Liverpool and Spurs set for all-English final

Hundreds of extra flights have taken off from the UK, an estimated 70,000 fans are descending on Madrid – and two managers without a trophy to their name at their current sides joked easily with reporters as they prepare to compete for the biggest prize in club football.

Tottenham and Liverpool meet in the first all-English Champions League final since 2008 when they face each other in the Spanish capital on Saturday.

Their fans will share 33,226 tickets for the final, which takes place in the 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano stadium, although many more will travel in the hope of finding a ticket, or just to soak up the occasion.

The Reds, who lost to Real Madrid in last year’s final, finished two places and 26 points above Spurs in the Premier League.

Their style of play has been much praised this season, and their 97 points and one defeat are English records for a team finishing runners-up in the top flight.

But they have not won anything since manager Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in 2015 – and the German has lost his last six finals, including the Champions League final in 2013 with Borussia Dortmund and last year with Liverpool.

“All the circumstances were different, the teams were different,” said Klopp on Friday. “If I were the reason for losing six finals then everyone needs to worry. Last year was a world-class goal and two strange goals we normally don’t concede which defeated us.

“My career so far is not unlucky. I haven’t a problem with my career. My wife always asks me when the final game of the season is because since 2012, apart from 2017, my teams have been in finals.

“I don’t see myself as a loser and we would have a problem if I did.

Liverpool have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, most recently in 2005. They have twice been finalists since then – beaten in 2007 by AC Milan and last year by Real.

In contrast this is Spurs’ first ever final of the premier European club competition. And they have not won any trophy for the past 11 years, with their most recent silverware the 2008 League Cup.

Former Espanyol and Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino is looking for the first trophy of his managerial career and has hinted he could leave and return to his native Argentina if he achieves it.

Pochettino has suggested the way the club is currently run needs to change. Spurs have not signed a single player since semi-final hero Lucas Moura in January 2018.

In Friday’s pre-match news conference, he said: “Our team became very robust from the start of the season, 10 months ago.

“At that time we couldn’t bring in new players. As we couldn’t, we decided not to sell anybody. We sold Mousa Dembele in January to China because it was his dream.

“We haven’t been able to play in our new stadium; we had to play in Wembley until a couple of months ago.

“We have come to the crucial part of the season and all of that has made us strong. We have had to overcome those difficulties.”

Courtesy- BBC Online