Across the continent, eyes are rolled in contempt at the prospect of two English teams making the Champions League final, and even more-so now that the Europa League final will be contested between Chelsea and Arsenal. 

The derision towards the prospect is somewhat understandable. After all, even the most ardent of Premier League fans will understand how arrogant and ostentatious the English media can be amid periods of success. The words ‘it’s coming home’ should come with a trigger warning for those of us non-England supporters who watched the World Cup. 

Media frenzy aside, however, one thing isn’t in doubt. Tottenham and ​Liverpool have been the hungriest teams in the ​Champions League this season. 

You could make a case for Ajax, but on Wednesday night, it was Spurs, and particularly Lucas Moura, who wanted the final that millimetre more. 

Liverpool, meanwhile, scrapped, clawed, fought, sweated, bled, and did absolutely everything within their quasi-mortal powers to ​overcome an insurmountable deficit against Barcelona. And they did it, with a baying Anfield crowd at the source of their perpetual energy. 

It means we will get a final between two of the emerging forces in world football, and signals a much-needed changing of the guard. 


‘Money Breeds Success’

The lazy argument to make is ‘well of course two English teams are in the final, look at the money that is thrown around in the league.’ That holds a degree of weight. La Liga revenue is hitting record highs, after all, while soaring Premier League wage bills continue to knock the operating profits down. 

However, it is the first time since 2008 that we will see a Champions League final that is not contested by one of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. When you consider Tottenham didn’t spend a penny on transfers in the summer, and that Liverpool’s net transfer spend over the last two years comes in around the £100m mark – a squad rebuild on the same price Juventus shelled out for Cristiano Ronaldo – it’s clear to see that argument does not tell the entire story of the forthcoming final.

Further still, if the ‘money breeds success’ argument held universally true, then it would surely be Manchester City representing England in the final, against Paris Saint-Germain. But between those two, they have one Champions League semi-final since the turn of the century. If that doesn’t tell you there is something more at play, then what will? 

The financial argument is a damning indictment of English football, yes, but it is not a damning indictment on Liverpool or Tottenham. 


Patience Is a Virtue

What do the two clubs have in common, then, besides the fact they are English? In their modernity, they have been prepared to take a step back, and be patient. Klopp and Pochettino – both yet to win a major trophy in their established tenures at their respective clubs – have been given time to implement their visions despite indifferent early success. Klopp, after all, once led Liverpool to an eighth place finish and remedied it by signing Christian Benteke.

Pochettino, meanwhile, has been labelled a bottler, unambitious, and never achieving anything at the top level with the current Spurs side. Funny, that.

What we have is a final between two sides who are where they are because of five-star management, forward thinking, and patience. And it is an insult to say otherwise. 

Of course, Liverpool, without a doubt, now have a wage bill that should be competitive at the top end of European football. But so too do a number of teams who haven’t come close to European glory in recent years. 

Finances across the top clubs are generally similar, with one or two outliers, so it goes to show the vast difference that intelligent spending and shrewd management can make. Take Manchester United, for example. They have been run into the ground thanks to gross mismanagement at boardroom level, while Juventus – for all their domestic success – have never yet to converted domestic success into European glory.


Changing Tides

There’s a reason that the Old Lady are ​keen to bring in Jurgen Klopp. Because he is a dynamic, innovative manager, who is ahead of the game in his tactics, methods and recruitment. That, partially, is why the Reds have 94 points and a successive Champions League final, and are on the precipice of becoming the perfect vision of a modern football club. 

Then you have Tottenham, who on paper, should be nowhere near where they are. But Mauricio Pochettino has his players running into brick walls for him, so they’ve completed remarkable comebacks against City and Ajax to reach their first ever Champions League final. It is, of course, ludicrous to suggests that financial reasons even factor in in Spurs’ case. 

Look at Klopp’s Liverpool and Pochettino’s Spurs, and you see something magic that transcends the fact that they are English teams. They each go about things in their own, uncompromising way, coincidental to the fact they play in the Premier League, and have contributed to a change in the tide of European football. 

While both supports have had to be patient in the modern era, for one of them, that is all about to change. 


Source: https://www.90min.com/posts/6365099-champions-league-why-tottenham-vs-liverpool-will-be-a-victory-for-modern-football?utm_source=RSS