MADRID, Spain, June 2 – Liverpool won their sixth Champions League title on Saturday after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a disappointing match in Madrid.
Here AFP Sport looks at four things we learned from the showpiece final at the Wanda Metropolitano:
Origi the man for the big occasion
Divock Origi is not part of Liverpool’s potent front three but has made a massive impact as Liverpool’s Champions League run crashed towards its dramatic climax.
Belgian Origi scored twice, including the winning fourth, in the Reds’ incredible comeback from 3-0 down against Barcelona in the semi-final and came off the bench to seal the final with a excellent left-footed finish three minutes from the end just as Tottenham were beginning to push for a late equaliser.
The 24-year-old collected the ball from Joel Matip as Spurs failed to clear a humdrum corner and lashed home a super finish, the only true moment of quality in what was a poor final.
All-English final wilts in the heat
Fans were expecting a thrilling contest in line with the incredible comebacks both sides pulled off in the semi-finals, but players who had finished the Premier League season three weeks ago failed to escape the sweltering heat in the first half, with the temperatures hovering around 30 degrees celsius at kick-off.
Liverpool won their sixth Champions League despite putting in one of their worst performances of the season, managing just three shots on target of which one was Mohamed Salah’s opener from the spot and the other Origi’s winner.
Tottenham were the better of the two sides as the heat dissipated in the second half, but only created one decent chance in the Reds’ area when Lucas Moura shot too close to Alisson.
Poch’s Kane gamble backfires
Mauricio Pochettino plumped for his star striker Harry Kane to start over semi-final hat-trick hero Lucas Moura despite the England captain not having played since damaging ankle ligaments in the first leg of their quarter-final against Manchester City back in early April.
Kane, who has been picked by Gareth Southgate in the 23-man squad for next week’s Nations League finals, had just 11 touches in the first half and was dominated by Virgil van Dijk in a sluggish display.
The 25-year-old perked up slightly in the second half once Moura was paired alongside him but his first shot on target came in stoppage time and he was barely involved in the few good things that Spurs managed to do late in the second half before Origi made sure of Liverpool’s coronation.
Salah finds final redemption
Mohamed Salah left the field in tears just half an hour into last year’s final after being cynically hauled down by Sergio Ramos, Liverpool’s 44-goal star striker helpless with a shoulder injury as Real Madrid eventually coasted to a 3-1 win in Kiev.
The Egyptian may not have been as prolific this season with 27 goals in all competitions but washed away bad memories from last year when he slammed home the second-fastest ever goal in a Champions League final from the penalty spot after less than two minutes.
The goal gave his side a cushion that allowed them to get away with a below par display before Origi stepped up to seal the deal.