By Hanning Mbabazi
Having been beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in last season’s final in Kiev, Liverpool were out to exorcise those demons with Jurgen Klopp also seeking his first trophy since becoming the club’s head coach back in 2015.
Given the dramatic nature of this season’s Champions League campaign, it was no surprise to see the final kick off in chaotic fashion as Liverpool were awarded a penalty inside the first 30 seconds of the match. Referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot after Moussa Sissoko was adjudged to have handled Sadio Mane’s cross, and Salah stepped up to fire the penalty over Hugo Lloris and into the net after just 118 seconds.
It was fitting that Salah struck, given that he limped out of last year’s final in tears after being injured following a clash with Sergio Ramos – an injury which also ruined his 2018 World Cup with Egypt. Spurs pressed for a route back into a game which was typified by slack possession and mistakes from both sides, but Liverpool made it two late on as Divock Origi – the Reds’ hero of the semi-final second leg with two goals against Barcelona – struck a clinical finish in the 87th minute.
The win ensured Liverpool lifted their sixth European Cup, adding to previous successes in 1977, 78, 81, 84, and 2005. Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino took the gamble of selecting England captain and main striker Harry Kane despite his not having played since April because of an ankle injury, replacing semi-final hat-trick hero Lucas Moura, but he had no impact. Liverpool lifted the trophy that was taken from their grasp in Ukraine last season and now stand behind only Real Madrid and AC Milan as serial winners of this tournament, the final whistle sparking huge celebrations among players, management and the red wave of supporters in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.