MADRID: Mohamed Salah scored one of the fastest ever goals in a Champions League final and Divock Origi struck late as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid yesterday and won the trophy for the sixth time.
Less than two minutes had been played when Salah smashed in his spot-kick after Moussa Sissoko had been penalised for handball in the area.
A disappointing final never truly got going after that, but Liverpool will not care, as they saw Alisson Becker make several confident saves in the latter stages before substitute Origi drilled in the killer second in the 87th minute.
That led to an explosion of joy from their supporters inside the Metropolitano Stadium as Jurgen Klopp’s side made up for their defeat in last year’s final against Real Madrid and the deflation of missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City.
Salah has his redemption after injury ruined his night against Real in Kiev, and the revered Klopp has his first trophy as Liverpool manager, three and a half years on from his arrival at the club. The German ends a run of six straight defeats in finals.
More importantly, Liverpool have their sixth European Cup, further cementing their status as one of football’s most storied clubs.
They now have more than Barcelona or Bayern Munich, and twice as many as their great rivals Manchester United.
Perhaps the occasion was just too much for Tottenham in their first ever appearance in the Champions League final. Beating Liverpool was always going to be a big ask, and they have now lost all three meetings with these opponents this season, winning just one of their last 15 encounters.
Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to start Harry Kane after nearly two months out did not pay off, and he is still looking for his first trophy after five years in charge.
Nevertheless, if they can keep him, and with the impetus from the move to their new stadium, maybe they will be back on such a stage before long.
That they were here at all was remarkable, Lucas Moura’s sensational hat-trick that dumped out Ajax in the semi-finals capping a memorable Champions League season all round.
The stage was set for this match, only the second all-English final, but after all the hype and the stories of fans paying thousands for tickets for a game they simply could not miss, this was a strangely subdued affair between the two goals.
Perhaps the stakes were simply too high, or perhaps the three-week break since the end of the Premier League season was to blame.