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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.