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Champions League 2018-19 Final: 3 reasons Tottenham Hotspur lost the trophy to Liverpool

ANALYST
Feature
02 Jun 2019, 15:28 IST

Champions of Europe
Champions of Europe

Twelve months later, since that dark and gloomy day for everyone associated with Liverpool when two Loris Karius howlers gifted Real Madrid their thirteenth Champions League title, the club assuaged all the pain, the suffering of that unforgettable ordeal by winning their sixth UEFA Champions League trophy in Madrid.

The game served poetic justice for Mo Salah whose shoulder injury had seen him leave the pitch in tears in last season’s final but it was his goal from the penalty spot that gave his side the decisive lead this time around. Divock Origi replacing Roberto Firmino in the second half sealed their historic win with yet another vital goal to add to his collection for this season.

Truth be told there wasn’t much to separate the two sides with both teams looking nervous, edgy and cautious, not wantin to take any unnecessary risks given the magnitude of such an occasion. This meant that the fans were treated to a dull, monotonous and sordid affair.

However, Spurs unsettled Liverpool in the second half as Pochettino ringed the changes that resulted into more space for the likes of Lucas Moura, Son,Origi and Eriksen to exploit, thus opening the game up, unlike the torrid first half.

Spurs, however, fell short of the finish line and now let us look at the three reasons why Pochettino’s men were unable to pass the last hurdle:


#1 Unlucky Moura makes way for Harry Kane:

Harry Kane struggles on his return
Harry Kane struggles on his return

Ever since Spurs booked a spot in the final of the Champions League, there was only one debate that dominated newspapers and discussions all over the world.

"Will Harry Kane’s return from injury see him thrust into the line-up straightaway?" rather than "Will Harry Kane be fit in time for the final?", as everyone is aware of his superhuman speedy recoveries from injuries and his miraculous early returns.

Then the question beckoned, "If Kane did indeed return to the starting line-up, who would Pochettino drop from his side?"

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The unlucky candidate was none other than the Brazilian who, in the first place, had scored a hat-trick and a last-gasp winner against Ajax to dump the Dutch side out of the competition. However, such important contributions still couldn’t guarantee Lucas Moura of a first-team spot as he was harshly made the sacrificial lamb to accommodate the star striker.

The gamble though failed to pay dividends as Kane wasn’t as his sharpest as most would expect after a return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk dealt comfortably with his physical presence and did not give him a sniff all game. Kane is a different beast when he is fully fit and can drop effectively in the number 10 position and link up with his teammates. However, he looked leggy and failed to provide any sort of mobility.

Spurs could have benefited from Lucas Moura’s dribbling, uncanny runs, unpredictability, and spontaneity. He did eventually come on as the first change taking the place of the impressive Harry Winks, but Van Dijk and co stood tall to the task and made sure that they kept their counterparts at arm’s length.

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