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Sunday, 2 June 2019

KLOPP'S DYNASTY HAS BEGUN



They said this was second prize. That it was the Premier League title that Liverpool wanted. But tell that to the supporters now celebrating this sixth European Cup win. Tell that to Jurgen Klopp after he ended his run of six defeats in finals to triumph in Europe's biggest game at the third attempt. Liverpool - Klopp's Liverpool - are the champions of Europe.
This was no classic final, not by any measure. Whether it was the three-week wait for the game, the heat in Madrid or just the tension of the occasion, this was a Champions League final that never ignited. But this is a Liverpool team that had been accused of doing everything but win trophies. On this night, they got the important part right.
Twenty-three seconds is all it took for Liverpool to be awarded a penalty for Moussa Sissoko's handball. Mohamed Salah converted from the spot and Klopp's team went into containment mode. This time they had a top-class goalkeeper to help them out with Alisson named as the man of the match. They also had Divock Origi to double the lead late on.
What a campaign it's been. Yes, they suffered a record number of defeats on their way to lifting the trophy, but that only made the highs more remarkable. The last-minute winner against Paris Saint-Germain. Going to Munich and beating Bayern on their own turf. And, of course, putting four past Barcelona in one of the greatest comebacks in European history
When it came to the final, there was not quite the excellence of those evenings nor was there a repeat of the dramatic win in Istanbul the last time that Liverpool lifted this trophy in 2005. Klopp had anticipated a tight game and so it proved, but his side had the advantage for all but 23 seconds. They are the first team to keep a clean sheet in the final in nine years.
It was a night for Liverpool's defence. Salah got his goal and Sadio Mane looked sharp but the forward line did not function at his maximum with Roberto Firmino looking far from fully fit. The midfield was largely bypassed and that put the onus on Liverpool's defenders, but they were up to the challenge, repelling everything that Tottenham could muster.

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