Football Features

Spurs vs Liverpool: Tactics, formations & line ups explained

By Ben Green

Published: 12:51, 31 May 2019

Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on Saturday in the first all-English encounter since 2008.

The Reds will be looking to make amends from last season’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, while Spurs can end their 35-year wait for European success if they triumph in Madrid.

It is shaping up for a fascinating match at the Wanda Metropolitano, but how are the teams shaping up? Well, we’ve tackled all of the major talking points…


Jurgen Klopp rarely tinkers, his high-octane attacking philosophy has proven a revelation in the Premier League, and so, why change?

The German’s Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘Gegenpress’ is formidable, creating overloads in the final third that are difficult to overcome; so the question is: how can Spurs adapt?

Mauricio Pochettino has used various systems throughout his Spurs tenure, particularly against the Anfield club, so it will be interesting to see what the Argentine conjures up for the biggest match of his career.


Liverpool fans will be over-the-moon to hear news of Roberto Firmino’s availability after the Brazilian forward missed the tail end of the season with a groin injury.

With that, Klopp is more than likely to stick rather than twist with his formation, deploying a 4-3-3 with Firmino spearheading the attack, while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane take up their habitual positions on the wings.

For the north London club it is difficult to know whether Pochettino will opt for a three-at-the-back system in an effort to stifle the Liverpool attack, or whether he sticks to a flat-back four.

Much of this may depend on Harry Kane; if the England marksman is fit and available from minute one then that would have serious implications for Pochettino’s thought process here – but if it’s a back four, then he’ll likely play a 4-2-3-1.

Line ups

Liverpool will be without Naby Keita and so Klopp has a decision to make in the middle of the park. He has four exceptionally gifted central midfielders in Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho, James Milner and Jordan Henderson – but only three slots.

For Spurs, as mentioned, the big talking point is Kane: will he be fit, or won’t he? Should he not make the starting XI, Pochettino has a number of options, including a Lucas Moura-Son Heung-min attacking partnership or Fernando Llorente through the middle.

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