I’ve never seen such a calm aftermath of a game. This was the first time I ever watched a Champions League as a fan of a team playing instead of simply a fan of the game. As a fan of the game - it is disappointing the final was decided on an iffy handball 20 seconds into the game. I don’t think it was an incorrect call, but it was a very flukey play that did not warrant the Champions League-winning goal it led to.
That goal shouldn’t take any credit away from Liverpool deserving this trophy. They took advantage of their opportunity and held firm. I know their defense had been solid all season, but I could not have been more impressed on Saturday. The center backs prevented Harry Kane from doing anything (starting Kane is questionable, but having a fit Harry Kane on the bench is questionable as well. It’s a lose-lose scenario), and the Robertson/Alexander-Arnold duo gave Spurs issues all night. The entire game they would exploit the edges and either play Salah/Mane through or run into pockets of space where they could receive the ball with enough time to dribble or pass/cross. Combine that with a world-class goalkeeper, Spurs didn’t have a chance unless they were clinical.
Tottenham dominated possession, but they weren’t clinical. It was as simple as that. The effort was there - players made the right runs and fought for 50/50 balls all night. Being down a goal 90 seconds into the game likely didn’t align with their tactics, but they responded just about as well as any team could have after such instant adversity. One difference I noted was Alexander/Arnold constantly being a threat on the attacking end for Liverpool while Trippier failed to run into open space on breaks and squandered opportunities before they could arise.
The game had slow parts but was a great chess match between the two best managers in the world (Feel free to argue that all you want with me, you can’t convince me otherwise. Both of those teams reaching this year’s final is nothing short of astonishing). Klopp was put under pressure all game long while Poch had to alter tactics to respond to yet another early Champions League deficit.
This brings me to the blog’s title - in my entire life I don’t recall a single championship that had such a civil aftermath. For two teams in the same country, you’d think Spurs fans would be bitter and Liverpool fans would be basking in their sadness. It seems to be the opposite - Tottenham fans (myself included, I cannot believe I gave a team that beat my own so much credit above) have praised the Liverpool team - they’ve been fantastic this season and it would have been a travesty for them to end the season trophyless. The loss is going to sting with me for a long time (likely until Spurs do finally win a Champions League or Premier League title), but there are few scenarios I could imagine this hurting less. Tottenham made an incredible run to get to this final and Liverpool fans and staff recognize that. They may not admit it, but I bet you they feel lucky they won the game as comfortably as they did.
So again, congratulations to Liverpool on a well-earned crown. It stung seeing a group of players other than Tottenham lift that trophy but there are few I imagine being more content with than Liverpool after this season. If any Tottenham scouts are reading this, please sign Sessengon and play him as a left back. Danny Rose can mentor him and in 2/3 years time he can be a clone to Anthony Robertson. I am convinced the wing back positions are that important and I could not imagine a better opportunity for Tottenham to capitalize on.
Author: Living in Southern California, Robert Sweeney has been a fan of soccer since he played as a young child. Since then, he’s become a diehard Tottenham and US National Team fan. Rob enjoys writing about the impact soccer has had on his life in hopes that it betters others as well. Twitter: @robsweeney11