Mo Salah, Origi goals bring Liverpool Champions League redemption

Mohamed Salah's early goal helped Liverpool to a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday's all-English Champions League final. (AP)
Updated 04 June 2019

Mo Salah, Origi goals bring Liverpool Champions League redemption

  • Jurgen Klopp finally got his hands on Europe's biggest prize
  • Egypt striker Salah had painful memories of last year's final defeat by Real Madrid

MADRID: Liverpool ended an incredible season by winning Europe’s biggest prize after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Saturday’s all-English Champions League final, earning sweet redemption after agonizingly missing out on the Premier League title.
Mohamed Salah scored the second-quickest goal in a Champions League final by converting from the penalty spot in the second minute while Divock Origi sealed victory in the 87th after Liverpool had survived some heavy late pressure from Spurs.
Tottenham, in their first European Cup final, kept their heads after the early setback and came to life when semifinal hat-trick hero Lucas Moura was brought on but, with Harry Kane lacking sharpness, another European comeback was beyond them.
Liverpool, who missed out on the Premier League title to Manchester City by one point, did not produce their usual whirlwind attacking game but Salah’s debatable penalty and Origi’s arrowed finish sealed a sixth European Cup triumph.
“Everyone is happy now,” said Salah as the Liverpool fans rejoiced. “I am glad to play the second final in a row and play 90 minutes finally. Everyone did his best today, no great individual performances, all the team was unbelievable.”




Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the first goal from the penalty spot in their Champions League Final match against Tottenham Hotspur. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold who had marauded down the flank all night, added: “It is hard to put into words. The season we have had, we deserved it more than any other team.”
The win at the Wanda Metropolitano was sweet redemption for Salah and especially Klopp, who had suffered defeat in his last six major finals, including Champions League showpieces with Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and Liverpool last year.
“I am so happy for the boys all these people, and my family. They suffer for me, they deserve it more than anybody,” said the elated German.
“Did you ever see a team like, this, fighting with no fuel in the tank? And we have a keeper (Alisson Becker) who makes difficult things look easy. It is the best night of our professional lives.”
His opposite number Mauricio Pochettino praised his team’s determined efforts to get themselves back into the game.
“We were fighting, and we played so well in the second half. I feel so proud, a little bit unlucky. To be 1-0 down from the start was tough, we changed our plans but we are very proud of these players and these fans. We can be optimistic.”

Outstanding season
Liverpool’s win was reward for an outstanding season in which they picked up a club record 97 points in the Premier League but finished behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, falling just short of a first league title in 29 years.
However, a sixth European Cup, which took them ahead of Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the all-time list and means they only trail AC Milan on seven triumphs and Real Madrid with 13, will help to compensate for that disappointment.
It was Liverpool’s first Champions League triumph since their incredible comeback against Milan in 2005 and, while this victory lacked the blockbuster drama of that night in Istanbul, it was not exactly a smooth ride in a lacklustre affair.
Tottenham manager Pochettino took a bold but ultimately misguided gamble in fielding Kane, who had only returned to full training a week ago after almost two months out with a serious ankle injury and struggled to influence play.
The England striker was far from the only player from both sides who lacked sharpness in a game with few moments of quality, a possible effect of neither side having played any competitive games for three weeks after the domestic season.
Spurs put Liverpool under real pressure in the latter stages as Dele Alli headed over and Son Heung-min and Moura forced impressive saves from Alisson, who also pulled off his best effort to beat away a free kick from Christian Eriksen.
The Brazilian keeper’s reliable display was in stark contrast to what happened last year in Kiev, when Liverpool’s Loris Karius made two horrendous errors which cost his side two goals in their painful 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid.
When the final whistle went, Alisson was mobbed by his team mates while Klopp ran on to the pitch to embrace Origi, one of the heroes in the stunning semifinal second-leg turnaround against Barcelona, who killed the game with a ruthless finish.

Euphoria

Following the victory, euphoric Liverpool supporters erupted in delight at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium and thousands of them, chanting “champions” and clad in their team’s red colors, took to the streets of the Spanish capital to celebrate.
“Unbelievable, I can’t believe we did it again. What a club. What a fan base. What a team. That’s what we are all about,” said 32-year-old Craig Williams who came to Madrid from Liverpool for the match.
“We have come back from last year’s disappointments...we come to Madrid this year, and we won it. Yes! Come on!.”




Fans celebrate Liverpool's win against Tottenham Hotspur during the UEFA Champions League final football match at Plaza Mayor in Madrid on June 2, 2019. (AFP / Loli San Jose)

A year ago Liverpool lost the Champions League final 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev after Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah was forced to go off injured and in tears.
This time around Salah gave Liverpool the perfect start to the match by converting a penalty to open the scoring in the second minute.
“It’s incredible. In one minute, two minutes and there is a penalty, and it changes the entire game,” said Diego Martinez, a 41-year-old lawyer and Tottenham fan who came to Madrid for the match from Mexico City.
“This penalty changes the game, and the tactics maybe for the team,” he added outside the stadium as jubilant Liverpool supporters celebrated around him.
Some fans held up six figures or chanted “Six times! Six times! Six times!” as they left the stadium.
Others raised red and white team scarves over their heads or chanted “Champions!” as they made their way from the stadium to nearby metro stations.
Mohamed Elneanaey, a 28-year-old who came from Egypt for the match and bears a striking resemblance to Liverpool’s Salah, was mobbed by fans outside of the stadium who wanted to pose for selfies with him.
“We are celebrating now. It’s big. It’s gonna be amazing. We are celebrating here with guys and, then we will go to the streets to celebrate,” he said as people around him jokingly called out “Salah! Salah.”
Paul Jordan, a 33-year-old shop manager, who flew to the Spanish capital from Liverpool via Prague to be at the match because he could not get a direct flight, said he planned to celebrate the win with his friends “until Monday here in Madrid.”
“This is an incredible feeling,” he added.
The authorities estimate around 32,000 ticket-holding fans from both teams attended the match at the 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
Hundreds of extra flights to the Spanish capital were added and the Madrid hotel association estimates that a total of 70,000 English fans will spend the weekend in the city because of the match.


Spurs stumble again as Chelsea and Leicester win

Newcastle United’s Dutch defender Jetro Willems vies with Chelsea’s Canadian-born English defender Fikayo Tomori during Saturday’s in London. (AFP)
Updated 5 min 5 sec ago

Spurs stumble again as Chelsea and Leicester win

  • Tottenham narrowly avoid embarrassing home defeat to bottom club Watford

LONDON: Tottenham narrowly avoided an embarrassing home defeat to bottom club Watford on Saturday as Chelsea and Leicester leapfrogged champions Manchester City in the Premier League. With leaders Liverpool not in action until Sunday, it was a chance for the chasing pack to press their credentials for top-four spots.
Chelsea's Marcus Alonso broke the deadlock for Frank Lampard's side at Stamford Bridge against Newcastle for a 1-0 win while Youri Tielemans sealed a 2-1 victory for Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
But Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino saw his side labor to a 1-1 draw at home to Watford, following a 3-0 thrashing at Brighton and a humiliating 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich.
Spurs, who reached the Champions League final in June, have now won just three of their opening 12 games in all competitions and appear unable to halt their slide.
Tottenham got off to an awful start as they fell behind in the sixth minute, Abdoulaye Doucoure finishing superbly from Daryl Janmaat's assist.
Dele Alli grabbed a late leveller for Spurs with his first goal since January. There was major confusion as it appeared as if VAR had ruled out the effort, but it was allowed to stand.
Leicester held a minute’s silence before kick-off to remember their late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash at the stadium last October.
Chris Wood put Burnley in front but Leicester’s in-form forward Jamie Vardy headed an equaliser just before half-time and Tielemans completed the turnaround with just over 15 minutes to go.

BACKGROUND

Spurs, who reached the Champions League final in June, have now won just three of their opening 12 games in all competitions and appear unable to halt their slide.Spurs, who reached the Champions League final in June, have now won just three of their opening 12 games in all competitions and appear unable to halt their slide.

Ahead of City's match at Crystal Palace later on Saturday, Leicester were second in the Premier League table, seven points behind leaders Liverpool, while Chelsea, also on 17 points, were third.
Matt Targett scored a goal deep into injury time as Aston Villa came back from 1-0 down to beat Brighton 2-1.
Southampton took the lead against Wolves at Molineux, courtesy of a Danny Ings goal but Raul Jimenez hit back from the penalty spot just eight minutes later after Matt Doherty was brought down.
Bournemouth drew 0-0 at home to Norwich.
In the early kick-off on Saturday, Everton climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a well-deserved 2-0 victory against West Ham that eased the pressure on Marco Silva.
A first-half goal from Brazil forward Bernard and a late second from substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson gave Everton the three points in a match in which they had 19 shots.
"It was a fantastic performance," Sigurdsson told BT Sport. "We had a lot of chances, especially in the second half. You never know when it's 1-0 -- you always want to get more.
"They are dangerous going forward and their goalkeeper made some spectacular saves. I was pleased to come on and give us a bit of comfort. There was a real purpose to our game today."
Manchester City head to Crystal Palace in the late match on Saturday. Pep Guardiola left Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez out of his starting line-up but there was a place on the bench for defender John Stones after an injury lay-off.
Liverpool travel to face struggling Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, chasing a record-equalling 18th consecutive Premier League win while Arsenal face Sheffield United on Monday.