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The UCL Final Preview

Three days left, the Crown is booked, tickets for the Merrywell purchased, kit is cleaned and the scarf is at the ready. With every moment we draw closer to the big game, the excitement levels increase.

The build up is my favourite part, going out during the day and drinking pints with me dad and mates, talking all things Liverpool related. Strangers coming up to you at the pub, wishing you good luck and explaining how they've always had a soft spot for the reds. We might bump into a few cockneys this year who won't exactly be wishing us well, but that just adds to the days events. I can't wait. But this year, it has a slightly different feel to it, this year Liverpool find themselves as favourites to lift the trophy.

Rewind back to the Europa league final, where Liverpool found themselves playing a formidable Sevilla side, who had returned to the final for the third year straight, having won the competition the previous two seasons. Liverpool had a strong attack, with players like Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge and Lallana, but their defensive frailties revealed themselves and ultimately we fell short of European glory. Two years later, we found ourselves in almost the identical situation, but this time competing in the biggest club competition in the world, against the most successful side in Europe, Real Madrid. Like Sevilla in the previous final, Madrid where competing in their third successive final, winning the previous 2, and like the previous final, Liverpool's defensive weaknesses revealed their ugly head, also known as Karius. However this year is different, we find ourselves being the more experienced of the two sides at this stage of the champions league. We where here just last year, and I'm no Spurs expert but I don't believe they have ever made the final of the European Cup. Liverpool's weakness is no longer it's defence. With the signing of Alisson, who is one of the reasons why we've made it this far, another stellar season under the belts for both our wing backs, Virgil settling in completely and Matip stepping up, our defence is now in fact one of our strengths. It's hard to even recognise if Liverpool have a real weakness at all anymore.

A lot was made before the season started, of how would Liverpool deal with the disappointment of getting beat in the champions league final the way that we did. Well looking back on the response now, its fair to say its been pretty fucking good. I remember reading an interview with Hendo, right after the defeat, and he said something along the lines of, it's just made us more hungry to get back there and win it. I loved his attitude when I read that, but I never believed we would get back as soon as we did. Look where we are now though, and I think every player in that dressing room, will remember that pain and use it to their advantage like they have all season. I wouldn't say I'm overly confident about this tie, there's a few things that concern me, one is the time between the final and our previous game. Of course Spurs have suffered the same fate, but they were in pretty poor form and had some major injuries, so the break is probably the best thing they could have asked for. As for Liverpool, we where on a high, on a rush of momentum and could have used that fresh pain of losing the premier league as extra motivation. However I still don't think that is enough to tip the balance in their favour, if anything it just equals the scales, and at a level heading I still think we beat Tottenham 9 times out of 10. But football is a funny game, and it can throw absolutely crazy swerve balls at you, just like in last years final. Some say Spurs have their name written on the trophy, by drawing with City and Ajax over two legs, when Liverpool have knocked out Munich and Barcelona, and done it whilst looking the better side. Don't get me wrong, you don't get to the final without being a very strong side who deserve to be there, and that's exactly what Tottenham are, but I don't buy into this it's written in the stars thing anymore. I believed that in Kiev, and the stars certainly came crashing down to earth in that game.

I just look at this Liverpool side and see strength everywhere. Experience and leadership all over the park, magic and ability to unlock the most stubborn of defences, speed and hunger, a desire to win at all costs, strength in depth to come off the bench and make a difference, and most importantly a mastermind with an exceptional backroom staff behind him. There's nothing that we're not good at; corners, free kicks, counter attacking, possession football, stretch us wide, make us play central, you name it and we can do it. It doesn't matter, this Liverpool side find a way, and I think this Saturday they will find a way again. I believe Tottenham will come and fight, I believe it will be a boss game, but I just think Liverpools strength will show. There's a reason why Liverpool finished 26 points ahead of spurs in the league, there's a reason we found a way to beat them twice this year. Because we are a better side in every department. But as I have said before, Spurs are still a brilliant side who deserve to be in the final, and you can never 100% predict a game of football.

So for the next few more days, the excitement will continue to build, and with it the amount of topics and arguments will increase in my mind about why Liverpool are the greatest team in all the land. Hopefully on Sunday the only argument we will need is that we've won it 6 times! I can't wait for it all, and look forward to joining my fellow reds here in Perth at the Merrywell, for what will be a night to remember. ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ!

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