When Gareth Bale struck twice to win the Champions League Final for Real Madrid last season, Liverpool supporters may not have expected an opportunity to avenge that defeat so soon.
However, just 12 months later they’re back at the top table, and another team in white stands between them and the most coveted prize in European football.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur are surprising finalists but, having overcome Manchester City in the quarter finals and rising from the dead to beat Ajax in the semis, they have to be taken seriously.
Question marks remain over the fitness of Harry Kane; the England striker has missed the last nine games with an ankle injury sustained in April but Pochettino is hopeful that his captain can be involved in some capacity.
“Kane is training, he’s in a good phase of recovery,” he said this week.
“We hope he’s there to help whether that’s from the start, off the bench or as moral support in the dressing room. We’re optimistic that he can be there to help on the pitch.”
Kane’s return would give Liverpool’s defence something to think about, though the flourishing partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip at centre back will be confident of handling whatever Spurs can throw at them.
At the other end of the pitch, Roberto Firmino has been Liverpool’s noticeable absentee towards the end of the Premier League campaign thanks to a muscle issue but is progressing well in his recovery.
Midfielder Naby Keita isn’t faring so well though, with coach Jurgen Klopp admitting that the Guinea international is unlikely to be ready to go next weekend.
“Naby is, I would say, a bit ahead of schedule, but that doesn’t mean anything for the final,” he said.
“He is now doing straight runs and all of that stuff, he feels comfortable with 50 per cent intensity and these things – but there is still a way to go.”
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The Reds beat Tottenham by identical 2-1 scores in their pair of Premier League games and have only lost to Tottenham once since 2012, while winning nine of 14 matches. Their +67 goal difference during league play was 39 goals better than Tottenham (+28).
Liverpool are the stronger, faster team, and are healthier to boot. Currently 1/2 favourites to lift the trophy, there’s a decent argument they should be even shorter.
While Klopp and company are understandably disappointed not to have delivered the club’s first domestic league title since 1990, the fact that they lost just one of their 38 games in the Premier League shows remarkable consistency over a long period of time.
Admittedly, their away form in the Champions League hasn’t been great as they lost all three of their group games on the road and were soundly beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the Camp Nou before turning the semi-final tie on its head at home.
On the flipside, the wins in Germany over Bayern Munich and in Portugal against Porto were very impressive.
The past goes out the window on Saturday night though and overall the signs are good for the Reds to become European Champions for a sixth time.