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



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 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.

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

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Liverpool plotting move to sign this Arsenal backroom staff member



Gary O'Driscoll

Liverpool target Arsenal’s head of medical services – Gary O’Driscoll

Liverpool have identified Arsenal’s Gary O’Driscoll as the leading candidate to replace the outgoing Andrew Massey. (h/t Daily Mail)

Massey who is the current head of medical services at Liverpool will leave the club on March 1st to take up a position at FIFA.

Having been at the club for almost seven years, Massey has played a key role in the Reds being one of the fittest teams in the league.

O’Driscoll is widely recognized as being one of the best in his field and Arsenal are determined to keep him at the Emirates.

Gary O'Driscoll

Driscoll has been at Arsenal since 2009 and is one of the old guards who has survived various culls.

He has held lead positions with the British Lions and Ireland rugby team. He should now welcome the chance to work for the European and World Champions. (h/t Metro)

Hailing from Manchester, Driscoll could welcome a return to the North-West of England to Merseyside.

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Liverpool are an extremely well-run club both on and off the pitch. Driscoll should relish the ability to work with the Reds without having to worry about politics or unrest.

In Driscoll, Liverpool look to have found an excellent candidate to continue the work of Andrew Massey as the Reds prepare for life without the medical genius.

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Third Liverpool star shipped out on loan until the end of the season



Isaac Christie-Davies

Isaac Christie-Davies joins Cercle Brugge until the end of the season

Liverpool striker Isaac Christie-Davies has joined Cercle Brugge on loan until the end of the season. (h/t Liverpoolfc)

Christie-Davies will now link-up with the Groen en Zwart at their winter training camp in Malta. He is the third Liverpool player to leave on loan this month following Herbie Kane and Rhian Brewster.

The 22-year-old joined Liverpool from Chelsea and made his debut last month in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals against Aston Villa.

Isaac Christie-Davies

Bernd Storck is the manager of Cercle Brugge, who gained promotion to Belgium’s top-flight last season.

The German coach was previously in charge of Royal Excel Mouscron, where Taiwo Awoniyi spent time on loan last season.

Cercle currently have 13 players on loan at the club. The Welshman’s versatility has seen him perform in midfield, on the wing and upfront for the Liverpool Under-23s this season. This could boost his chances of a starting berth.

Cercle are currently bottom of the Belgian top tier, seven points off their closest rivals Waasland-Beveren after taking just 11 from their opening 21 games.

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Cercle next play at home to Royal Antwerp on January 19 and should give Christie-Davies enough time to prepare for his possible debut.

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Liverpool striker returns from loan spell after scoring just 1 goal in 22 games



liam millar

Liam Millar has been recalled by Liverpool from his loan at Kilmarnock

Liverpool youngster Liam Millar has returned to the club after cutting short his loan at Kilmarnock. (h/t Liverpoolfc)

The 20-year-old striker, who joined from Fulham in 2016, is yet to make his debut for the Merseysiders.

Millar signed a long-term first-team contract with Liverpool in January 2019 and joined Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock on loan until the end of the 2018–19 season.

Liam Millar

He made his debut for Kilmarnock in a 2–1 loss to Hearts and scored his first goal a month later against St Mirren.

He returned on loan to Kilmarnock in August 2019 on a year-long loan which has now been cut short by the Reds.

The striker made 22 appearances for Kilmarnock this season, scoring just 1 goal. (h/t Whoscored)

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A versatile forward, Millar is capable of playing both upfront and on the left flank with equal proficiency.

Liverpool had also recalled Nathaniel Phillips from his loan at VfB Stuttgart to address the lack of cover at centre-back due to injuries.

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