Liverpool FC – The Good The Bad and The Ugly – Champions League Special

This time there was no disappointment or dirty tricks, as as Klopp’s boys made it number six. A pretty dull game we all saw, or heard, but to shirk the result would be absurd. A season of small expectation, ended in underestimation, the European Cup held high in jubilation. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Another week reviewed at the world’s favourite football club Liverpool F.C. 

The Good

What can better the achievement of a sixth European Cup triumph? Triumphing over Tottenham Hotspur team in the process. Although it was a performance that many will forget, the result will be etched into footballing history.

Was it the heat in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium? Was it the fact that three weeks have past since the end of the Premier League season and with it, that little bit of match sharpness? Whatever it was, painting a wall and watching it dry would have been marginally less exciting but then who cares? A win is a win nonetheless.

I watched the match in a Kneipe in Cologne. It’s called the Ubierschänke in Kölner Südstadt for those interested, a great place and people to match. Highly recommended if you ever find yourself in the south side of Cologne, and want to watch a game.

Many of those watching, like 99% of those in Jürgen Klopp’s homeland were supporting the Reds and the cause of their best export since beer, BMW and Bosch.

They’d have been disappointed with the performance for sure. A couple of those I sat with left at half time. Saying the game was langweilig (Google it). Despite a tinge of embarrassment, I couldn’t blame them really.

Klopp started with a full strength team. Roberto Firmino returned to the starting line up after missing the 2-0 final day victory against Wolves, replacing Divock Origi who was on the bench. That was the only change to make up a full strength Liverpool side.

An early penalty following a handball by Moussa Sissoko gifted Liverpool an early goal in first minute. Mo Salah dispatching his powerful drive past Hugo Loris between the Tottenham sticks.

The Reds had made a good start. From here on in it was going to be annihilation station… the free-flowing football that almost secured Liverpool the Premier League… er, no!

Credit has to go to Origi who’s 88th minute goal put the game beyond their opponents. The young Belgian has come in for plenty criticism during his time at Liverpool – not least from me.

His awkward playing style and clumsy passes that usually go the opposition. That said, he has scored some important goals this season and he was on hand to drive a low shot across goal and into the bottom corner. cue wild celebrations.

The Bad

They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth and this is true for this game. Liverpool deserved the win, but for the fans, the beautiful football didn’t materialise.

The opening exchanges must have had the physios from both sides fearing a neck injury. The ball going from head to head via the warm Madrid night air, only to be hoisted back the moment it hit the ground again.

“If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.” Brian Clough

The game was just dull. It was like watching an FA Cup fifth round tie on a rainy night in January. The only difference being this wasn’t Doncaster it was Madrid and it wasn’t raining but 25°. Still, the effect on the eye was the same.

Personally, I think it was down more to nervousness. Liverpool we’re looking to banish the memories of last season’s final against Real Madrid. Tottenham seemed to be a bit overawed by the whole occasion.

To be fair to Spurs, they had more shots on goal, 18 versus 16 from Liverpool. Also their eight on target also compared favourably to the Reds’ three. However, stats only go so far. The fact is Liverpool were the more clinical.

These games always deliver a touch of drama and no more so than when they involve Liverpool. Spurs will no doubt feel aggrieved by the penalty that was awarded when Sissoko’s outstretched arm impeded Sadio Mané’s. However, replays clearly show a “hand-to-ball” situation so in this case referee Damir Skomina made the right decision.

And so the Game went on… and on… and on. Tottenham were poor. Liverpool were unable to establish their usual fluency, and the occasion suffered a result. Roberto Firmino has definitely had better games but the rest of the team played their part.

So yes, Liverpool fans, there is no need to look into this nag’s mouth. The teeth may be crooked and the breath bad, but number six it is no less.

The (Sm)ugly

Having lost the Premier League race to Manchester City, this Champions League trophy has more than made up for it. The effort in the league would have won the title in all but one of the last 15 Premiership seasons at least so the seasons performance should not be sniffed at.

Had it not been for a phenomenally strong Manchester City side, Liverpool could well have been looking at an historic double this season. If’sbut’s and maybes of course but in any case, Klopp and his team deserve tremendous credit for (in truth) exceeding expectations this season.

Not many fans expected the team to do so well in the league. To challenge, yes. To run Manchester City so close, no. To get beyond the group stage of the Champions League, yes. To make the final for a second successive year, no.

To bring this season to a close, we can be proud of the team and Klopp. We’ve given them stick on occasion and sometimes deservedly so, but they’ve done incredibly well. They’ve achieved nothing short of what their efforts deserved.

Number six is now in the cabinet, and we can look forward to next season with genuine belief. Reasons to be smug? Well, of course!

Follow Ben on Twitter @MrBengreen