Llorente aiming for Champions League reprieve against Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur striker Fernando Llorente hopes to avenge the 2015 Champions League final defeat he suffered with Juventus.
The 34-year-old Spanish centre-forward played a pivotal role as Spurs reached UEFA’s showpiece against Liverpool in Madrid on June 1.
Llorente’s Champions League journey: Five things to know…
- Llorente was sparingly used by Juve boss Max Allegri in their 2014/15 Champions League run.
- He featured across nine of their 13 matches – including making a five-minute cameo in their 3-1 final loss against Barcelona.
- He’d soon leave for Sevilla before joining Premier League outfit Swansea City in 2016.
- A year after joining Swansea the native of Pamplona relocated to Spurs.
- To date he has featured in eight of their 12 Champions League matches with his presence troubling Ajax in the semi-finals.
Harry Kane’s absence saw his understudy Llorente drafted into Mauricio Pochettino’s starting lineup and he hasn’t let anyone down.
Llorente scored a crucial goal to eliminate Manchester City in the quarter-finals before his presence became too much for Ajax to handle.
Of those in Pochettino’s squad, he’s the only one with experience playing in a Champions League final as Llorente was part of Juve’s 2014/15 run.
However, the Spaniard was on the losing side that day in Berlin when Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners, after looking back on Spurs adventure Llorente believes in a second chance for success.
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“It was an incredible match,” he told Sky Sport Italia after Spurs defeated Ajax 2-3 in Amsterdam.
“We were out at half-time and we were playing badly, but this is football. In the second half we managed to give everything and we managed to do something incredible. Congratulations to Lucas Moura because he scored a crazy hat-trick that helped us win. We knew that if we managed to score, anything could happen.
“We know how the mind works at times like these. After our first goal, Ajax were afraid and we took advantage of it. We were also lucky. We had a disastrous first half, there wasn’t much to say in the dressing room. We knew we had to do more, we had nothing to lose.
“It’ll be a beautiful Final, against a great team like Liverpool. Two English teams in the Final is something incredible. I believe in second chances and now I have the chance to win after the final I lost with Juventus in Berlin.”
Calm before the storm
Spurs and Liverpool have one more domestic game before they lock horns in the second all-English Champions League final.
Both have something left to fight for. Spurs know a draw against Everton at home will be enough to finish in the top four whilst a Liverpool win against Wolves coupled with Manchester City slipping up at Brighton means the Reds end a 29-year championship drought.
Once that is wrapped up it’s then a 20-day wait before their Madrid showdown.
Liverpool have the slight advantage having completed a Premier League double over Spurs, but as we’ve seen in this season’s Champions League nothing is impossible.