Liverpool have been installed as the clear favourites to beat Tottenham when they meet in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.
<div><p>The Reds suffered a heart-breaking final day of the Premier League campaign as they finished just one point behind champions Man City. Victory over Wolves at Anfield took them up to 97 points, the third highest tally in history, but it was still not enough to topple Pep Guardiola’s men. Now they must rally and focus all their efforts on the upcoming Champions League final, where they have a fantastic opportunity to exorcise some ghosts.</p><h2>Champions League History</h2><p>Liverpool are one of the most successful teams in the history of European football. They won the old European Cup four times in the 1970s and 1980s and then secured victory in 2005, by which time it had been rebranded as the Champions League. The Reds found themselves 3-0 down against AC Milan on that fabled night in Istanbul, but Steven Gerrard inspired a remarkable fightback after the break. Only Real Madrid and AC Milan have won this competition more times than Liverpool.</p><p>They have flourished in European football once more under Jurgen Klopp, but they were bitterly disappointed to lose the Europa League final against Sevilla in 2016. They reached the Champions League final last year thanks to the exploits of attacking trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino, but a pair of howlers from young goalkeeper Loris Karius cost them dearly and the slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.</p><p>Spurs have never won this competition, but they did triumph in the old UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1963, plus UEFA Cup titles in 1972 and 1984. The furthest they had previously been in the Champions League was the quarter-finals in 2011, when they suffered a 5-0 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid. They are chasing their first trophy since winning the League Cup in 2008, while Liverpool’s last trophy was the League Cup in 2012, so they will both be desperate to secure some silverware and it should be a cracking game.</p><h2>Form Guide</h2><p>Liverpool picked up just 75 Premier League points in 2017/18 as defensive failings let them down. Virgil Van Dijk’s January arrival had already strengthened the defence and Klopp decided to axe Karius and break the world record fee for a goalkeeper to sign Brazil number one Alisson from Roma. They invested a further £100 million on midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita and the Reds were transformed. They ended up with 97 points this season and only suffered one defeat, which came against Man City. Van Dijk was named PFA Player of the Year and Salah and Mané shared the Golden Boot with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal.</p><p>In Europe they have been sensational once more. They looked a little shaky in the group stage, but scraped through and then produced a magnificent performance to beat Bayern Munich 3-1 in Germany. Liverpool then ripped Porto apart in the quarter-finals, but suffered a 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final. Barca’s lead looked insurmountable, but on a stirring night at Anfield the Reds picked up a sensational 4-0 victory and surged into the final.</p><p>Tottenham finished the campaign with 71 points after losing 13 of their 38 games. They looked as though they might muscle their way into contention for the title at one stage, but inconsistency ultimately cost them. Mauricio Pochettino has worked wonders with this squad, but fans were left to rue a summer of total inactivity in the transfer market. They moved into their shiny new stadium towards the end of the season, and that left them somewhat hamstrung financially, but Pochettino will demand investment in the squad if he is to remain at the club.</p><p>Yet on their day, Spurs can beat anyone and they have proved as much in the Champions League. They scraped their way out of a tough group that also featured Barcelona, Inter and PSV Eindhoven thanks to a late strike from Lucas Moura at the Nou Camp in the final round of games. They were underdogs against Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, but they swatted the German team aside in contemptuous fashion. Next they pulled off a remarkable feat by vanquishing Man City in the quarters, as Son Heung-Min’s brilliance carried them through on away goals. They lost 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Ajax and found themselves 2-0 down at half-time in Amsterdam, but a magnificent Moura hat-trick after the break saw them through on away goals once more.</p><h2>Head-to-heads</h2><p>These teams met twice this season and Liverpool emerged victorious on both occasions. They met at Wembley in September 2018 and goals either side of half time from Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino put the Reds in control. A late strike from Erik Lamela proved a mere consolation for Spurs, who dominated possession but could not create enough chances. They met at Anfield in March and Moura cancelled out Firmino’s opener in the 70<sup>th</sup> minute. It looked destined to finish all-square, until Toby Alderweireld’s own-goal in stoppage time handed Liverpool a 2-1 win. Liverpool have only lost once in their last 14 meetings with Spurs and that should give them a psychological advantage heading into this game.</p><h2>Team News</h2><p>The big question for Tottenham is whether Kane will be fit enough to play a part in this match. The England captain is a talismanic figure for his club and he brings a vital dimension to their attacking play. He went down with what looked like a season-ending hamstring strain in the first leg against Man City on April 9 and he has not featured since. However, he hopes to return in time for the final and Pochettino must be seriously tempted to take a gamble on starting him alongside Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. That could mean there is no place for hat-trick hero Moura, and it could prove to be a real dilemma for the manager.</p><p>Liverpool have been shorn of the services of Firmino and Divock Origi deputised with aplomb against Barcelona. The Belgian scored twice to hand Liverpool victory and he must fancy his chances of starting the final in Madrid. However, Firmino is expected to be fit in time for the big game and it is hard to see Klopp leaving him out. The Brazilian is an integral cog in Liverpool’s attack and his unselfish, intelligent play provides Salah and Mané with plenty of space in which to wreak havoc. Andy Robertson should also be fit and Liverpool have pretty much a clean bill of health.</p><h2>Early Odds</h2><p>Liverpool are priced at just 1/2 (1.50) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&f=1" target="_blank" title="Bet365">Bet365</a> to win the trophy, while Spurs are 6/4 (2.50) underdogs. The odds become a lot more attractive on Liverpool to win in 90 minutes, as <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b&f=1" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a> and a few others are offering even money (2.0). If you fancy Spurs to vanquish Liverpool in the 90 you can find huge odds of 3/1 (4.0) at Hills. Both teams to score looks a great bet, with Bet365 offering 4/5 (1.80) and Marathon offering 5/6 (1.83). <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=8cb1fdf6-5659-4f16-a75b-679218b0115e&f=1" target="_blank" title="10Bet">10Bet</a> has 16/11 (2.45) on Salah to score at any time, a tempting 8/5 (2.60) and 39/19 (2.95) on Kane.</p></div>