- How to follow:
- Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website
Hundreds of extra flights have taken off from the UK, an estimated 70,000 fans are descending on Madrid – and two managers without a trophy to their name at their current sides joked easily with reporters as they prepare to compete for the biggest prize in club football.
Tottenham and Liverpool meet in the first all-English Champions League final since 2008 when they face each other in the Spanish capital on Saturday.
Their fans will share 33,226 tickets for the final, which takes place in the 68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano stadium, although many more will travel in the hope of finding a ticket, or just to soak up the occasion.
The Reds, who lost to Real Madrid in last year’s final, finished two places and 26 points above Spurs in the Premier League.
Their style of play has been much praised this season, and their 97 points and one defeat are English records for a team finishing runners-up in the top flight.
But they have not won anything since manager Jurgen Klopp’s arrival in 2015 – and the German has lost his last six finals, including the Champions League final in 2013 with Borussia Dortmund and last year with Liverpool.
“All the circumstances were different, the teams were different,” said Klopp on Friday. “If I were the reason for losing six finals then everyone needs to worry. Last year was a world-class goal and two strange goals we normally don’t concede which defeated us.
“My career so far is not unlucky. I haven’t a problem with my career. My wife always asks me when the final game of the season is because since 2012, apart from 2017, my teams have been in finals.
“I don’t see myself as a loser and we would have a problem if I did.”
Liverpool have won the European Cup or Champions League five times, most recently in 2005. They have twice been finalists since then – beaten in 2007 by AC Milan and last year by Real.
In contrast this is Spurs’ first ever final of the premier European club competition. And they have not won any trophy for the past 11 years, with their most recent silverware the 2008 League Cup.
Former Espanyol and Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino is looking for the first trophy of his managerial career and has hinted he could leave and return to his native Argentina if he achieves it.
Pochettino has suggested the way the club is currently run needs to change. Spurs have not signed a single player since semi-final hero Lucas Moura in 31 January 2018.
In Friday’s pre-match news conference, he said: “Our team became very robust from the start of the season, 10 months ago.
“At that time we couldn’t bring in new players. As we couldn’t, we decided not to sell anybody. We sold Mousa Dembele in January to China because it was his dream.
“We haven’t been able to play in our new stadium; we had to play in Wembley until a couple of months ago.
“We have come to the crucial part of the season and all of that has made us strong. We have had to overcome those difficulties.”
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This is the second of two all-English European finals in a week, after Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1 in Baku, Azerbaijan on Wednesday to win the Europa League.
The only previous Champions League final to contain two English sides was the 2008 final, when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties.
Team news – will Kane and Firmino play?
The biggest question about the line-ups by some distance is whether Tottenham striker Harry Kane will start.
The England captain, who has scored 24 goals for Spurs this season, says he is “ready to go” after recovering from ligament damage to his left ankle when he slipped in the quarter-final first leg against Manchester City.
Pochettino said on Friday that he had not made any final decision on his starting line-up, with the team due to train that evening.
“It’s difficult, you need to take a decision and tomorrow is another decision,” he said. “We have all the information – we will use every detail to try to win.
“You can use only 11 players from the beginning – that is the most painful situation.”
Klopp says Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is fit following a groin injury – although he did not confirm whether the Brazilian would start, suggesting he did not want to let Spurs know his line-up if he did not know theirs.
“If Poch afterwards says the exact line-up then call me and I will tell you our line-up as well, so if not then I thought I’d keep at least a few question marks open,” he said.
“But he’s fit, he trains. If nothing happens from the moment he left the plane to now because I didn’t see him since then, then he should be fine.”
Midfielder Naby Keita is definitely ruled out through injury.
How the teams got to Madrid
The two sides had equally dramatic routes to the final. Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit. And Lucas Moura scored a second-half hat-trick as Spurs came from 3-0 down on aggregate to beat Ajax on away goals.
Both sides had only narrowly came through their groups, with Liverpool losing all three away games.
Tottenham have come within 20 minutes of being eliminated five times – in each of their final three group games, the quarter-final against Manchester City and against Ajax, when they were seconds away from defeat.
In fact, whoever wins Saturday’s final will have lost more Champions League games in a season (four) than anyone since the current format started in 2003-04. The previous high was AC Milan’s three in 2007.
It is the first final between two non-group winners since 2010 and the first not to feature a team who have won their own league in the 21st century.
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Managers both in relaxed mood – view from Spain
BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Madrid
Klopp and Pochettino took centre stage at the vast Wanda Metropolitano Stadium as the English takeover spread across the city of Madrid.
It is estimated 70,000 fans will be arriving in the Spanish capital, many without tickets but just wanting to be part of the occasion.
Liverpool and Spurs supporters were circling the stadium early on Friday morning in search of an elusive golden ticket, breaking off from their quest from time to time to seek shade from searing temperatures.
The city centre was decorated in the red of Liverpool and white of Spurs as supporters gathered on Plaza Mayor, the centre of Old Madrid, and the Cibeles Fountain, where Real Madrid have brought the Champions League trophy after multiple recent triumphs.
Klopp and Pochettino were both in remarkably relaxed mood before a game that will capture global attention, both in search of a first trophy at Liverpool and Spurs – and with the biggest one in European club football as the prize.
Liverpool’s manager flashed his trademark grin when his recent dismal record in finals was inevitably a point of discussion, while Pochettino’s media briefing offered up one golden moment when the Spurs manager was asked whether he had lost weight.
Pochettino, who admittedly did look like he had shed a few pounds, reacted with an expression of astonishment before standing up and striking a supermodel’s pose.
Then it was down to business and the sight of the recently injured Firmino and Kane taking part in training in the glorious evening sunshine.
What was clear, behind the smiles and the occasional knockabout moments, was the very obvious and huge respect these two formidable managers have for each other, feelings shared by their players.
Liverpool may be favourites but they will not be fooled by that any more than Spurs will feel their hopes are reduced by the tag of underdogs.
The preliminaries are over. This superb Spanish stage is set for the second all-Premier League Champions League final.
How to follow the game
You can listen to the game on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website and app, with Chris Sutton, Robbie Savage and Sean Dyche all offering their expert opinion.
Live text and radio commentary will begin at 17:00 BST, with fans also able to rate the players on the BBC Sport website.
Fans in the UK can watch the game for free on the BT Sport app, website or Youtube channel without a subscription.
How many fans are expected in Madrid?
Estimates for how many English fans will be in Madrid on Saturday vary from 70,000 to 100,000.
About 9,000 flights were predicted to take off from the UK on Friday, which would exceed the previous record for flights in a day. Madrid airport is expecting an extra 800 flights this weekend.
Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly and the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust issued a joint statement on ticketing, complaining of a “measly allocation from Uefa” for the final – with just under 50% of the stadium’s seats going to fans of the two sides.
The two fan groups called for a cap on ticket pricing, transparency over allocation and protection for fans to stop hotel and flight prices being “forced up”.
Rising flight prices have also attracted scrutiny, with Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram tweeting Easyjet to ask why some prices had risen by 683%.
Some fans have decided instead to drive over 1,000 miles (1,600km) to Madrid.
With face-value tickets costing more than £500 for some seats, resale websites have been selling tickets for £5,500. One fan told the BBC that he and his friends had been offered £15,000 for their four £60 tickets.
Uefa has warned fans about a high number of fake tickets being sold on the black market. It says: “Arrests have already been made in a clampdown on bogus tickets. Holders of forged tickets will not be allowed into the stadium.”
The UK government issued official advice to both sets of fans on its website and has warned that “there will be NO live screening of the match in the fan zones or festival areas” in Madrid.
How are people watching in the UK?
Fans staying in England have plenty of choice if they want to watch the game in public.
Spurs are showing the final live at their stadium, which will be open to its full 62,000 capacity and reportedly boasts the largest LED screens in Europe.
Anfield hosted a screening of the final last year but is preparing for Take That, Bon Jovi and Pink concerts in June.
Screenings will instead take place at three venues in Liverpool, catering for a total of 11,500 supporters. They are the Auditorium Liverpool, Space by M&S Bank Arena and the convention centre.
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Who is going to win?
Most bookmakers have Liverpool at odds of 1-2 to lift the trophy, with Spurs at about 13-8.
Statisticians Gracenote also make the Reds big favourites. Head of sports analysis Simon Gleave said: “Liverpool are big favourites to win with our Euro Club Index giving the Reds a 70.5% chance of lifting the trophy.
“However, Tottenham’s 29.5% chance of doing so is better than their chance of getting to this final pretty much throughout the second leg of the semi-final tie against Ajax.
“The Spurs Champions League story this season has been remarkable, starting with progress from the group phase after taking just a point from the first three matches and climaxing (so far) with their remarkable second-half comeback in Amsterdam in their last match.
“Tottenham are currently ranked 10th on the Euro Club Index ranking, seven places below third-ranked Liverpool, and will be the lowest ranked Champions League winners since the ECI launched in 2007 if they win.”
Match stats – can Mane score in consecutive finals?
- Liverpool are playing in their ninth European Cup/Champions League final – more than any other English side. They’ve won the trophy five times, but have lost their past two finals (2007 and 2018).
- Tottenham are playing in their first ever European Cup/Champions League final. The past five first-time finalists have lost – Chelsea 2008, Arsenal 2006, Monaco 2004, Bayer Leverkusen 2002 and Valencia 2000.
- The last side to lose consecutive Champions League finals were Valencia in 2000 and 2001.
- This will be Tottenham’s first European final since the 1984 Uefa Cup. They are looking to become just the third English side to win all three major Uefa tournaments, including the old Cup Winners’ Cup.
- Liverpool have lost their past four finals since winning the 2012 League Cup. Spurs have lost their past two finals since the 2008 League Cup.
- Sadio Mane could become the first player to score in back-to-back European Cup finals since Franz Roth with Bayern Munich in 1975 and 1976.
- No team have conceded more goals in this season’s Champions League than Tottenham (17). Seven of these goals have come in the opening 15 minutes of games.
- This is Jurgen Klopp’s third major European final with Liverpool – only Bob Paisley (four) has ever reached more with the club.