Who will win the all-Premier League Champions League final?
Who will win the all-Premier League Champions League final?

Experience vs ambition in Champions League final

HISTORY vs hope. Experience vs ambition. Two clubs 26 points apart on the league table but closer than anyone can call.

This weekend's all-Premier League Champions League final promises to have more drama than Game of Thrones - only you won't get half a million snowflakes complaining about it afterwards.

On the face of it, Liverpool are favourites to win the Big Cup. Their league form was vastly superior to Tottenham's this season; second on the ladder with only one loss all season and the highest points total for a runner-up, 89 goals scored and a miserly 22 conceded.

Tottenham's domestic form was not so impressive; they claimed fourth spot by just one point, losing 13 games across the course of the season, with a goal difference of +22 - that's 45 behind Liverpool.

How to watch Champions League final in Australia: kick off is at 5am, Sunday, June 2 AEST, stream it on Optus Sport. No, it isn't on SBS.

But the Champions League final isn't a cold Monday night against Huddersfield. It's the biggest club game in the world, worth more than $150 million to the winner, and probably twice that many people tuning in to watch the game.

That kind of pressure can inspire or break a player. Will the weight of history and expectation be too much for Jurgen Klopp's team or could Spurs wilt under the spotlight as the club reaches for its first European trophy since 1984's UEFA CUP?

Again, here it seems Liverpool have the edge. This will be the club's ninth European Cup final, and would be their sixth title should they win. And, of course, they were here just 12 months ago, suffering a hard-to-stomach defeat against Real Madrid.

Mohamed Salah is looking in ominous form as Liverpool eye more title glory.
Mohamed Salah is looking in ominous form as Liverpool eye more title glory.

Of the 11 players that started that game in Kiev, it is likely that eight or nine will start against Tottenham, with only infamous goalkeeper Loris Karius (sold) and defender Dejan Lovren (not first choice) missing. Regardless of how much a club's history actually means on the field, the first-hand knowledge of Liverpool's squad puts them in a strong position in Madrid.

And yet, Tottenham are hardly blushing ingenues. This might be the club's first time at the Big Cup Dance but the players have been around the block - former Champions League finalists, World Cup semi-finalists and winners … There are enough individuals in the Spurs starting XI to ensure there will be no wobbly knees comes the referee's whistle.

Rather, this is a battle between two closely matched teams which will likely be decided by fine margins. Something Liverpool will be all too aware of, after their nail-biting second place finish to Manchester City.

Both play a forward thinking pressing game, with only slight differences, with Spurs generally recycling a won ball back into their play while Liverpool look to use the opposition's discomposure to create a scoring opportunity.

Roberto Firmino scored the winner at Wembley. Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Roberto Firmino scored the winner at Wembley. Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Of their two matches in the Premier League this season, Liverpool come out on top, winning both 2-1.

The first game back in September last year, Liverpool were dominant in midfield, with the pace of Mane and Firminho causing all kinds of problems.

The second game, later in the season, was much closer, with Spurs creating enough chances to win the game - see Moussa Sissoko getting owned by Virgil van Dijk - and only lost after a last minute own goal from Toby Alderweireld.

Going back further into the stats, and Spurs have only beaten Liverpool once in their past six meets and that was a fantastic 4-1 performance at Wembley in which Harry Kane humiliated Dejan Lovren. One reason why the Croatian probably won't be stating in Madrid …

Mauricio Pochettino does not have a good record against the Reds either, suffering eight defeats to Klopp's side.

Toby Alderweireld scored the winner at Anfield. Image: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Toby Alderweireld scored the winner at Anfield. Image: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

And to finish the season, Spurs' record was less than impressive - just three wins, two draws and seven defeats in their last 12 games. By contrast, Liverpool won 10 and drew two.

And yet … And yet … a cup final is a special occasion - Liverpool know that more than most. Ninety minutes in which form, good or bad, can be rendered meaningless, statistical arguments reduced to worthless numbers, reputations crumbled to rubble.

So what will it come down to? Mohamed Salah's desire to make good on last year's pain? Harry Kane's ankle? (He says he's good to go but may not start) Klopp's midfield selection? (Which three from Henderson, Fabinho, Milner and Wijnaldum) Dele Alli's ability to turn up in the big games? (It's been an underwhelming season from the gifted 23-year-old.)

In 90 minutes in Madrid, all these elements will matter.

Form suggests a Liverpool win - that breathtaking comeback against Barcelona speaks volumes for the quality and belief of Klopp's side.

But Spurs' equally dramatic victories over Man City and Ajax demonstrate they cannot be taken for granted. They have earned their place in this final.

If you know a fan of either club, just check in with them on Sunday morning. They may want a mate to party with or a shoulder to cry on.