Liverpool FC

Remembering Liverpool's 2019 Champions League final triumph over Tottenham

Ross Jackson
Jun 1, 2021, 4:45 PM GMT+1
Liverpool were crowned European champions back in 2019
Liverpool were crowned European champions back in 2019 / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Imagine making it all the way to the Champions League final - the pinnacle of any footballer's career - and getting beat by a couple of goalkeeping blunders and a once-in-a-lifetime overhead kick.

Dusting yourself off to go again next season would take a lot of mental strength, and that's exactly the task faced by Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side following their 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the 2018 edition of European club football's showpiece event.

Since Klopp's arrival on Merseyside in October 2015 the Reds had shown plenty of signs of progress, but their trophy cabinet remained untouched.

'Progress' is rarely a good enough answer when a manager of a club the size of Liverpool's is pulled in front of the board before being asked what he has to show for his efforts over the past three years, though Klopp's tenure at Anfield was never in question.

They knew they were onto something special - and so it proved.

Liverpool picked themselves up and embarked on one of the most memorable Champions League campaigns for many a year, scraping through the group stage before swatting aside the respective challenges of Bayern Munich and Porto in the first two knockout rounds.

European behemoths Barcelona were all that stood between Klopp's men and consecutive Champions League final appearances, and Liverpool's incredible 4-0 win at Anfield to overturn their 3-0 hammering at Camp Nou a week earlier is a night that will be talked about on Merseyside for years to come.

An all-English affair for the final in Madrid was confirmed 24 hours later as Tottenham produced a comeback against Ajax that could ludicrously be argued was on a par with Liverpool's Anfield heroics against Barça.

Both sides had flirted with multiple exits from the competition and yet somehow found themselves just 90 minutes away from being crowned kings of Europe. Surely this was going to be an absolute classic?

Oh how wrong we were.

Divock Origi fires Liverpool into a 2-0 lead
Divock Origi fires Liverpool into a 2-0 lead / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The tone for the evening was set with just 23 seconds on the clock as Slovenian referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot having punished Moussa Sissoko for criminally having arms.

The Frenchman was lucky not to be sent for an early bath after Sadio Mane aimlessly fired the ball at his chest before it cannoned onto his arm, which he was foolishly using to try and gesture his teammates into position. We're obviously joking, it was an awful piece of refereeing,

A year on from his final heartbreak against Real in Kyiv, Mohamed Salah stepped up to rifle his side ahead with just two minutes on the clock, and from that moment onwards it was Liverpool's crown to lose.

Mauricio Pochettino's men offered very little in the way of a response to the early goal and despite taking control of the ball and enjoying the bulk of the possession, Spurs were unable to truly test Alisson in the Liverpool goal.

Jurgen Klopp lifts the Champions League trophy
Jurgen Klopp lifts the Champions League trophy / Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The surging runs of Andy Robertson down the Reds' left continued to keep the Tottenham backline on their toes, and despite the side from north London's desperation to pile forward as the clock ticked closer to the 90-minute mark, the usually reliable frontline of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen just couldn't get into the game.

The sucker punch came with just three minutes remaining. Spurs failed to clear James Milner's corner despite numerous opportunities, with the ball eventually finding its way to semi-final hero Divock Origi who planted his name even deeper into Liverpool folklore as he picked out Hugo Lloris' bottom corner.

Istanbul in 2005 it certainly was not, though in many ways Liverpool's sixth European crown was more important than their incredible comeback victory over Milan.

The Steven Gerrard inspired team of 14 years prior had never been expected to do what they did and it was hardly as though the win sparked an era of success in the club's history.

Klopp's side's win over Tottenham was their first piece of silverware during the German tactician's reign and it instilled a belief that they could finally put their Premier League hoodoo to bed - something they would do the following season.

It's hard to see a Premier League and Champions League triumph like that being isolated among seasons of nothingness, though whether Liverpool will go on to enjoy a sustained period of success remains to be seen.

But one thing's for sure, getting the monkey off their back by finally winning a piece of silverware under Klopp undoubtedly helped them dominate the Premier League the following season and who knows how many pieces of silverware will follow it.