Tottenham vs Liverpool: Who will win Champions League final?
Follow all of the action from the Wanda Metropolitano on the Sky Sports App and skysports.com with our dedicated Champions League final live blog
Last Updated: 01/06/19 9:18pm
Who is going to win the Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool? Who are the key players? And where will the match be won and lost?
Premier League rivals Spurs and Liverpool meet in a hotly-anticipated final in Madrid on Saturday, having both come through dramatic semi-final encounters.
Soccer Saturday pundits Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier and Phil Thompson give their predictions and thoughts ahead of the match...
What are the key battles?
Nicholas: "Tottenham have the hardest job regarding selection and they have to go up against Liverpool's front three.
"If Liverpool score first, do they go for it? If Harry Kane is not fit to start then Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son will be behind Lucas Moura probably, with Moussa Sissoko holding. The right side of Tottenham's defence has been poor recently, and Kieran Trippier has been left out of the England side, as he has been exposed a bit. That is where Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino pop up, and Mane has been ruthless recently."
Follow the Champions League final with Sky Sports
You can follow all of the action of Tottenham vs Liverpool from the Wanda Metropolitano on the Sky Sports App and skysports.com with our dedicated Champions League final live blog, which will feature the best build-up, commentary and reaction from Madrid.
The Champions League final will take place on Saturday, June 1; Kick-off is at 8pm.
Le Tissier: "The key battle will be Kane against Virgil van Dijk.
"Will Kane start? I think he will. That battle with Van Dijk will be a crucial one. I think the midfield will be important too. Liverpool's midfield has been more impressive than Tottenham's while Trippier has been the weakest link in Tottenham's defence and Hugo Lloris has made a couple of errors, so I think on the whole, Liverpool should be just a little bit stronger in each department and there is not any great logic that tells you Tottenham should win this game.
"The two full-backs have been outstanding for Liverpool and Tottenham will have to plan for these areas in order to stop Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. You need to make plans for this as they have been that good. They are both in double figures for assists. Mauricio Pochettino must have plan to stop them being such a threat.
"I think the weakest point in Liverpool's team is the central midfield. There is a case there that they are not as strong as the defence or attack - that is not to say they are weak, as the other two departments are very strong. But Tottenham have not been particularly strong in that department to take advantage of it."
Thompson: "I think if Pochettino goes with three at the back, then he will be worrying about Liverpool's full-backs. Trippier and Danny Rose will be there to negate the attacking threats of the full-backs to support Mohamed Salah and Mane, if he goes that way it will be a telling point and an important department of the pitch. He will have the three centre-backs on hand to put up with the three forwards. It is a way of stopping attacks but they will have their work cut out trying to stop the front three along with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson.
"It has the making of a great game. Kane is a big factor. If he does play it will give them a lift. Kane will have done more training than anyone. There is nothing like being match-fit, but don't forget these two sides haven't played for three weeks. I know Kane hasn't played for seven or eight weeks, but if he is getting back to full fitness everyone will be at a certain level. It is how fit his ankle is, and that is the big thing."
What does it mean for both clubs?
Nicholas: "For the managers alone, it is more important for Jurgen Klopp. Mauricio Pochettino is still hot property. He has not won a trophy and is getting closer. We know how Man Utd are still very interested in taking Pochettino, even if they have appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a permanent manager. If the right thing comes up for a big club you go and hunt it down, and he is definitely on the hit-list.
"As a club, this would be monumental for Tottenham if they could win this and it would take them up another step to where they have never reached before, so it would be more dramatic for Tottenham.
"Klopp needs this. You cannot walk away saying we had a great season but not win any trophies. He never had that tag in Germany, but it questions whether you can get over that line, so Klopp must get a result here.
Le Tissier: "I think it would have a more negative impact on Liverpool, having lost the final last year and Jurgen Klopp needing a first trophy as manager. It would increase the expectation on him. Tottenham finished fourth which may have been disappointing but maybe not considering their squad depth and transfer activity so they have done well to get here - it would be a bigger blow to Liverpool as a club if they were to lose here."
Thompson: "The news is going to be that either Jurgen Klopp loses another final, or Mauricio Pochettino fails to win a trophy again. Klopp has created a fantastic team at Liverpool, but as Liverpool fans, they will still cherish Klopp no matter what, and Tottenham fans will be equally as passionate about Pochettino.
"Pochettino worries me, saying that the club needs to change in terms of the transfer policy and recruitment and he has thrown doubts there, so Tottenham fans have a bit more to worry about if they lose the game, as opposed to Liverpool fans with Klopp as he will stay regardless. I believe these two are two of the best managers in the world, never mind the Premier League. How good they are, tactically and technically, makes me rate them this highly."
Who will win and why?
Nicholas: "Both these sides have a 'never say die' spirit but Liverpool have more quality and style. Tottenham have had to use the same 16 or 17 players, whereas Liverpool have been fresher. Kane may be on the bench, but this will be a tighter affair than expected.
"Liverpool and Tottenham both like to attack but sometimes nobody can control the ball and it will be more about the energy and drive. It will be a physical British game. Of course I could get this wrong and it could be the most dramatic final we could wish for, but I think it will be about defenders doing their job and keeping it tight.
"I see Liverpool winning this and it will go right to the final whistle. I hope it is an over-expansive game of football, but I feel as though the defenders will be dragging everyone in not wanting to make mistakes and that is the tension that comes with these games. I do think Liverpool merit a trophy this season. Tottenham have shown a stunning attitude in the Champions League. I think there will be lots of bookings and it will be a hard physical challenge."
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Tottenham 0-1 Liverpool (13/2 with Sky Bet)
Le Tissier: "I think Liverpool are the stronger team and have proved that they have been a stronger team throughout the campaign. There was a significant gap In the Premier League points tally and they have done the double over Tottenham already, so they have to be the favourites going into the game - I fully expect them to take home the trophy.
"You cannot rule out the character of Tottenham though. They were on their knees in the group stages. They scored a late goal at Barcelona and then came the drama of the quarter-finals and semi-finals. But I expect Liverpool to be too strong if all things are equal. Tottenham will fancy their chances and are no mugs, beating some strong teams along the way in this competition. If Liverpool turn up with a poor mentality then that would be a problem."
LE TISS PREDICTS: Tottenham 2-3 Liverpool (28/1 with Sky Bet)
Thompson: "They are both Premier League teams so you know the ins and outs of the opposition, whereas you don't play Real Madrid twice a season. I think if Liverpool bring out their A-game in Madrid, and Tottenham bring their A-game to Madrid, Liverpool will win.
"The way the season has gone, Liverpool have shown how good they are. I have total respect for Tottenham, and to me, the way Man City and Liverpool play, the next best team to them is Tottenham. The manager has them playing in a similar way of high pressing and they are great to watch. If both teams play to their potential then Liverpool will win the game, but if one team or the other drops the level, then that will tip it in someone's favour."
THOMPSON PREDICTS: Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool (17/2 with Sky Bet)