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Champions League final: 3 key battles that you cannot miss

ANALYST
Feature
313   //    01 Jun 2019, 19:32 IST

Tottenham Hotspur FC vs Liverpool FC- UEFA Champions League final
Tottenham Hotspur FC vs Liverpool FC- UEFA Champions League final

The biggest game of European club football is here as English sides Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool take each other on in the final of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League at the Wanda Metropolitana in Madrid in a few hours.

Spurs, who edged out Dutch challengers Ajax in the most dramatic of circumstances in the semifinal, will be hoping to put up a similar showing against Jurgen Klopp's well-oiled machine.

Liverpool defeated tournament favourites Barcelona in the semifinal to book their spot in Saturday's final. The Reds have been in superb form and the motivation of having missed out on the Premier League trophy on the last day to Manchester City will spur them forward to get the better of Tottenham. Jurgen Klopp's men are in fine nick and will be looking to press high right from the start.

We pick out three key battles which you just cannot miss on Saturday.


#1 Harry Kane vs Virgil Van Dijk

Virgil Van Dijk and Harry Kane
Virgil Van Dijk and Harry Kane

Tottenham stalwart Harry Kane has been training long and hard for the last couple of weeks and is expected to start in the lone striker's position at the top of the attack. He will come head to head with the Premier League PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk, who has been like a rock at the back for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.

Kane, who has been out through injury, will be taking the field for the first time since April 9 and it will be interesting to see how the lack of quality game time has affected his psyche. Van Dijk, however, will be up for a challenge.

#2 Danny Rose vs Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah and Danny Rose
Mohamed Salah and Danny Rose

England left-back Danny Rose had had an indifferent season for Tottenham Hotspur but got into his stride later on and has been highly influential for them these days. He will come face to face with Egyptian 'king' Mohamed Salah in the final and theirs will be a battle that the whole world will sit up to take notice.

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Salah got injured in last year's UEFA Champions League final due to an error by Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and will be keen to make amends for that and take the trophy home for the Reds this time around. Rose will have the difficult task of keeping him quiet.

#3 Kieran Trippier vs Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane and Kieran Trippier
Sadio Mane and Kieran Trippier

Liverpool's Senegalese winger Sadio Mane has come as a surprise package for the Reds this season as he has matched Mohamed Salah step for step in goalscoring duties. In the UEFA Champions League final, he will be up against Tottenham's English right-back Kieran Trippier who will try to do everything in his power to stop him.

Trippier has had a poor season by his high standards this season and was left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad last week. He will be up to prove a point to his detractors. Mane, however, will be a tough nut to crack.

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