The 2019 UEFA Champions League Final is just 10 days away!
Our Champions League Finals prediction panel all tabbed Liverpool to win with little issue.
Liverpool are odds on favorites to win the finals as well, priced at -210 on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ and -182 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Tottenham is +145 FanDuel Sportsbook NJ at and +150 DraftKings Sportsbook.
While Liverpool are the odds-on pick, they’re not as heavily favored as you’d expect for a team that finished 26 full points ahead of Spurs in the Premier League table (and almost +50 goal differential).
Does the Liverpool – Tottenham Champions League combined starting XI indicate the match up will be as close as oddsmakers think? Chops and Tyler Everett tackle that question. Let’s find out.
Liverpool – Tottenham combined starting XI
Chops: We really didn’t disagree on any of this. No screaming hot takes for the sake of screaming hot takes here.
Tyler: Not at all. Unless I decide to make a sudden and unexpected Daenerys Targaryen heel turn and bang the drum for more Spurs representation just for the sake of balance/entertainment, this is going to be a lot of Chops explaining why a Liverpool player deserves the spot, and me nodding in agreement.
Chops: Damn right!
Chops: Let’s start between the sticks. Alisson was the Golden Glove winner in the Premier League this year. He had 21 clean sheets. He’s come up huge in key moments throughout the year. Easy pick.
Tyler: Hugo Lloris has been solid in his own right, but Alisson has been excellent.
Virgil van Dijk would be a lock regardless of the opponent. The PFA Player of the Year had what might be considered a “bad day,” by his standards, in Leg 1 of the semis at Camp Nou. But he bounced back in a huge way at Anfield, terrorizing Barcelona’s front line and looking like the best player on the pitch for long stretches.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been huge for Liverpool all season, piling up a ridiculous number of assists for a pair of defenders. Joel Matip makes it an all-Liverpool backline, as no Spurs defender has a very compelling case for inclusion in this unit.
Chops: You are wise beyond your years, Tyler Everett.
We had no disagreements at midfield either, although there was at least one close call there.
There’s a reason why Christian Eriksen is possibly going to just stay in Madrid after the finals are over, as Los Blancos have been chasing him for some time now.
The one that was kind of sort of in question was Dele Alli. I respect Alli’s game and would like to see Liverpool buy him–but his advanced stats aren’t as strong as I thought. Fabinho has been incredible as the season has progressed for Liverpool. He deserves a midfield nod as well. My only trepidation is it’s not a 100% given he gets the start. Jurgen Klopp LOVES him some James Milner for important European road games. While I *think* Klopp will select Fabinho on June 1st, it wouldn’t be a total shocker to see a Milner-Wijnaldum-Henderson midfield trio either.
Tyler: Eriksen and Son are both excellent players who made for easy decisions. Son does not get enough recognition as he should for being one of the EPL’s top players. He can change that forever with a big day at Wanda Metropolitano next weekend. Eriksen has had to hold things together for a depleted roster and has done so admirably.
One question we had was whether we should include Lucas Moura here after his second-half magic vs. Ajax. No one will ever be able to take that away from him, but that doesn’t mean he should supplant Alli. While we’re on the subject of players who were extremely impactful in the semis, Moussa Sissoko’s performance in the first leg changed that match after it looked during the opening minutes like Spurs might get buried before halftime. But like Moura, that doesn’t mean he belongs in this XI.
Chops: Much respect to Moura. But those types of performances happen once-in-a-career [immediately regrets typing that].
Tyler: Up top, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané were shoo-ins considering they tied for the EPL lead with 22 goals apiece. Harry Kane was another easy decision as long as he’s healthy, which he seems confident he will be. Because of how how hard it is to predict the form for a player who has been out as long as Kane has been — he has not played since his injury in Leg 1 of the quarterfinals vs. Manchester City on April 9 — he’s this game’s biggest X-factor.
Chops: Speaking of getting fit, let’s not forget Roberto Firmino. He’s often the straw that stirs the Liverpool attack. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bobby outplay Harry all day long, but Kane deserves the nod.
The manager slot is almost a draw here. It’s genuinely difficult to say who has done a better job this year. Klopp has had some head-scratching line-up selections, but he’s been expert at in-game adjustments. Most of all, he’s got Liverpool peaking at the right time. Their best play was at the end of the year.
Tyler: The two most impressive/unlikely outcomes of the UCL this year were a depleted Spurs team knocking off [editor’s note: FFP violating / UEFA misleading] Manchester City in the quarters and a depleted Spurs team knocking off Ajax in the semifinals. We’ve said plenty on this site about Spurs winning both those match-ups, but at the same time, we probably haven’t said enough.
Against City, no Kane, no problem. Against Ajax, no Son for the first leg, no Kane (at all) and down 3-0 on the road at halftime against one of the most fearless teams we’ve seen in the UCL … no problem. There’s no overstating what a job Poch did to get this team here. Based on the Champions League alone, we’d go Poch (I think), but it’s got to be Klopp for the job he did all year leading Liverpool to a historically good EPL point total while navigating his team through a brutal Champions League path from the group stage all the way to the semis vs. Barcelona.
Chops: And that’s it. Liverpool places 7 of the 11. When you step back and look at this, what really stands out is Spurs have more quality attacking options, and Liverpool have the personnel to shut down those options.
As we always write, soccer can be fluky on a game-by-game basis. If Spurs are finishing well on June 1st, they could pull this out. But Liverpool could absolutely over-run them on counter-attacks, especially in the second half. Their fitness is absurd.
This will be a fascinating game to watch as Klopp and Poch chess match the hell out of it.
Tyler: Can’t wait!