Ahead of Liverpool's meeting with Tottenham Hotspur in the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid, we gathered the expert views of 10 members of the nation's media.
Here, Paul Joyce, James Pearce, Chris Bascombe, Dominic King, Brian Reade, Andy Hunter, David Lynch, Matt Smith, Ian Dennis and David Maddock assess the Reds' chances of claiming a sixth European Cup...
Liverpool are back in the Champions League final for a second successive season - can they go one better this time?
James Pearce (Liverpool Echo): They will certainly start as favourites against Tottenham, who the Reds beat home and away in the Premier League this season. After the agonising near misses of recent years, it's time to lift that first trophy of Jürgen Klopp's reign.
Chris Bascombe (Telegraph): Of course they can. There is no set of players in the world more deserving of a trophy given their progress over the last four years. There have been too many near-misses for an assortment of reasons – a bit of bad luck, some self-inflicted errors, formidable and powerful opposition – but this final feels like the best opportunity yet for Klopp to secure that first trophy as Liverpool’s coach.
Dominic King (Daily Mail): The first thing to say about this question is to consider the situation: a Liverpool team back in a European Cup final two years on the trot? It really is an outstanding achievement. The pursuit of the Premier League title rather overshadowed progress in Europe this season but here they are, once again, in the continent’s biggest game. That alone tells you how well equipped they are to win the European Cup for the sixth time. They are, without question, one of the top three teams in Europe. They most certainly can go one step better.
Brian Reade (Daily Mirror): Definitely. We know how good Spurs can be and they know all about Liverpool, so it will be a tough game. But Liverpool have grounds for confidence. Not just because they've beaten Spurs twice this season and finished 26 points ahead of them in the league, but because this is the first time in four attempts Klopp has taken Liverpool to a final with a team he is totally happy with, from front to back. One which has nothing to fear. And the bookies agree.
Paul Joyce (Times): They will be favourites, which is unusual for a Klopp side in a final. Usually his team plays the role of underdog. That brings an added pressure, but Liverpool have better players than Tottenham. It's up to them to perform now.
Ian Dennis (BBC Radio 5 Live): I think so yes. If you think back to the two Premier League meetings between the two teams this season there’s no reason why not. It’s going to be a weird few days I think because we have four English sides competing in two European finals. I think Liverpool will go into this game with a lot of confidence.
Matt Smith (BT Sport): I think so yes. Obviously, that doesn’t discount the fact that Tottenham are a very good team whoever they pick, but I just feel that Liverpool will try to use last year as a reminder of how it can end in tears really.
David Lynch (Evening Standard): The heartbreak of last year in Kiev and the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the Premier League title this year are ample motivation for Liverpool to get their hands on the cup this time. Given the quality of the football we've seen from the Reds year and the points gap between the two teams contesting the final, you'd have to make them big favourites.
Andy Hunter (Guardian): Of course. Liverpool finished 26 points above Tottenham in the Premier League and their superior quality and consistency in that competition is matched by their greater experience in Europe.
David Maddock (Daily Mirror): Of course they can! Any side that beats Barca 4-0 in a semi final second leg has to be favourite to lift the trophy. Last year’s experience will help this time around.
What makes Liverpool better equipped to win it this year?
Pearce: Experience is a big part of it. Most of these players were involved in Kiev a year ago. Everything that surrounds a major final isn't new to them. The other big difference compared to 12 months ago is the identity of the man between the posts. Alisson Becker has been a revelation during his debut season for Liverpool. Fabinho has also made a big impact in midfield. This is a stronger, more resilient and more street-wise Liverpool side.
King: Experience. Looking back at last year’s final, I think there were moments when the occasion was a little too much for the team, that it was one step too far. I am not for one moment underestimating Tottenham’s threat but this is Liverpool’s third European final since 2016 compared to Tottenham’s first final in any competition since 2007. How players deal with the emotion, the build up and the circumstances is crucial and Liverpool’s group are now streetwise.
Bascombe: History shows us when you get to a final, every weakness or flaw which can be hidden during a season or a run to the final gets exposed when it matters. That has been Liverpool’s undoing in their last three European finals going back to 2007. Players who you were worried about before the game lived up to low expectations. The greatest frustration in Basel in 2016 and Kiev in 2018 was the goals gifted to Sevilla and Real Madrid. Those weaknesses are no longer evident in this side. I would hope Spurs will have to work much harder to score than was the case for Sevilla and Real.
Reade: The answer in one is the number one goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, Who has been outstanding all season, with some key saves in Europe keeping Liverpool in the competition. His presence spreads a calmness throughout the defence and the contrast with the goalkeeping situation going into last year's final could not be starker.
Joyce: The experience of being in last season's final means the build-up will become less exhausting. It is interesting that Spurs are going to Madrid on Wednesday and Liverpool on Friday. The hurt of losing to Real Madrid last season should also underpin motivation further. Also, going so close in the Premier League can help. Liverpool know they are a good team.
Dennis: I think their experience, the fact that they have Alisson now together with Van Dijk has made a massive difference to Liverpool. I just think from an all-round point of view they have got the solidity of Alisson and Van Dijk, the threat the full-backs provide in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, and then you have got a front three who would cause any team in the world problems if Firmino is fit. Liverpool just seem better equipped this time.
Smith: I think Liverpool are a better team than they were last season. Obviously they had their own injury last year in Mo Salah which kind of disrupted their plans. Although Van Dijk was there he is now a year in and with respect to Loris Karius, Alisson is a better pair of hands at the back. I think they will probably be at full strength with the likely omission of Naby Keita. So, good choices and nice kind of problems for the manager to have. Don’t discount Spurs but for me it is one of those that seven times out of 10 I see Liverpool winning.
Lynch: The biggest difference is that defensive unit, which deservedly finished up having conceded fewer goals than any other Premier League team this season. They've got a world-class goalkeeper between the sticks, an even more settled Van Dijk at the heart of the defence, the brilliant Fabinho providing a shield in front of them - and all this allied to the attack that was the main reason behind last year's run to the final. They look infinitely more balanced across the park than last time out.
Hunter: The painful experience of last year's final, a better goalkeeper and greater strength in depth. The lack of options on the bench was a telling factor in Kiev.
Maddock: Alisson is a massive upgrade, no doubt. Him apart, it will be a remarkably similar team to the one that started last year’s final, with perhaps only Fabinho coming into the midfield, and Matip replacing Lovren. Alisson offers massive confidence to the defence, though, and the rest of the team has far more experience now, and a genuine belief they can win.
Is it a case of unfinished business for Mohamed Salah in Madrid?
Pearce: Definitely. I'm expecting a big performance from the Egyptian. It was so cruel what happened to him in Kiev. Liverpool were on top in that final before Salah walked away in tears. Some players wait their entire careers to try to make up for a crushing setback like that but 12 months on Salah will be back out there in the biggest game in European club football. He will be fired up and ready to deliver.
Bascombe: A Champions League final can often seem like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When Salah was injured so early last year he could not have imagined he would have such a swift opportunity to erase those memories. It is impossible to imagine anyone will be more motivated than him in Madrid – although this equally applies to every Liverpool player who went through the experience of 2018. World-class players usually deliver on these occasions. It'd be great to see Salah score and then stop for an interview for a change - everyone who writes about Liverpool has been so nice about him since he arrived so after two years we're getting a bit paranoid that he never talks to us!
King: I know plenty of supporters who believe if fate has a hand, Salah scores the winning goal this time. His was a huge story in Kiev but Liverpool are not a one-man team and there are many other players who want to put things right after they saw Real Madrid lift the trophy 12 months. Salah was heartbroken, of course, but what about Jordan Henderson, the captain who dreamed of lifting the trophy, and Sadio Mane, whose goal looked as if it was going to put Liverpool on the cusp of winning?
Reade: Whether the final had been held in Madrid or Malmo this game was always going to offer him a shot at redemption after last year's cruel and crushing exit. You don't leave the biggest game in your life in tears after a serious injury, which was totally avoidable, and watch the next 65 minutes, unable to help your team win the world's number one club trophy, without wanting desperately to be back as soon as possible for a chance to put it right. Then get that chance so soon. In the back-yard of the man who crocked you.
Joyce: Liverpool will hope he feels like that. Klopp will want a motivated Salah who works hard for the team first and foremost. He has the potential to leave his mark on the final.
Dennis: Knowing what Salah would say, he would say he would prefer Liverpool to win rather than for him to do anything. But any sportsman wants to try and make his mark on the highest stage and what happened 12 months ago would have left him very disappointed, not only because of that but there was the knock-on effect because it clearly hindered him for the World Cup. Without a doubt he will be wanting to try and make amends.
Smith: I don’t know it it’s unfinished business. Obviously what happened last year I guess will be in his mind. I’m sure Salah would love to be the matchwinner, wouldn’t they all? But I’m sure he would also say that it doesn’t really matter whether it’s him as it’s us.
Lynch: You can certainly imagine Salah seeing it that way. There would be no more fitting goalscorer in the final than the Egyptian, who was cruelly robbed of the opportunity to show the world what he was all about in last year's final. He'll be extra determined to make an impact on European football's showpiece fixture for that reason, which is bad news for Tottenham.
Hunter: Yes, but that is true of every Liverpool player who suffered in Kiev.
Maddock: Believe me, he’ll just want to win, not think about Kiev. In fact, he’s probably more likely to want to make up for the disappointment of the semi final. He missed a big chance in the first leg against Barca, and then was ruled out of that incredible second leg with concussion, so no doubt he’ll want to repay his teammates for getting him to the final against all odds.
How tough is the threat posed by Tottenham?
Pearce: I think it's a tougher test for Liverpool than if Ajax had got through. Playing a Premier League rival means there will be no surprises. Both teams know each other inside out. Pochettino has done a brilliant job at Spurs and they command respect. They were unfortunate to lose at Anfield back in March.
Bascombe: Watch the second half from the Premier League game at Anfield again. Did anyone play so well against Liverpool at Anfield this season? Certainly not domestically. They have experience, pace, a world-class manager and a fighting quality evident in the number of late goals they score – not least to complete their semi-final comeback. To overcome Manchester City over two legs needs performances close to perfection. It is fair to say most Liverpool supporters would have preferred to meet Ajax.
King: Huge. It would be foolish and disrespectful to overlook Tottenham. It may sound odd to say but to believe they have produced the best performances of an away team at Anfield in the last two seasons. They were certainly desperately unlucky to lose 2-1 when the sides last faced each other in March.
Reade: Ask Manchester City and Ajax. It's tough. But I feel with it being this group's first time in a European final, which they didn't really expect to see, they may at first be over-awed, whereas Liverpool won't be. The game will, at times, have the feel of an English derby. As Klopp found out in the all-German final of 2013 this will be like an FA Cup Final played abroad. And anything can happen.
Joyce: The games between the two sides are usually close and, certainly, it seems like Ajax would have suited Liverpool more. Tottenham's route to the final shows them to be 'mentality monsters' as well. Tottenham will have periods when they are on top. They are dangerous opponents.
Dennis: It will be a tough test they are going to pose because away from the top two I think Tottenham are the closest side to Liverpool and Manchester City. There is also a rather worrying stat that in seven out of 10 two-legged all English ties in the European Cup, the sides lower in the league table have prevailed. Everybody will look at the two Premier League games that Liverpool won this season but I think you have got to discount that because that would be dangerous. Liverpool might have finished 26 points ahead of Tottenham in the Premier League but I think it would be wrong for people to think it’s a given that they win this game.
Smith: It’s tough. They have obviously got a dilemma of their own. If Harry Kane is ready to start then do you change what has been a pretty successful formula? Tottenham have two different ways of playing. If they play with Lucas Moura and Son they are quick and can play dangerous counter-attacking football, but if Kane plays there’s more composure, arguably better finishing, more strength from set-plays, so it will be a toss up if everyone is fit as to what Pochettino does. I would imagine it might well be Kane on the bench.
Lynch: Although Spurs were beaten twice by Liverpool in the league this season, both games were decided by a single goal, and you can probably expect similar here. Mauricio Pochettino is a fantastic coach who sets his team up well and is even better at changing things if games aren't going Tottenham's way. Factor in the quality of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min, Toby Alderweireld... we could be here all day listing their top players. In short, it's going to be tough!
Hunter: Spurs pose a formidable threat, as they showed in the second half at Anfield in March. To overcome Ajax and Manchester City in the manner they did – and with their resources stretched – was a sign not only of quality but outstanding team spirit. Klopp marked them out as the biggest challengers to City along with Liverpool before last season started.
Maddock: They're a good team, and they will know Liverpool’s game inside out (and vice versa, obviously). So it’s no gimme. Klopp will have confidence though, because he has a fine record against Spurs, losing only one in nine meetings. In fact, Liverpool have lost only one in their previous 14 encounters with the London club, so they will be confident.
If Harry Kane does play, how key could his battle with Virgil van Dijk be?
Pearce: If Kane is fully fit and firing then that tussle with Van Dijk will be one of the key battles that decides the final. Kane is a class act and a complete centre-forward. However, having not played since early April, it might actually play into Liverpool's hands if Spurs start Kane as it takes time for a striker to get his sharpness back after a lengthy spell out. I'd actually be more concerned about handling Lucas Moura, who caused Liverpool problems at Anfield.
Bascombe: A fully fit Kane would be Liverpool’s greatest threat. Whether he features or not, he will not be 100 per cent. That is a problem for Spurs. Realistically you would expect Kane to start on the bench. From a neutral perspective it is a shame for the game Kane v Van Dijk probably won’t be billed as the heavyweight match-up. Obviously Liverpool will be grateful if Kane’s role is limited.
King: I don’t think this question needs to start with ‘if’; I will be amazed if Kane does not play. He has to play, given his importance to Tottenham and how standing at the club. Even if he is only 70 per cent fit, his ability in the penalty area and his tenacity will make him a fearsome opponent. Van Dijk will not take him for granted.
Reade: Is that the same Van Dijk who throughout the entirety of last season was never dribbled past once?
Joyce: It is difficult to see Kane starting having not played since April 9 due to injury. Van Dijk will not be too worried by whoever he faces given his form this season, but it is important not forget Joel Matip who has been very good in the second-half of the season.
Dennis: From a physical contest viewpoint, everything. All of a sudden there is a striker there who is going to try and dominate Van Dijk. He holds the ball up well, but obviously fitness might be a concern for Kane. I just think he is a bit of a talisman for Tottenham. People have said Spurs could play better without him but if Kane is fit then that gives Tottenham a massive lift to a huge final for them, bearing in mind that they are looking to try and win it. I do think it’s hugely important for Tottenham that Kane is fit.
Smith: These things always get built up don’t they, the kind of personal battles in a team environment. I’m not sure it’s ever quite that simple. I guess it sometimes plays out but often it doesn’t because Kane might go and stand on the other centre-half, possibly Joel Matip. If it is Kane and Van Dijk then I don’t see anybody else who has got the better of Liverpool’s No.4 in a one-versus-one, so I don’t see why Kane should.
Lynch: Judging by what other top strikers have done this season, Kane will look to drift as far away from Van Dijk on the pitch as possible should he start. Perhaps more interesting than that duel is whether Pochettino decides to start his main man given his tendency to start slowly when coming back from injury. He would be an incredible option from the bench.
Hunter: They are both key to their team's chances and getting the upper hand will be essential, although it was noticeable how Kane took up positions away from Van Dijk in the Premier League game at Anfield. He's not daft.
Maddock: Being passed fit and being match fit are very different things. If Kane is 100 per cent, then it’s the key battle of the final. Don’t believe all that nonsense that Spurs are a better side without him, on top form at peak fitness, he’s world class - there are few better. But he seems to need a few games to rediscover his rhythm after injury, and he won’t get those. So maybe Van Dijk has the edge.
How crucial is it for Liverpool that Roberto Firmino can start?
Pearce: It's vital. There's a good reason why Klopp refers to Firmino as 'the engine' of the team. Liverpool don't have a like-for-like replacement. They need the Brazilian to lead the line.
Bascombe: It is crucial, although how many expected Liverpool to beat Barcelona 4-0 without Firmino and Salah? When you get to a final you want your strongest side and Firmino is part of that. That said, the most celebrated goals of the season were scored by Divock Origi so it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of him contributing again.
King: If a world-class player can be underrated, then Firmino is in that bracket. I don’t believe a wider audience appreciate how good he is and how much better Liverpool are for his presence in the starting line-up. The images of him doing extra training are encouraging and, as is the case with Kane, I would be shocked if he does not start in Madrid.
Reade: There is no like-for-like replacement for Firmino, although as Barcelona found out you can change tactics and someone like Divock Origi won't let you down. But Firmino is the glue that holds this side's attacks together. It will be a massive boost if he is fully match-fit and firing.
Joyce: Liverpool are a better team when he is in the side, and he has scored against Tottenham twice this season, but the Barcelona semi-final showed that focusing on the importance of one player can be misleading. Liverpool's greatest strength is the team.
Dennis: When I covered Liverpool in Porto in the first half he was on the bench and Origi’s work-rate wasn’t the same as Firmino. When he came on you saw an automatic impact in terms of his work-rate off the ball and what he does for the team. It was no surprise then that Liverpool put in such a strong second-half performance and Firmino being fit for the final is absolutely vital to Liverpool. It’s not just the threat he poses in front of goal, it’s what he does for the team, the way he drops back, the way he chases, his work ethic is just fantastic. Firmino is absolutely key to Liverpool.
Smith: I think that is important. While Origi has done reasonably well for Liverpool I think Firmino gives you something different. He asks different types of questions to the opposition because he joins in more and plays back to goal better than anybody else. I think if you asked Salah and Mane who is the most important player to have in and around their part of the pitch, their answer would probably be Bobby Firmino.
Lynch: It was fairly instructive that the second leg of the semi-final was Liverpool's first European game under Klopp that Firmino has failed to feature in. He is such a crucial cog in this team: his selfless runs to empty the box are the main reason Mane and Salah managed to earn a share of the Premier League Golden Boot this season. His injury was less severe than Kane's, for example, and so he faces less of an uphill battle to fight his way back into the team. If he's fit, he starts.
Hunter: Firmino makes the Liverpool attack function at a higher level than any possible alternative, it's as simple as that. A lack of match sharpness may be a concern though.
Maddock: Given Origi's performance in the semi against Barca? Not that crucial! He’ll be fit though, and yes, the inference in the question is correct. Firmino is a key element of Liverpool’s style, and him being back for the final allows them to play their optimum game.
Besides Kane, who are Tottenham’s other major threats to Liverpool?
Pearce: Lucas Moura has really impressed me and Son has had a brilliant season. Kane aside, they are two big threats for me.
Bascombe: They have pace aplenty with Son and Moura and their full-backs are as adventurous as Liverpool’s. With Kane working his way back from injury, the biggest threat Tottenham possess is their manager. He is tactically brilliant and can change a game from the bench. The biggest compliment I can pay Pochettino is if Klopp left Liverpool – and hopefully that will not be the case for many, many years – the Tottenham manager would be the obvious candidate to be a Liverpool manager. These two managers have transformed perceptions of their side since joining their clubs.
King: Dele Alli played better in the semi-final than at any point I have seen him this season and - as a goal in a World Cup semi-final shows - he is blessed with a big game temperament. Son is class and is Tottenham’s equivalent of Firmino while Moussa Sissoko has had a brilliant season. Make no mistake that Tottenham have players to wreck Liverpool’s ambitions.
Reade: Son has had an excellent season and can score goals out of nothing. As Ajax found out, Lucas Moura too can turn a game on its head. And Christian Eriksen is one of the finest strikers of the ball from distance in Europe.
Joyce: Son, Lucas Moura, Eriksen... they have lots of good players and Pochettino is a clever manager who can influence games with tactical changes.
Dennis: Son. I think he’s the driving force if you like for Tottenham. I know you could say if Kane doesn’t play they could have greater mobility with Lucas Moura. I think Son has had another terrific season, I really do like him. His running with the ball, his movement, and his combination with Eriksen is something Liverpool definitely need to keep an eye on.
Smith: Clearly Son and Lucas Moura, as we have seen in the Champions League, are more than capable of getting a goal or more. But for me the key man for Tottenham is Eriksen, because he plays a bit deeper now because they have more options up front. He plays in the midfield three but has the licence to wander further forward sometimes into the wider areas. If you let Eriksen get his head up with the ball at his feet he is dangerous. He is also very dangerous from free-kicks, corners and also in open play. He has got a brilliant long range strike on him and the ability to thread a pass through the eye of a needle, so he is one to worry about.
Lynch: Lucas Moura certainly showed he can be a goal threat with his semi-final hat-trick but I'd have to go for Christian Eriksen as the main man to watch out for. In tight, hard-fought finals, set-pieces can be absolutely crucial, and he is such a threat from them. Whether putting the ball on the head of Kane, Alderweireld or Vertonghen, or curling a free-kick into the top corner, the Dane has the potential to turn the game in his team's favour in one moment. Liverpool will have to be switched on about where they give fouls away and in marking from corners to negate this.
Hunter: Son is the biggest danger – and can be even more threatening when Kane is absent – while Eriksen is hard to contain on his day.
Maddock: Eriksen is top class. If Liverpool have struggled at all in big games (and the final against Real was an example) then it has been because their midfield has been put under pressure though quality of press resistance and passing. Modric and Kroos were outstanding at that in Kiev, and Eriksen has similar qualities. He can beat the press and create momentum and attacking positions with his passing, and he’s perhaps the biggest threat.
How crucial could the impact of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold be for the Reds?
Pearce: Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are so important to this team with the quality they provide from wide areas. If they are at their dazzling best going forward then Liverpool will be very difficult to stop.
Bascombe: Look at the assists record - it'sobvious how important they are. Tottenham will have spent most of the last three weeks working out how to stop Liverpool’s full-back pushing on and delivering from wide areas. Few have succeeded in doing so all season. If you try to attack them it leaves space for counter-attacks, but sitting deep makes it virtually impossible to prevent their overlapping runs. They have become the best full-back duo in the world by quite a distance.
King: I don’t know what I can add that is new to say about these two. Their energy is remarkable, the assists they have provided have been off the scale and you saw in the opening 30 minutes of the Anfield league game how much damage they did when given the space to attack. They are equally as important as the front three.
Reade: Statistics, as well as the human eye, tell us they are the best full-back pairing in Europe. If Liverpool score a couple in Madrid the chances are at least one of those goals will have come from a Robertson or Alexander-Arnold assist.
Joyce: Their impact has been huge and means Liverpool are very difficult to contain. If opponents are thinking about them, then they have to be very concentrated and focused to also thwart the threat of Salah, Firmino, Mane etc. Trying to limit the full-back's influence will surely be part of Pochettino's plan. Can Trippier and Rose force Robertson and Alexander-Arnold to defend more than they attack?
Dennis: I've said this year that I think Alexander-Arnold is the best right-back in the country talking from an England point of view. I’ve been a massive fan of Robertson since he was at Hull City. He was a great signing for Steve Bruce at Hull and for Liverpool to pick him up is just one of the best bits of business. The fact that the pair of them just drive forward and get up and down that flank and do the defensive side so well, yet provide an outlet for the attack is key. They have both been brilliant.
Smith: They are massive for Liverpool. Because of the way Klopp sets up the team the three in middle of the park are kind of soldier-esque in some ways. That is because the full-backs go so high and get round the back so much and have such great delivery as we have seen. I think that’s a potential area of relative weakness for Tottenham. With respect to them Trippier is not in the form of his life, Aurier I doubt will be fit. Danny Rose has played well for them but I think Liverpool’s full-backs should have joy.
Lynch: The assist statistics say everything about the importance of these two - they take on the creative load that is generally the job of central midfielders in other teams. It's a fascinating quirk of Klopp's setup and, given the distance between the two on the pitch, very difficult for the opposition to stop. The quality of their crossing when they enter the final third could be the difference between victory or defeat.
Hunter: They are essential to how Klopp has wanted his team to play this season, with his midfield more compact, and the amount of assists that both have underlines how successful the tweak in tactics has been.
Maddock: Again, the inference in the question is correct. They are the club’s supply route, the main source of assists, and tactically, Klopp sets up to create space down the flanks through an overload. So both will need to be on top of their game in the final, especially as Spurs have been unsure in the past whether to go with a four or five at the back, against the Reds.
Where will the final be won and lost?
Pearce: I can't see it being cagey. It will be intense and open. It will come down to which backline is best able to nullify their opponents' attacking threat. In that department Liverpool have the edge.
Bascombe: In last year’s final, once Salah went off Liverpool lost their confidence and control. The lack of midfield balance was exposed as Luka Modric ran the game. Other than Eriksen - who plays higher up the pitch anyway - I am not sure there is anyone in Spurs’ midfield who could dominate Liverpool in that way. The emergence of Fabinho has added another dimension in the second half of the season and if he is at his best it could make all the difference. Tactically, the pre-match dilemmas are for Pochettino. Does he try to surprise Liverpool and attack? Very risky. Or is the game plan to use Spurs’ pace to counter-attack. I suspect the latter.
King: I genuinely think it will come down to handling the occasion. There are no secrets in terms of what each team can do and what talent they have; the pressure of playing for such a big prize can do funny things, though, and whoever holds their nerve best will win.
Reade: In the courage and mental strength of the players' minds.
Joyce: Liverpool have had periods in recent matches against Tottenham where they have had not translated dominance into goals The game then becomes more tense. Klopp will know the importance of his side being ruthless in attack.
Dennis: It will be won and lost through the quality of who takes their chances. Tottenham this year have scored a lot of their goals in the Champions League in the second half of their matches. If that’s the case and Liverpool come out of the traps, then by then they might have already taken their chances and be in a strong position by the break. So, it will be won and lost by the quality of the attacking line-ups. Liverpool have an undisputed world-class goalkeeper in Alisson, the backline very rarely gets breached by many and Tottenham are going to have to really pull it out of the bag if they are to really test Liverpool. I just feel Liverpool’s quality of their front three in Salah, Firmino and Mane, they would cause nightmares to most defences.
Smith: Basically if Liverpool play as they can they should win. But it’s a final and Tottenham are no mugs. They will also know and I’m sure Pochettino will say as well, for them this won’t come around regularly, certainly for this collection of players they have. They will go kitchen sink and as we saw in the semi-final this is a team that never assume they are beaten right until that final whistle goes. I don’t see this game being a hammering and the teams know each other pretty well and Spurs will be set up to try and repel what Liverpool offer. But, all things being equal and that’s as much as we can say predictions wise, it should be a red day.
Lynch: Central midfield is often decisive in these big games and I can't see this one being any different. It will be intriguing to see how Tottenham set up in there to try and nullify Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, while the interesting thing from Liverpool's perspective is how well they press and close space on a pitch that is bigger than Anfield. Whichever teams wins the battle in the centre of the park should dominate possession and make it count.
Hunter: Both teams possess outstanding forwards and creativity but Liverpool have the edge defensively and that could be crucial.
Maddock: In midfield. Most games are. If Liverpool’s press works in stifling Eriksen and hurrying the Spurs midfield (as they did so well at Wembley earlier in the season) then they will win, because Tottenham are vulnerable if sides can get at their defence.
Finally, your score prediction?
Pearce: 3-1 Liverpool.
Bascombe: Having predicted Liverpool would win the Premier League this season, only to see them fall short by a point, I would rather steer clear of suggesting who will win this time. I predict Liverpool will play very well. No more than that. Liverpool’s two finest away performances this season were at Manchester City and Camp Nou. They lost both games. I am sure Klopp would accept the same level of performance in the final… but obviously a different result.
King: Liverpool win by two goals.
Reade: Same as this season's two league games: 2-1 to Liverpool.
Joyce: Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Liverpool.
Dennis: 2-1 Liverpool.
Smith: 3-1 Liverpool.
Lynch: Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham.
Hunter: Liverpool to win 2-1 or on penalties.
Maddock: Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur.