Liverpool win Champions League after Salah and Origi sink Tottenham

Presumably, none of the Liverpool supporters will care too greatly that the kaleidoscope of banners they had unfurled in Madrid suddenly look so out of date. Liverpool had their sixth star and when we see them again next season we can be sure they will have added “Madrid, 2019” to the red, yellow and white flags that have been fluttering from Spanish balconies, hotel windows and lampposts in memory of Istanbul, 2005, as well as Rome, 1977 and 1984, plus Wembley, 1978, and Paris, 1981.

For Liverpool, such devoted collectors of trophies, it was the sixth time in their prodigious history that the club’s ribbons have adorned that shiny old pot. There is only Real Madrid, with 13, and Milan, on seven, with a superior record and the team from Anfield have won this competition more times than the other Premier League clubs put together. Mohamed Salah knows now how it feels to score one of the decisive goals in European football’s showpiece occasion. So does Divock Origi, whose fingerprints are all over this story, and when the rewards are this high it will not bother Jürgen Klopp or the victorious players that they could probably have decorated the event with football of a more sophisticated level.

As for Spurs, this was like seeing a beautiful painting being ripped apart. Mauricio Pochettino and his players will never forget the night they passed up the opportunity to win the most important match of the club’s 137 years. They will be pained, in particular, that Alisson, Liverpool’s goalkeeper, did not have to make a noteworthy save until the late exchanges and, ultimately, they found out the hard way that there is no glory attached to a final when the other team are on the winners’ podium. What a numbing feeling that must be, at the end of the night, to see the trophy, close-up, glistening under the floodlights, but not to find out how cold it is on your hands.

Liverpool’s players had been through that anguish against Real Madrid last year. They were here to make sure the same did not happen again and, this time, they had Salah on the pitch for a lot longer than he was in Kyiv. Liverpool were playing a team that finished 26 points below them in the Premier League, rather than one that had come to think of the Champions League trophy as their own private possession. There was no Sergio Ramos, with his devil’s horns and that look on his face that said: “Who, me?” And, crucially, it was Alisson, not Loris Karius, between the posts. The Brazilian might not have been overworked but he made some key saves during the period in the second half, at 1-0, when Spurs were looking at their most dangerous. It was no coincidence so many Liverpool players ran to their goalkeeper at the final whistle.

And then there was the player in the No 27 shirt whose goal had knocked out Barcelona, in the night of all nights at Anfield, to put Liverpool in this final and was brought on here, after 58 minutes, to replace the out‑of‑touch Roberto Firmino and add some new impetus to the team’s attack.

Origi might be an unlikely hero, but that is precisely what he has made himself: a hero. His goal arrived in the 87th minute, just as Liverpool were looking at their most vulnerable, and as soon as a left-foot shot skidded into the net, aimed diagonally from left to right, that was the moment everybody knew it was over. It wasn’t long before Klopp could be seen getting the bumps, thrown into the air, time and again, by his players.

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Amid that kind of euphoria, it would be slightly po-faced to dwell too long on the occasional carelessness that crept into Liverpool’s play. They will know they fell short of their most exhilarating peaks but, equally, will they care? They were ahead before any of the players had a single scuff of grass on their knees and, ultimately, the onus was on Spurs to find a way back after Salah’s early penalty. Dele Alli had a couple of opportunities during their periods of second-half pressure. Alisson’s best save was to palm away Christian Eriksen’s free-kick and Lucas Moura, a substitute, should have done better when a corner arced into his path. Yet there was never one moment when Harry Kane had a clear scoring chance to justify why it was he, not Moura, starting the match.

Mohamed Salah scores from the penalty spot
Mohamed Salah scores from the penalty spot past Hugo Lloris only two minutes into the final. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

To be precise, there were 22 seconds on the clock when Moussa Sissoko jutted out his right arm to give away the penalty. It gave Salah the chance to score with his first kick of the night and, even amid the desperate whistles of the Spurs fans, it was possible to make the satisfying thud of leather on leather. Salah aimed his shot through the middle, Hugo Lloris dived to his left and the ball was still rising as it flew into the part of the goal the goalkeeper had vacated.

Unfortunately for Spurs, these were the moments that proved what Pochettino will admit himself: that his team can be callow at the highest level. Every elite player should know the risk in modern-day football of sticking out an arm when a cross might be coming into the penalty area. Yet Sissoko’s pose was of a man looking the wrong way while he changed an invisible lightbulb. The cross came from Sadio Mané and Sissoko will have to live with the guilt of that handball for an awfully long time.

Sissoko, to give him his due, was one of the players driving on Spurs when they started to threaten more frequently in the second half. Liverpool certainly had to endure some anxious moments before the corner that led to Origi’s goal, the little touch from Joël Matip that created the chance and the striker’s precise left-footed finish. This time, for Spurs, there were no late heroics and it was not long before Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s captain, had the trophy in his hands.