Tottenham Hotspur are all set for the biggest game in the club's history as they prepare to face Liverpool in the Champions League final.

They've performed miracles to get here, have been through each and every emotion on this stunning journey and now stand on the edge of immortality. Why, then, is it the case that they should begin such a seismic encounter without their talismanic frontman?

Sorry to say, but Harry Kane is not fit. He is yet to feature for Spurs since going down during the quarter-final first leg victory over Manchester City, the England captain once again damaging ligaments in his ankle.

If this was a regular fixture, Mauricio Pochettino wouldn't think twice about leaving him on the bench. Yes, the occasion is a factor, but it should not override the logic of fielding a starting XI in peak physical condition.

Say Kane is indeed handed a start and goes on to struggle with the pace and ferocity of the match - that's one less substitute at the Spurs coach's disposal and, therefore, one less card he can play to overcome the Reds.

In a game of this magnitude, Pochettino absolutely must keep his options open should things go south and he ends up praying for another remarkable turnaround. What a fool the Argentine would look if he denies himself one of the precious few changes available to him.


It really isn't difficult to imagine Kane ghosting through the contest if he is asked to play the full 90 minutes. The wise choice would be for Pochettino to keep his top-scorer on the bench, ready to come on at a later stage when he will have less toiling to do leading the Lillywhites' challenge.

He remains a lethal finisher, the man the club's supporters would want an opportunity to fall to. If the north Londoners trail Jurgen Klopp's recruits heading into the closing minutes of the Champions League showdown, they will certainly be the side pressing for a goal.

However, Kane may not be there to tuck away the chance if he is already exhausted from earlier exploits, such as holding the ball up for teammates and harassing Liverpool's backline when out of possession.

Bring him on when Alisson's box is being peppered with deadly deliveries from the likes of Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose, when their opponents sit off and defend a lead. That is when Spurs will reap the rewards of having their star man fresh and on the field.

SI Recommends

He may well have been training with the squad, but that by no means guarantees that he can maintain his performance levels for the entire match. Moreover, those around him have been in marvellous form and are hardly poor alternatives.

Were Kane selected, Lucas Moura would probably be the man to make way. It's not exactly the greatest thing for team morale if Pochettino ousts his semi-final saviour for a player that hasn't been seen in over two months.

The Brazilian forward has also been churning out some excellent displays in his counterpart's absence, hitting a hat-trick to complete a staggering comeback against Ajax in the last four.

Moura also grabbed a triple in domestic action, putting Huddersfield Town to the sword as his team strengthened their grip on a top four finish in the Premier League.

If you want to win a football match, you play your best players. 'Best' meaning those that have been firing on all cylinders of late and are currently enjoying a rich vein of form, as they give you the best chance of getting a victory.

Moura is clearly in that category at present. Heung-min Son, too. And why is the South Korean blitzing teams right now? Because he is being deployed in a slightly different position to that which he is given when Kane is spearheading the attack.

It was the 26-year-old's searing pace and purposeful drives forward that proved the difference in the second-leg against City, a weapon he would not have been able to unleash if playing just off the main striker.

Son must be utilised properly at the top of the pitch and afforded the freedom to get at Virgil van Dijk and co. If his manager fails to do that, he is depriving himself of the fantastic attacking outlet that fuelled Tottenham's improbable defeat of the Sky Blues.


That goes some way to explaining why the Lillywhites have a worse record with Kane than without him, when Son becomes the focal point. With Moura and the latter leading the line, the side have vast amounts of speed to penetrate defences, a terrifying prospect for opponents to deal with.

Kane simply does not have such pace and, as a result, is a wholly different threat, though no doubt equally as fearsome. However, the danger he poses is far greater when on-field matters grow tense and play becomes less open.

Let Moura and Son run Liverpool ragged, reward those that got you to this position and keep your trump card ready for when he can make a telling impact on proceedings.