Friday 23 August 2019

Champions League final teams rated: Here is how Liverpool and Tottenham match up ahead of Madrid showdown

Mo Salah and Danny Rose
Mo Salah and Danny Rose

Here is how the teams rate ahead of the Champions League final.

LIVERPOOL

ALISSON BECKER: The Brazilian goalkeeper is suited to Jurgen Klopp’s style and he will be much happier with the identity of his netminder heading into this year’s decider. Still, he’s not immune to rash errors as risk-taking comes with the territory.

8

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD: His quick thinking in the semi-final has left his mark on this run whatever happens and he’s going to have a superb career. His assists record speaks for itself but Spurs will still test his defensive aptitude.

8

VIRGIL VAN DIJK: The best in the world in his position and recognised by his Premier League peers for an amazing campaign. He is human, as the first leg in Barcelona demonstrated, but he is a commanding presence and it’s hard to imagine Liverpool without him now.

9

JOEL MATIP: Matip has gradually established himself as Van Dijk’s partner and has cut out some of the errors that dogged him early in his career. He’s also comfortable dribbling out of defence and picking long passes.

8

ANDY ROBERTSON: Robertson’s emergence into a player of real substance has been one of the triumphs of the Klopp era. He’s a potent attacking presence who covers a lot of ground and has definitely improved his defensive awareness.

8

FABINHO: This is a key position for Klopp and Fabinho excelled in the semi-final second leg. He could be the man to try and keep tabs on Eriksen and has overcome some testing periods to prove his worth to the Liverpool side.

8

JORDAN HENDERSON: Henderson was pigeon-holed as a defensive midfielder yet he’s shown himself to be more effective with a player behind him and has gained respect as a threat going forward.

8

GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM:  Wijnaldum’s goalscoring heroics in the Anfield semi were fuelled by his anger at being left on the bench, but the Dutchman has played a full part in both games with Spurs this term and his breaks can be influential here.

8

MO SALAH: Maybe he hasn’t quite hit the heights of last term, but that’s a lofty bar for the Egyptian. Spurs once went with a back five to try and keep him quiet, so Pochettino fully understands why his runs can pose them problems.

8

FIRMINO: Firmino has lacked the consistency of last term, but his presence is still essential for Liverpool to cause Spurs problems in their own half and that’s why he will always be foremost in Klopp’s thoughts. He should be tuned in here.

8

SADIO MANE: Mane has been Liverpool’s best attacker this term and it’s easy to see why the Senegalese speedster will fancy his chances against the Londoners, especially if Pochettino sticks with Trippier. It’s an area that can be exploited.

9

BENCH IMPACT

James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both good enough to start, and Milner may well do so. Liverpool’s likely reserves have all played their part with Divock Origi’s reputation enhanced and Xherdan Shaqiri a potential game-breaker.

8

THE BOSS

JURGEN KLOPP: Klopp has to shake his tag of being a cup final loser. In his defence, he has been the underdog in most of those showdowns, whereas this is different. He has moulded a Liverpool team into his style and now they must deliver.

9

 

TOTTENHAM

HUGO LLORIS: A World Cup-winning goalkeeper and consistently in the top bracket for a decade, but it must be said that Lloris has endured some sticky moments this season — including at Anfield — so he will need to be at the top of his game tonight.

8

KIERAN TRIPPER: Trippier’s profile soared after last summer’s World Cup with sections of the English football community believing he was one of the world’s best, but his lack of athleticism is a concern for this fixture and Liverpool will surely target him.

7

TOBY ALDERWIERELD: Threatened to leave Spurs at various stages but they would be a weaker side without the assured Belgian who is a solid defender and comfortable with the ball. He’s got a score to settle after April’s own goal.

8

JAN VERTONGHEN: Vertonghen is regarded as a cool customer and that temperament will be tested here. He may not be outstanding in any one department but he’s an assured all-rounder who is quick and able to look after himself.

8

DANNY ROSE: The English left-back has won his battle with Ben Davies and he’s an impressive character. He can play a bit too, and is a potent attacking threat — and a stronger performer than Trippier on the other side.

8

VICTOR WANYAMA: A big decision for Pochettino with Eric Dier and Harry Winks also in the equation. Wanyama has been tipped to get the nod. His strength would be an asset but he would be put under pressure in possession.

7

MOUSSA SISSOKO: Spurs were ready to show Sissoko the door, but he’s enjoyed the best season of his career and has really delivered in the big matches. A box-to-box presence with the ability to unlock defences too. He can really impact the outcome.

8

DELE ALLI: The England player can frustrate at times, yet he’s got an instinctive quality and deftness of touch that can open up defences and his pressing and ability to unsettle opponents makes him a key cog in the Spurs wheel.

8

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN: Irish fans have painful experience of what Eriksen can do if given the space. His movement pulls teams out of shape and Liverpool will have to nullify his threat if they are to lift the trophy. This could be his defining night.

9

HEUNG-MIN SON: The South Korean is severely underrated as a footballer, with references to his willingness and work-rate doing a disservice to his technical quality and consistent ability to create chances and goals.

9

LUCAS MOURA: It will be hard for the Brazilian to outdo his semi-final exploits, but that showcased what Moura can offer here as his pace is a weapon and he can exploit the adventure of Liverpool’s full-backs if they vacate space.

8

BENCH IMPACT

The Harry Kane factor is key, as the percentage call is that he winds up on the bench and only a select few truly know if he’s ready. Harry Winks is a good option if they are struggling in midfield, while Fernando Llorente is the emergency solution.

8

THE BOSS

MAURICIO POCHETTINO: The Argentinian says that emotions rather than tactics will determine the result. He has created a bond within his group that has carried them through some challenging moments.

9

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