Why Moussa Sissoko could be the key to beating Liverpool
There are less than two weeks to go until the biggest game in club football, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will go toe-to-toe to determine this yearâ€™s Champions League winner. The all-English final will pit two of Englandâ€™s heavyweights together, and the Reds are slight favourites currently (21/20) but Spurs are more than capable of causing a small upset.
If the North Londoners are to prevail, itâ€™s likely the performance of Moussa Sissoko will have a huge bearing on their success. The midfielder has had something of a turbulent time since moving to Spurs, but his remarkable turnaround in form has seen him become a key component of manager Mauricio Pochettinoâ€™s squad.
Itâ€™s no secret that Tottenham have entertained their fair share of injuries this season, which has allowed Sissoko to shine in the absence of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama. The former club-record signing has looked assured and confident, a stark contrast from his performances in recent seasons.
Wherever Sissoko is tasked to play, Pochettino and the Spurs faithful can be quietly confident of a strong display, whether thatâ€™s in a holding midfield role, more advanced, or even on the wing. Against Ajax in the semi-final second leg, Sissoko played on the right-hand side of midfield and also played there in the two group games against FC Barcelona.
However, he is typically utilized in the middle of the park and this is by far his best position. Strong in the tackle and a brilliant carrier of the ball, Sissoko has really blossomed during the second half of the season in particular, and his ability to cover a variety of positions could prove vital in Madrid.
Assuming Pochettino plays Sissoko in a holding midfield role, he will need to provide a shield in front of the back four. Liverpool arenâ€™t exactly shy of world-class goal scorersso itâ€™s imperative that Sissoko nullifies the threat as often as possible. Liverpool will likely take the game to Spurs and they are lethal on the counter-attack as well, so Sissoko will need to be extra vigilant come June 1.
Looking back at Sissokoâ€™s Champions League performances so far this season, Spurs have failed to concede when he has played in front of the back four. These include the 1-0 win over Inter Milan, the two victories over Borussia Dortmund and the first-leg victory over Manchester City. That alone should convince Pochettino to play Sissoko in his best position.
From Sissokoâ€™s perspective, heâ€™s clearly playing with an air of confidence currently and heâ€™ll need to demonstrate that when facing the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino. The attacking trio quite literally score goals for fun and if Sissoko and co. can keep them quiet, thereâ€™s a huge chance the Champions League trophy will be heading back to London.
Itâ€™s the first all-English final since 2008, and Premier League fans will be eagerly anticipating whoâ€™ll be celebrating at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium. Tottenham v Liverpool betting is hotting up nicely and there are plenty of markets to punt on ahead of the prestigious finale.