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Liverpool tread through uncharted waters with ‘favourites’ tag as Champions League final looms – Opinion

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Liverpool opinion: Reds tread into uncharted waters as Champions League final beckons

Liverpool’s whirlwind season comes to an end on 1 June when they play Tottenham for the Champions League crown.

Not many would have expected these two to fight it out for the title, especially after the first-legs of their semi-finals.

Spurs lost 1-0 at home to Ajax while Liverpool were unlucky to return from the Nou Camp with a 3-0 deficit.

Liverpool

Liverpool celebrate after defeating Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final

However, both teams had remarkable comebacks to speak about. Liverpool demolished Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield while Spurs came back from 2-0 down to beat Ajax 3-3 on aggregate.

This is the biggest European game for Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino has the chance of writing his name into Spurs history, however, the Reds are no strangers to reaching finals under Jurgen Klopp.

This would be our fourth final in four years as we look to finally win a trophy under the German, but this final has a different feel for the Reds.

Liverpool have to deal with the pressure of being favourites

Liverpool lost the Europa League final to Sevilla, the League Cup final to Manchester City and the Champions League final to Real Madrid, which came last season.

In all those three games the Reds were the underdogs. We might have taken the lead against Sevilla in 2016 but the Spaniards were defending champions and were looking at a third straight Europa League title.

Our second half capitulation helped them win the crown 3-1 and we lost to Manchester City on penalties in the League Cup too.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool

Sadio Mane in action against Manchester City

Last season’s Champions League loss was a bitter pill to swallow, especially after Sergio Ramos injured Mohamed Salah. However, that team seemed to have overachieved by reaching the final.

Real were the better side on paper with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro starting.

Their bench featured Gareth Bale (the match winner on that evening) and Marco Asensio while we ended up calling Adam Lallana and Emre Can in the final.

Loris Karius of Liverpool

This time, against Tottenham, we are the favourites and Sadio Mane also spoke about that tag ahead of the final:

“The final is a one-off game, it will be different from the league,” the Senegal forward told TF1 (h/t Express).

“You cannot hide, I think we are favourites.”

The Senegal star warned us about a final never being easy to play, however, we have the better team when compared to Spurs.

Our wins in the league this might have been just one-goal margins but the gulf in the table shows how far ahead we are from Spurs.

Of course, the Reds have to be wary of Tottenham as they have proved their ability by defeating Manchester City, something we were unable to do in the league.

Yet, the Reds have a stalwart in defence, Virgil van Dijk, a goalkeeper that makes fewer errors than Hugo Lloris and possibly the best attacking trio in England.

Liverpool players against Watford

Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold

Coming into any game with the favourites tag adds more pressure but Liverpool have dealt with that all season long.

The win over Napoli in the Champions League group stage, the late wins over Everton, Newcastle, Fulham and Southampton, defeating Bayern at the Allianz Arena and doing a number on Barcelona, all were achieved when the team was under pressure.

Klopp took Borussia Dortmund to a Champions League final against Munich, and the underdogs lost to the Bavarians.

However, this team is mentally strong and has this ‘never give up’ attitude to call upon when things don’t go their way.

Liverpool haven’t been favourites for a final in a long time and it is a refreshing feeling ahead of our clash on 1 June.

Read more Liverpool news, click here – Latest Liverpool news

Klopp has worked  his magic throughout the season, and hopefully, we can end the campaign with a trophy.

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European outfit demand €25m for 21-year-old Liverpool target

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Sander Berge

Genk want €25m for Liverpool target Sander Berge

Sander Berge has been recently linked with Liverpool after featuring for Genk in the Champions League (h/t Express).

The 21-year-old Norwegian faced us twice in the Champions League and has also attracted the interest of other clubs.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato) claims that Napoli have made the 21-year-old their priority signing in the coming months.

Sander Berge
Sander Berge battles Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the ball (Image credit: Getty)

Napoli are facing a bit of a crisis in recent weeks with the players also facing off against club president Aurelio de Laurentiis.

Berge came through the ranks at Vaalerenga and moved to Genk in 2017. The Belgians have slapped a €25million price-tag on his head and the report claims Napoli will make a move in January (h/t Calciomercato).

However, due to Napoli’s asking price, Napoli might shelf their move till the summer (h/t Calciomercato).

Berge is also a regular for the Norway national team, and it will be interesting to see if he is on the move soon.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was seen speaking to the player after the Champions League clash at Anfield too (h/t Express).

Big decisions lie for Berge

Berge has to take the right decision regarding his future with first-team football a requirement too.

Napoli have done well in recent seasons despite making managerial changes in the past.

However, Liverpool have also handed chances to young players under Klopp, and we could do with more talents coming in the future.

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Liverpool have a couple of midfielders over 30 in Adam Lallana and James Milner and need to plan for a future without them.

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Boost for Liverpool as this defender’s knee injury might not be too serious

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Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez’s England injury isn’t considered serious after knee scan

Joe Gomez’s time with England during this international break was cut short after injuring his knee in an accidental collision.

The Liverpool defender has seen a lot happen over the past week at the Three Lions camp. He was involved in a bust-up with Raheem Sterling which saw a cut appear below his right eye.

Sterling accepted his mistake in the bust-up but there was more to come. The Liverpool defender came off the bench against Montenegro and was booed by some sections of the England fan.

Joe Gomez
Joe Gomez in action against Montenegro (Image credit: Getty)

Gomez has had a tough time with Liverpool too as Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are ahead of him in the pecking order.

He did come on for the final few minutes against Manchester City, and we need all our players to be fit for the rest of the season.

Dominic King of the Daily Mail allayed some fears about the extent of Gomez’s injury.

The journalist tweeted about Gareth Southgate’s update regarding the 22-year-old and how it wasn’t serious:

Gomez’s injury troubles

The youngster has had his issues with injuries in the past too. Last season, the centre-back suffered a fracture in the win over Burnley and was out for almost six months.

His initial recovery didn’t go well and the youngster had to go under the knife. Liverpool had several problems in the centre-back spot then and fielded Fabinho in some games.

Joel Matip
Joel Matip has been excellent alongside Virgil van Dijk over the past 18 months (Image credit: Getty)

This season has also been tough on the defenders with Joel Matip suffering a problem too. The Cameroon centre-back hasn’t played for us since the 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

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That leaves us with just Virgil van Dijk and Lovren as the fit centre-backs, and hopefully, Gomez is not out for long.

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PSG want to pair this 19-year-old Liverpool target with Kylian Mbappe

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Jadon Sancho

Paris Saint-Germain enter the race for Liverpool target Jadon Sancho

Paris Saint-Germain have also entered the race for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, according to the Express (h/t Daily Mail).

The report claims that Neymar could be on his way out of the French capital. PSG want to be at their best and are planning to pair Kylian Mbappe with Sancho (h/t Daily Mail).

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho is a regular for the England national team (Image credit: Getty)

Liverpool have been linked with Sancho recently (h/t Liverpool Echo) and the player would not be available on the cheap.

Big price on Sancho’s head

The 19-year-old has taken the Bundesliga by storm since joining from Manchester City.

Sancho is now a regular for the England national team and has a couple of goals for the Three Lions in this campaign too.

The English winger can play on either side and has four goals and five assists to his name for Dortmund.

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City (Image credit: Getty)

However, Dortmund are open to an exit in the next summer and could sell him for over £100m (h/t Daily Mail).

Sancho has also been singled out for criticism in decent weeks by Dortmund. The winger was also been fined and dropped for the clash against Borussia Monchengladbach.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the English talent in the summer. Liverpool could do with more attacking options to provide competition and cover for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

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However, spending over £100m certainly is a big ask even if we have spent huge on Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk recently.

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