Champions League Final: Three Key Battles

Dean Smith 30 May 2019
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur in action during a Champions League match (PA Images)

With so many superstars set to be on show at the Wanda Metropolitana on Saturday night, it’s tough to see where the Champions League Final could be won and lost. We pick apart three of the key battles that are likely to commence in Madrid as Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool for the chance to win the most coveted trophy in European football.

Jan Vertonghen vs Mohamed Salah

There are few attackers in world football right now that strike fear into defenders quite like Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian superstar can play anywhere across the front three, but has been at his most effective drifting in from the right hand side which will give Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham’s left-sided centre-back, plenty to think about on Saturday night.

Salah has a solid record against Tottenham, scoring three times in his four Premier League matches against the Lilywhites for Liverpool and after the heartbreak he suffered by picking up an injury in last year’s final, he will be keen to shine this time around. In Jan Vertonghen though, he will come up against one of Tottenham’s most consistently solid performers who has enjoyed a terrific Champions League campaign.

Harry Kane vs Virgil van Dijk

One of the stories dominating the lead-up to this Champions League final is Harry Kane’s battle to be fit in time. The Tottenham talisman has been missing since with an ankle injury he sustained in the first-leg of the Quarter Final victory over Manchester City but it seems as though he will be passed fit enough to start, which is huge news for a Spurs side that is reliant on his ability to produce a goal from seemingly nothing.

But in Virgil van Dijk, Kane will go up against arguably the best centre back in the world right now. In his first full season on Merseyside, the Dutchman has been an absolute colossus at the back for Liverpool, not only in terms of his incredible defensive positioning and natural athleticism but also his ability to begin attacking moves from deep which Kane will have to attempt to snuff out at the earliest opportunity.

Christian Eriksen vs Fabinho

In the middle of the park, Fabinho has slowly but surely grown into his role at the base of the Liverpool central three this season. After a slow start, the Brazilian eventually became one of the key players in Jurgen Klopp’s system and he will be tasked with limiting the creativity of the Tottenham midfield on Saturday evening.

Much of that creativity will be channeled through the mercurial Christian Eriksen. The Danish midfielder ended the season with the most assists in the Premier League and he’s capable of a long-distance strike too. Stifling him will be key for the Reds if they are to control the midfield battle as many expect them to do on Saturday night.

MORE: Get our Champions League Final Predictions and Betting Tips here. You can also find our Daily Treble tips, a tasty trio of bets on today’s best football fixtures.

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Champions League Final: Three Key Battles

We pick apart three of the key battles that are likely to commence in Madrid as Tottenham take on Liverpool for the Champions League trophy.