A combination of file pictures created on May 30,
A combination of file pictures created on May 30,

Snoozefest final as Liverpool suck life from Spurs

No tears of pain this time for Mohamed Salah, who needed only 108 seconds to banish his Champions League final heartbreak.

Salah scored one of the fastest ever goals in a Champions League final and Divock Origi struck late as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid and won the trophy for the sixth time.

Less than two minutes had been played when Salah smashed in his spot-kick after Moussa Sissoko had been penalised for handball in the area.

A disappointing final never truly got going after that, but Liverpool will not care, as they saw Alisson Becker make several confident saves in the latter stages before substitute Origi drilled in the killer second in the 87th minute.

Liverpool win the Champions League Final
Liverpool win the Champions League Final

That led to an explosion of joy from their supporters inside the Metropolitano Stadium as Jurgen Klopp's side made up for their defeat in last year's final against Real Madrid and the deflation of missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City.

Salah has his redemption after injury ruined his night against Real in Kiev, and the revered Klopp has his first trophy as Liverpool manager, three and a half years on from his arrival at the club. The German ends a run of six straight defeats in finals.

More importantly, Liverpool have their sixth European Cup, further cementing their status as one of football's most storied clubs.

They now have more than Barcelona or Bayern Munich, and twice as many as their great rivals Manchester United.

Perhaps the occasion was just too much for Tottenham in their first ever appearance in the Champions League final. Beating Liverpool was always going to be a big ask, and they have now lost all three meetings with these opponents this season, winning just one of their last 15 encounters.

Mauricio Pochettino's decision to start Harry Kane after nearly two months out did not pay off, and he is still looking for his first trophy after five years in charge.

Nevertheless, if they can keep him, and with the impetus from the move to their new stadium, maybe they will be 

They couldn't believe it when the final whistle was blown
They couldn't believe it when the final whistle was blown

back on such a stage before long.

That they were here at all was remarkable, Lucas Moura's sensational hat-trick that dumped out Ajax in the semi-finals capping a memorable Champions League season all round.

The stage was set for this match, only the second all-English final, but after all the hype and the stories of fans paying thousands for tickets for a game they simply could not miss, this was a strangely subdued affair between the two goals.

- Kane gamble backfires -

Perhaps the stakes were simply too high, or perhaps the three-week break since the end of the Premier League season was to blame.

Most likely the suffocating Madrid heat impacted on the players and prevented this from being like a typical Premier League clash.

It is the sixth time Liverpool have been crowned champions of Europe
It is the sixth time Liverpool have been crowned champions of Europe

However, it might also have been a result of the opening goal coming so early, badly affecting Tottenham's confidence.

Pochettino had opted to start Kane after an ankle injury, meaning Lucas was on the bench. Kane hardly touched the ball.

Eight members of Liverpool's team also started last season's final, when Salah went off injured and in tears in the first half.

This time Liverpool were the ones celebrating after a whirlwind start, Slovenian referee Damir Skomina pointing to the spot inside 25 seconds when Sissoko blocked Sadio Mane's cross with his arm.

Salah confidently blasted home the penalty for the second-fastest goal ever scored in the final of the modern Champions League.

The only faster effort was Paolo Maldini's effort for AC Milan against Liverpool in Istanbul in 2005, when the Anfield side famously won on penalties.

Tottenham failed to produce their best
Tottenham failed to produce their best

Spurs just did not get going, and there was none of the frenzied pressing and attacking associated with Klopp's side, although Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson both came close in the first half.

Pochettino's team did improve after the break, but Virgil van Dijk was immense for Liverpool and there was no way past Alisson, with the Brazilian saving well from Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen late on.

It was left to Origi, one of the heroes of the stunning semi-final win over Barcelona, to wrap it up with three minutes left as he swept home inside the box to end any doubt.

Don't let the images of joy and celebration deceive you. This will not go down as a memorable Champions league final rather one of the dullest.

Liverpool's two goals aside, the only other memorable moment (for some) was a scantily dressed pitch invader midway through the first half.

Honestly besides that and perhaps the final five minutes. This was a dud game.

 

Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players
Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players

 

Jurgen Klopp revelled in the biggest night of his managerial career after winning Liverpool's sixth Champions League title, ending a run of six straight losses in finals.

Klopp had lost his two previous Champions League finals, against Bayern Munich as Borussia Dortmund boss in 2013 and last year against Real Madrid, the 2016 Europa League final and three domestic cup finals in Germany and England.

"I'm so happy for the boys, I'm so happy for my family, they suffer every year when we go to a final ... they deserve it more than anybody," Klopp said to BT Sport.

"It's maybe the best night of my life.

"They came out, they did this, my goalkeeper comes out and makes things look easy. It's maybe the best night of my life - professional wise.

"It took a while obviously, I tried a lot of times. This little mark helps me a lot, now we carry on.

"To the owners, thank you, you never put the pressure on."

As  for celebrating?

"Usually 20 minutes after the game I'm already half pissed, and here I didn't even get a water!"

News Corp Australia

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