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Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah shoots from the penalty spot to score his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League final football match Image Credit: AFP

Liverpool too strong for Tottenham as Klopp's men win


MADRID: Mohamed 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 on Saturday 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Champions League final: As it happened

2019-06-02 01:03

Liverpool are champions

Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to win the Champions League at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah's second-minute penalty put Liverpool ahead and substitute Divock Origi fired home a late second as they were crowned European champions for the sixth time.

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Spurs totally outplayed

2019-06-02 00:53

Liverpool scores again: 2-0

Divok Origi strikes at 87 minutes to seal Tottenham’s fate.

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2019-06-01 23:58

Liverpool 1-0 at half time

Liverpool was beating Tottenham 1-0 at halftime in the Champions League final after Mohamed Salah converted a second-minute penalty kick at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Salah scored with a left-footed mid-height shot after Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko was called for a hand ball inside the area when Sadio Mane's pass hit his chest and arm.

The Egyptian scored the second quickest goal in Champions League final history as he converted from the spot after just one minute and 48 seconds.

Italy great Paolo Maldini holds the record for the fastest goal after he scored with just 50 seconds gone in the 2005 final against Liverpool.

Tottenham started pressing forward immediately after conceding but couldn't create any significant scoring opportunity.

Liverpool eventually evened the match again, but the half ended without either team threatening much.

Liverpool's only chance was an Andy Robertson long-range shot that Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris pushed over the crossbar.

2019-06-01 23:45

Fine save from Andy Robertson

2019-06-01 23:22

So far so good for Liverpool

2019-06-01 23:07

Salah scores: Liverpool 1-0

Mohamed Salah scored the opening goal in the second minute from the penalty spot for Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko was called for a hand ball in the area when Sadio Mane's pass hit his chest and arm.

Liverpool is seeking its sixth European Cup after losing last year's final to Real Madrid.

This is Tottenham's first Champions League final.

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Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah shoots from the penalty spot to score his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League final football match

2019-06-01 23:05

Moment of applause to remember Jose Antonio Reyes

2019-06-01 22:19

Kane starts for Spurs and Salah starts for Liverpool

Dubai: So the stage is finally set for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur as the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid prepares to host the two English clubs in the Uefa Champions League final on Saturday night.

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Players warm up prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium in Madrid on June 1, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

The Anfield side return to the final having lost out to Real Madrid 12 months ago, while no one expected Spurs to progress to the finale. But the London side are deservedly taking their place, having defeated Manchester United and Ajax on their way to the showdown in Spain.

The Reds have to be the favourites, given their form in the Premier League and also thanks to the character they showed to fight back and dump giants Barcelona out of the Champions League in the semi-finals. But, with Harry Kane fit again and expected to feature for Spurs, the English striker could be key to deny Mohammad Salah and the Liverpool strike force.

One thing is for sure, either Klopp or Pochettino will be lifting their first trophy as a manager in England for the first time. Who will succeed remains to be seen.