with it, Liverpool made it out of their group courtesy of Mohamed Salah’s incredible solo effort.

A tough tie against FC Bayern was next on the agenda. It was all square at Anfield and remained that way in Bavaria until Sadio Mané scored a remarkable goal. The Bundesliga champions equalised before Liverpool struck twice late on to wrap up a 3-1 win.

Liverpool confidently dispatched with FC Porto, just as they did last season, to set up a clash with LaLiga champions FC Barcelona.

It was an evenly contested match at the Camp Nou but Lionel Messi produced a masterclass towards the end of the tie, netting an outrageous free-kick to set the hosts on their way to a 3-0 lead.

The Reds needed a miracle at Anfield to progress.

A noisy home crowd spurred their team on and Klopp’s team hit four unanswered goals to set up the final showdown with Spurs, a team who caused them all kinds of problems when they met in the Premier League.

Both games in the English top flight finished 2-1 to the Premier League runners-up, with a late Toby Alderwereld own-goal deciding the game at Anfield in March. Prior to that match-winning moment, Spurs had chances to win the tie showing just how open it was between the two sides.

It also shows how close these games are. Liverpool average 2.92 goals per game while Spurs manage 2.79. Yet, when they faced off in the league, those numbers were never matched.

The 2019 Champions League final could be one of the closest ever. Both teams will argue fate is on their side. Getting this far in such dramatic circumstances has proved as much.

There wasn’t much to pick between them during the two matches this season and both coaches seem to be able to combat one another, often nullifying their usual tactics.

It is one of the most intriguing match-ups of recent memory.

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