Liverpool erased the disappointment of last season’s Champions League final loss by claiming the trophy for the sixth time with victory over Tottenham in Madrid.
It was Mohamed Salah, such a disconsolate figure when he was injured early in that loss to Real Madrid, who set Liverpool on their way with a penalty after two minutes when Moussa Sissoko was contentiously punished for handball.
In a final that rarely touched the heights of the blockbuster semi-finals that made this an all-Premier League showpiece, Spurs had chances but were denied by Liverpool keeper Alisson, who saved well from Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Christian Eriksen.
And their failure to capitalise was ruthlessly punished when substitute Divock Origi ensured manager Jurgen Klopp won his first trophy as Liverpool manager by driving low and powerfully past Hugo Lloris with three minutes left.
Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino took the gamble of selecting England captain and main striker Harry Kane despite his not having played since April because of an ankle injury, replacing semi-final hat-trick hero Lucas Moura, but he had no impact.
Liverpool lifted the trophy that was taken from their grasp in Ukraine last season and now stand behind only Real Madrid and AC Milan as serial winners of this tournament, the final whistle sparking huge celebrations among players, management and the red wave of supporters in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
One of the enduring images of Liverpool’s loss to Real Madrid in Kiev was a tearful Salah being led off midway through the first half as realisation dawned he could not continue with the shoulder injury sustained in a tangle with Sergio Ramos.
It was a moment that changed the mood inside the stadium and left Liverpool unable to turn the tide once it went against them – so this was an occasion laced with meaning for the world-class Egyptian.
And his moment came almost instantly when he took responsibility from the penalty spot and powered the ball past Lloris.
How fitting it was that the player who has contributed so much to Liverpool’s renaissance should make such a significant contribution.
Another major difference from last year’s disappointment was the giant presence of Alisson in goal as opposed to the hapless Lloris Karius, who gifted goals to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale in Kiev.
Here, the £67m Brazilian was a rock with his safe handling and vital interventions when Liverpool came under stress in the second half.
Alisson, along with Virgil van Dijk, has given Liverpool the extra dimension that pushed them so close to a first league title in 29 years and has now made them European champions once more.
Match stats – three shots, three goals for Origi
- Liverpool have won their sixth European Cup – twice as many as any other English team (Manchester United, three).
- Klopp is the fourth Liverpool manager to win the European Cup, after Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafael Benitez.
- Klopp is the fifth German manager to win the European Cup, after Dettmar Cramer, Jupp Heynckes, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Udo Lattek but he only the second German to win the trophy with a non-German side (Heynckes with Real Madrid).
- Pochettino has lost both of his major finals as Tottenham manager, also losing the League Cup final against Chelsea in 2015.
- Tottenham appeared in their first ever European Cup final, becoming the eighth English side to do so. The past six first-time finalists have now lost (also Chelsea 2008, Arsenal 2006, Monaco 2004, Bayer Leverkusen 2002 and Valencia 2000).
- Liverpool (35.4%) have become the first side to win the Champions League final despite having less possession than the opposition since Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich in 2010.
- This was the first ever Champions League final without a single card shown.
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah became the fifth African player to score in a European Cup final after Rabah Madjer, Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Sadio Mane.
- Salah’s opener for Liverpool was the second fastest goal in a Champions League final (1:48), only behind Paolo Maldini (00:50) for AC Milan versus Liverpool in 2005.
- Origi became only the second Belgian player to score in a Champions League final after Yannick Carrasco for Atletico against Real Madrid in 2016. Origi has scored with all three of his shots in the CL this season.
- Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (20 years 237 days) is the first ever player aged under 21 to start in consecutive Champions League finals.
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