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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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Liverpool veteran set to stay at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp values the player’s presence

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Liverpool FC transfer news: Simon Mignolet might remain at Anfield next season

Paul Joyce of the Times (h/t Liverpool Echo) claims that veteran goalkeeper Simon Mignolet looks set to remain at Anfield.

The Belgian joined Liverpool from Sunderland in 2013 and is one of the most experienced players in the current team.

Simon Mignolet

The 31-year-old was the back-up to Alisson last season, and the Belgian was expected to leave the Reds (h/t Liverpool Echo).

However, Jurgen Klopp values the Belgian’s attitude and presence in the team, and the goalkeeper is also valued highly in the dressing room, according to the report.

The report claims that Liverpool would only let Mignolet leave if they get a quality offer like Lucas Leiva did from Lazio a couple of years ago.

Mignolet’s stay would not be a bad move

The Belgian was always sharing positive messages as the Reds battled for top honours last season.

Alisson
Alisson

The 31-year-old only played in the domestic cup competitions but could get more games next season as we play in several tournaments.

Keeping hold of Mignolet would be great given his quality and experience, and he could help some of our younger keepers too.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news

Mignolet has been a fantastic professional despite seeing Alisson take over as the No.1.

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“I know that the hard work is only starting” – Young forward excited as Liverpool set to complete signing on July 9

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Latest Liverpool transfer news: Liverpool to complete Conor Bradley signing on 9 July

The Mirror reports that Liverpool will sign 16-year-old attacker Conor Bradley on 9 July – his 16th birthday.

The Dungannon United youngster will be signed on a two-year scholarship by Liverpool, and the report adds that the Reds are his boyhood team.

The Northern Ireland youngster has played for the Reds in youth tournaments earlier, and the report claims that the 15-year-old impressed many members at Liverpool.

Conor Bradley
Conor Bradley in action

Speaking to the Ulster Herald (h/t Mirror), Bradley was pleased at earning the opportunity to sign for Liverpool, but knew there was a lot of work to be done:

“But I know that the hard work is only starting. I’ll be part of the U18 squad and the good thing is I know the coaches and I know most of the boys in the team.”

The youngster added that he would be staying in familiar surroundings and was not worried about settling in. Bradley added that this was a dream for him and could not wait to get started.

Liverpool’s youth team doing well

The Reds have a lot of quality youngsters and Bradley has to work hard if he wants to feature regularly for the U18s.

Rafa Camacho

Liverpool won the FA Youth Cup last season and saw starlets such as Rafa Camacho and Ki-Jana Hoever pick up first-team minutes under Jurgen Klopp.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Liverpool FC transfer news

Bobby Duncan and Paul Glatzel are two strikers who were in great form last season, and it will be interesting to see how things develop with Bradley.

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Barcelona starlet packs his bag ahead of a move to England amidst Liverpool interest

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Liverpool FC transfer news: Liverpool interested in Barcelona starlet Alejandro Balde

Liverpool are interested in Barcelona youngster Alejandro Balde, according to Sport (h/t Liverpool Echo).

The 16-year-old is primarily a left-back and is capable of playing as a winger too. The Spanish youngster recently moved up to the U-17 side of the Catalan giants.

The report claims that Chelsea are also interested in the 16-year-old, and Balde has packed his bags ahead of a move to England.

Liverpool are favourites to land the Spaniard ahead of Chelsea, given the Blues’ transfer ban (h/t Liverpool Echo).

The report adds that Barcelona are trying to keep hold of their star, however, the Spaniard seems set to leave the La Liga giants.

The Reds can also do with youngsters joining the academy and we have seen a couple of them break into the first-team under Jurgen Klopp.

Trent alexander Arnold Joe Gomez Liverpool
Joe Gomez (L) and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez are England internationals now, while the likes of Rhian Brewster and Ki-Jana Hoever are expected to be the next big stars for the Reds.

Liverpool have to decide on the futures of two youngsters too

Harry Wilson also came up through the system at Liverpool and was one of the stars in the Championship last season.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news

Marko Grujic has earned a lot of praise after his spell at Hertha Berlin, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for them.

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