For the first time since 2005, Liverpool are the champions of Europe. The Reds marched into Madrid for the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur, and one year after falling in this very match to Real Madrid they walked off the pitch with a 2-0 victory.
Excitement and controversy came to the match almost immediately. Twenty-three seconds into the match, Liverpool winger Sadio Mane noticed Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko stuck his arm out while he was trying to direct traffic. Mane chipped a ball into the area of Sissoko’s arm, leading to a penalty. It was an instance of the way the rule is written conflicting with the spirit of the rule, because while this more accidentally hit Sissoko’s arm than anything, it was still a handball.
The rest went exactly how you’d expect: Mohamed Salah cooly stepped up, Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris was beaten, and the Reds found themselves with the opening goal.
From there, the first half was relatively drama free. Tottenham had the lion’s share of the ball, but failed to do much of anything. The two sides know each other well, having played a pair of cagey matches in the Premier League this season, and whether it was familiarity or just everyone being a hair off, neither side was able to totally threaten the other. Outside of this nearly magical effort by Andy Robertson, halftime came without much excitement and a 1-0 lead for Liverpool.
Things eventually opened up as the second half went on. Shortly after being subbed on, Liverpool midfielder James Milner ripped an effort from outside the box that would have gone in if the wind was blowing in a different direction.
Spurs started finding opportunities to ask questions of Liverpool, and every time, the Reds answered, whether it was due to their defense or their indomitable goalkeeper, Alisson.
Liverpool stuck the dagger in the heart of Tottenham in the 87th minute. Joel Matip played a ball to Divock Origi, who struck it with his left foot to the bottom corner of the net.
Hundreds of miles away, fans cloaked in red in Merseyside came unglued after Origi slotted the ball past Lloris.
Spurs were unable to pull a rabbit out of their hats, and by the time the final whistle blew, Liverpool were crowned champions of Europe for the sixth time in club history.