Liverpool face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on Saturday night as the European football season draws to a close with an all-Premier League tussle.

Runners-up last term, the Reds are back to contest their ninth final in the competition and are seeking to win the European Cup for the sixth time.

Spurs make their debut in UEFA's showpiece match and are the eighth different English club to reach the final - more than any other country.

The Champions League trophy is destined for England but will it end up in Liverpool or London? Here are three key battles that could decide the outcome of the 2019 final in Madrid...

Jan Vertonghen v Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah heads into the 2019 Champions League final full of confidence, having scooped the Premier League Golden Boot, but, perhaps most crucially of all, with unfinished business in European football's flagship competition.

Injured after half an hour of last year's showdown with Real Madrid, the supremely talented No.11 has an extra bit of motivation having earned another shot at landing the European Cup.

The Egyptian forward is in tip-top form too. A streak of five goals in his last seven matches has taken his tally for the season to 26 - but he doesn't just score goals, he scores important goals.

Ten of Salah's strikes this season have been game-winners or go-ahead goals and, across all competitions, Liverpool have won each of the 21 games in which he has scored.

All eyes will be trained on the forward in Madrid and particularly those belonging to Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen, who is likely to be the man charged with attempting to limit Salah's impact.

The 32-year-old Belgian helped his nation reach the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and is certainly not the type of player to shy away from a challenge.

Vertonghen started Tottenham's thrilling 3-2 semi-final comeback win at Ajax wearing a face mask having suffered a nasty head injury in the first leg and after injuring his ankle in the return match in Amsterdam played on undeterred to the final whistle before eventually leaving the Johan Cruyff ArenA on crutches and wearing a protective boot.

The Spurs No.5 has since declared himself fit and 'super good' ahead of Saturday's final against Liverpool.

Normally a left-sided centre-back, Vertonghen can also play as a left-back and even excelled as left wing-back during Tottenham's 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.

Christian Eriksen v Fabinho

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho started only one of Liverpool's Champions League group-stage games as he was given time to settle into the team following his summer move from AS Monaco.

He's since played all but 13 minutes of the six knockout fixtures in the competition and established himself as a vital cog in Jürgen Klopp's machine.

The way he shut down five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi during the Reds' astonishing 4-0 semi-final second-leg win against Barcelona at Anfield was a defensive midfield masterclass and exemplified Fabinho's importance to the team.

Playing in front of the back four, the 25-year-old hassled and harried Messi from the first minute to the last, despite picking up a harsh booking early on for a well-timed tackle on Luis Suarez, and limited the Barca lynchpin to just 64 touches during the entire game - only one more than himself.

Aggressive in the tackle when Messi did get on the ball, Fabinho helped cut off the supply line with 11 regains at Anfield and was assured in possession too, with an impressive 89.6 per cent pass completion rate.

Fabinho v Lionel Messi heatmap

The No.3 will likely be pitted against another key playmaker in Tottenham's Christian Eriksen on Saturday night and if he can repeat the quality of his semi-final performance it could play a vital role in turning the match in Liverpool's favour.

Denmark international Eriksen has been one of Spurs' best performers during the 2018-19 campaign and his contribution in the Champions League has been particularly crucial.

The midfielder scored at Wembley to secure a vital 1-0 win over Inter Milan that kept Tottenham in the competition during the group stage and provided two assists for Son Heung-min as they edged past Manchester City on away goals in the quarter-finals.

Often deployed as the attacking tip of Mauricio Pochettino's midfield set-up, Eriksen has chipped in with 10 goals this season, but his tally of 17 assists is especially impressive. If Fabinho can nullify that supply, it will go a long way to starving Spurs' attack.

Harry Kane v Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has been an ever-present in the meanest defence in the Premier League this season - helping to keep an incredible 21 clean sheets - and was an instrumental figure as the Reds shut out a Barca side featuring Messi and Suarez in that phenomenal 4-0 semi-final second-leg victory at Anfield.

Voted the 2018-19 PFA Players' Player of the Year by his peers back in April, the 27-year-old is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

Imperious in the air, cool in the tackle and confident in possession, Van Dijk has faced Tottenham three times since making the switch to Liverpool last season and has never lost - winning twice and drawing once.

The No.4 faced Spurs talisman and leading goalscorer Harry Kane in all three of those Premier League matches and the only goal the otherwise prolific striker mustered came from the penalty spot.

Watch: Virgil van Dijk's best bits v Spurs

That being said, Kane has a phenomenal scoring record overall and in the Champions League in particular; the Englishman has netted 14 times in his 18 appearances giving him an impressive strike rate of 0.78 goals per game in the competition.

His ability to find the net against marquee opponents such as Barcelona and Juventus has helped the 25-year-old reach that tally in quicker time than either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tottenham's top scorer for the past five seasons after netting 31 times in his breakthrough campaign in 2014-15, Kane is the first name on Pochettino's teamsheet when fit.

The England striker has been battling with an ankle ligament injury he sustained against Manchester City on April 9 but he's back in training and his manager expects him to feature in the final. Whether that is from the start of the match or from the bench, his battle with Van Dijk will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

The view from Newcastle... by Sam Fender drummer Drew Michael