By 90Min
May 31, 2019

When Divock Origi fired in what proved to be the winning goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield, the celebrations around the city were unlike anything seen since Istanbul. 

The unexpected nature of the victory, having been 3-0 down from the first leg, against the team many considered to be the favourites to lift the trophy at the semi-final stage, had a huge hand in that. 

So did the circumstances surrounding the Premier League title race. At that point in time, the Reds knew that no matter what they did with their remaining domestic fixtures, Manchester City had the title in their hands. The victory under the shimmering Anfield floodlights lifted the spirits when they needed it most, as their title aspirations frittered away.

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

More than anything, however, it was the sense of justice that came with reaching the final that sparked jubilation. 

Within 90 minutes of any given game, this is the best Liverpool team most of us will have seen. The consistency shown, from start to finish, is something that was never matched under Rafa Benitez or Gerard Houlier. Even further back, under the great Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly, when Liverpool emerged as one of the dominant forces in England and in Europe, the levels of performance shown by the 2018/19 side would have given them a run for their money. 

Yet all of those teams won major silverware, and Jurgen Klopp's side - arguably the best of them on paper - have not. The victory over Barcelona revived from the dead a realistic chance at a trophy, which seemed all but gone when the team bus pulled in, and gave the current crop of Reds another chance to put themselves on a pedestal alongside their historical peers. 

This is the reason that Liverpool must win against Spurs in Madrid on Saturday; and the fact that they must take the trophy home is the reason they have a stronger chance than ever of doing it. 

That assertion is backed up by the story of their season so far. Cup finals are a different animal from league business, granted, but looking at things logically; how many times have Liverpool gone into games this season, needing to win, and ended up finding a way to do it? 

Barcelona was the latest example, but the same question has been asked at one point or another against Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and indeed Tottenham to name a few, and the answer has generally been the same. In a sense, you could argue the season so far has been tailored to condition Jurgen Klopp's side for the high-pressure environment they are about to step into. 

No matter what, they have relentlessly found a way to get a result when it mattered, regardless of performance on the day. Reason suggests those attributes will be taken into Madrid, and when you consider it is a side largely experienced in European finals - if not at winning them just yet - it is hard not to see them as perfectly prepared.

There are other factors that work in their favour compared to previous finals, of course. Tottenham, as good a side as they are, are not Real Madrid. They're not the great Milan side from the mid 2000s, nor are they on the level of the Juventus or Roma teams Liverpool faced in finals in the 80s. Spurs have lost twice to Liverpool already this season, and that in itself makes the Reds clear favourites. 

When you add it all together, you get a picture of a Liverpool team who, no matter what way you look at it, should win. Nothing is a given, and Spurs have a chance, just as the Reds did against Real Madrid last season. Prior to kick-off, however, there has never been a Liverpool team with a better chance of winning a Champions League final.

It should happen. But if for whatever reason it doesn't, then you have to wonder when, or if, it will.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)