LOTHAR MATTHAUS says Liverpool’s improvements in key areas could decide the game.
SunSport’s European football expert knows Spurs will offer plenty in Madrid but thinks Jurgen Klopp will have learnt lessons from last year’s Real Madrid defeat.
KING OF THE KLOPP
Liverpool showed their quality last year but boss Klopp realised they needed to make changes to improve.
He didn’t just build a team, he built HIS team.
A team with his mentality — very powerful and emotional — one that never gives up.
Of course, we all know why they lost the final in Kiev last year but Jurgen changed players in two key positions and now they are back again.
Liverpool can rely on Alisson in a way they never could with Loris Karius.
He’s a key reason they are in the final. Just think back to the Napoli game, the save he made in the 93rd minute.
In front of him he has Virgil van Dijk, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best in the world.
He is powerful in the air and in the tackle, strong and fast.
Just him being there gives the rest of his team confidence.
KANE IN SPAIN
If Harry Kane is fit to play, he has to. It is not a gamble.
Kane’s character is so strong that boss Mauricio Pochettino does not need to be worried about him. He’s always ready.
Yes, he is a good player of course, but Kane is much more than that. He is the face of Spurs, their top scorer, the leader of the side.
He will relish the one against ones, even against Van Dijk.
And when he holds the ball up that allows his team-mates to run in behind him.
It is not a risk to play him, even if he can only manage 60 minutes, then that’s fine.
Christian Eriksen could be the key man on the pitch.
It seems he wants to go to Real Madrid this summer, so he has to show he is a player who can make the difference in the biggest games.
He is the one who can make that killer pass — plus he is happy to drop off into space, turn and play. He can also pull into the pocket and find players at the back post.
MANE, MANE, MANE
Last year was all about Mo Salah — but this has been Sadio Mane’s season.
He gives them a big threat on the left and links up with Andy Robertson so well.
Kieran Trippier is vulnerable for Spurs and Mane will look to target that.
Everyone saw it against Ajax — when it mattered they had that inner strength.
It’s not as if Spurs are a poor team who got lucky. They are one of the best teams in the Premier League.
That experience of winning against the odds will give them an extra motivation.
They will walk out in Madrid feeling they can do it.
Latest Champions League news
I said in August that Liverpool would win the Champions League. I’m not going to be like the London weather and change now.
I’m not sure Spurs will be able to cope with Liverpool’s emotion and pressing.
Kane always scores — but that won’t be enough.
LIVERPOOL 2 TOTTENHAM 1