·1 June 2023
·1 June 2023
Jurgen Klopp’s men returned to the big stage 12 months after they had lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the 2018 final in Kiev, determined to go one better.
They did so still reflecting on a remarkable Premier League season during which they had finished on 97 points, yet still narrowly missed out on the title to Manchester City.
The intervening three weeks had given them time to reflect upon on a near miss, but also to prepare for their showdown with Spurs after both had negotiated a path to Madrid in thrilling fashion.
Liverpool had looked to be heading out of the competition after the first leg of their semi-final when they went down 3-0 in Barcelona, but two goals each from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum on a memorable night at Anfield rekindled their hopes.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side too needed something special to make it to the final when, with just 35 minutes of their last-four tie against Ajax remaining, they trailed 3-0 on aggregate in Amsterdam only for Lucas Moura to plunder a hat-trick which took them through on away goals.
The scene was set for a classic in Spain, although while the opening was explosive, the game failed to live up to expectations.
The die was cast within 22 seconds of kick-off when Moussa Sissoko was adjudged to have handled Sadio Mane’s cross and referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot.
Mohamed Salah dispatched the resulting penalty past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and although Klopp’s first trophy as Reds boss was not secured until substitute Origi struck three minutes from time, Spurs never really looked like getting back into the game.
The German, who had lost his previous six cup finals, said: “I only want to enjoy that we won it. All the rest is not important.
“I feel mostly relieved, to be honest. Relieved for my family because they are pretty close to me, as you can imagine.
“Six times we always flew on holiday with a silver medal. That doesn’t feel too cool.”
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