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Liverpool are champions of Europe for the sixth time after a 2-0 defeat of Premier League rivals Tottenham in Madrid.


Liverpool celebrate their final triumph©AFP/Getty Images

The Reds’ victory, courtesy of a Mohamed Salah penalty awarded in the first minute and converted in the second, plus a late Divock Origi effort, not only exorcises the demons of last season’s 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in Kyiv but also ends Jürgen Klopp’s run of six successive club final defeats.

FINAL AS IT HAPPENED

It gets sweeter still for Salah. His delight – or was it relief? – at converting from the spot after Moussa Sissoko was penalised for handball after just 24 seconds was no doubt magnified by the fact he was forced off injured in the Ukrainian capital last year.

Jürgen Klopp enjoys the moment with his players


Jürgen Klopp enjoys the moment with his players©AFP/Getty Images

Salah’s strike was not the start of a customary deluge from Liverpool, though, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson going closest to doubling their lead with shots from distance later in the half. Heung-Min Son twice ran in behind for Spurs, but the north London club failed to engineer any clear openings of their own.

Then, much like buses in the city they call home, three came along all at once; Dele Alli headed over, before Son and then Lucas Moura were denied by Alisson Becker. Substitute James Milner had gone close to adding to Liverpool’s lead by that point, but it was left to fellow replacement Origi to finish the job with a precise low effort three minutes from time.

Man of the match: Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk was a rock at the back in Madrid


Virgil van Dijk was a rock at the back in Madrid©Getty Images

As commanding as he has been ever since moving to Anfield in January 2018; another colossal performance from the Dutchman. Thomas Schaaf, leader of the UEFA Technical Observers in Madrid, said: “Van Dijk showed outstanding leadership and was Liverpool’s best defender. He made crucial interventions when needed and played with a cool head throughout.”

View from the stadium

Matthew Howarth, Liverpool reporter
This was far from vintage Liverpool, who struggled to keep possession for large periods of a nervous contest. Spurs, despite their best efforts, failed to capitalise on some promising situations in the final third as the Reds held their nerve to get over their 2018 heartbreak. A sixth European Cup is the least the club deserves after a quite remarkable campaign at home and on the continent.

Tottenham ended a sensational season as runners-up


Tottenham ended a sensational season as runners-up©Getty Images

Daniel Thacker, Tottenham reporter
Spurs will depart their first UEFA Champions League final perhaps harbouring a few regrets. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were not quite as precise as usual against a Liverpool side that did its level best to disrupt the midfield. There were chances, but ultimately Spurs did not play with the freedom that has characterised what has nevertheless been a memorable run.

Reaction

Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager
I don’t want to explain why we won it; I only want to enjoy that we won it. We’ll celebrate together, we’ll have a sensational night. I feel mostly relief, relief for my family. The last six times we flew on holiday with only a silver medal it didn’t feel too cool.

Jürgen Klopp on Liverpool's Madrid glory


Jürgen Klopp on Liverpool’s Madrid glory

We were all crying on the pitch because it means so much to us. It wasn’t important for me to touch the cup; I loved seeing the boys having it and seeing some faces in the crowd. Going to Liverpool tomorrow with something to celebrate is big and I’m really looking forward to that.

Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham manager
Now it’s impossible to talk – we’re all very disappointed, but I feel so proud of my players. Finals are about winning, not about playing well; it’s not tactics. I want to congratulate Liverpool, Klopp, the players, the club and the fans because they’ve had an amazing season. They were fantastic. It’s so painful, but we need to keep going.

Key stats

2: Salah’s goal was the second fastest in a final after Paolo Maldini’s effort 51 seconds into the 2005 decider.

Divock Origi came off the bench to score


Divock Origi came off the bench to score©Getty Images

5: A substitute has scored in five of the last six finals: Marcelo (2014), Yannick Carrasco (2016), Marco Asensio (2017), Gareth Bale (2018) and now Origi.

6: Liverpool’s sixth European Cup means they go third on their own on the all-time honours board, behind only Real Madrid (13) and AC Milan (7).

6: Klopp’s run of six successive final defeats, including three with Liverpool, stretched back to Borussia Dortmund’s 2013 UEFA Champions League final loss to Bayern.

13: England now has 13 European Cups, clear in second place behind Spain (18) and ahead of Italy (12).

17: Klopp is the 17th coach to win the UEFA Champions League.

20: Of the 26 UEFA Champions League finals that have yielded a goal, 20 have been won by the team scoring first. Only 2003 ended goalless.


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