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Alisson and Van Dijk set the foundation for Liverpool to seal Champions League glory

Steve Nicol hails the impact of Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and defender Virgil van Dijk in keeping Tottenham at bay in the Reds' Champions League Final triumph.
Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol slams Spurs' performance in the UCL Final, and Craig Burley accuses Mauricio Pochettino of 'weak management'.

Liverpool and Mohamed Salah laid to rest the ghosts of a year ago by seeing off Tottenham 2-0 to become champions of Europe for a sixth time. Salah converted a second-minute penalty, and cult hero Divock Origi enhanced his unlikely place in Anfield folklore by coming off the bench to wrap things up late on.

Positives

European Champions!

Negatives

None. Performances do not matter in finals, only results do.

Manager rating out of 10

10 -- Jurgen Klopp gets full marks not specifically for this game, but for the way he navigated his team through this season's competition and for making good on his promise in the immediate aftermath of last year's loss to Real Madrid in Kiev that "we'll bring it back to Liverpool."

Liverpool's Alisson and Virgil van Dijk were immovable barriers to Tottenham's attack.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 8 -- A strange game for the Brazilian international, who was largely redundant for the first 75 minutes before needing to make a flurry of saves. Some were routine, others were excellent, but Spurs were never beating him. It highlighted the stark contrast between this year's final and that of a year ago, when Loris Karius' mistakes cost Liverpool.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Made some timely interventions defensively, especially in the first half, and managed to produce his usual dangerous deliveries into the box.

DF Joel Matip, 7 -- Quietly efficient, he did what he had to do with the minimum of fuss, much like he has for several months.

DF Virgil Van Dijk, 8 -- Rarely extended -- he was so much in control of his duel with Harry Kane -- but made one crucial intervention late on, with the score 1-0, to take the ball off Son Heung-Min in the penalty area.

DF Andrew Robertson, 8 -- Defended doggedly and with assurance and was a frequent threat going forward with some quality crosses. He also went close to scoring what would have been one of the most memorable goals in club history but was denied by the fingertips of Hugo Lloris.

MF Fabinho, 6 -- Unusually quiet. He was efficient enough in his work shielding the centre-backs but did not dominate the middle of the pitch in his usual manner.

MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Nowhere near as influential as usual but showed great tactical awareness and discipline off the ball. Getting his hands on the trophy will mean the world to a great professional who has been unfairly derided for much of his Anfield career.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 5 -- The hero of the semifinal never really got going, and it was no surprise when he made way for James Milner midway through the second half.

FW Mohamed Salah, 6 -- Held his nerve to convert an early penalty but did little thereafter and was nowhere near his best. Not that he will care as he looks at his winner's medal.

FW Roberto Firmino, 5 -- He had not played for six weeks, and, frankly, it showed. The normally effervescent Brazilian striker never got going and was replaced by Origi before the hour mark.

FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Won the early penalty and was Liverpool's most lively forward. One surging run in the second half almost created a goal for Milner.

Substitutes

MF James Milner, 7 -- Did exactly what was needed to steady things and could have scored with a low shot that went inches wide.

FW Divock Origi, 8 -- Maintained his remarkable habit of scoring monumentally important goals with a superb late finish to put the game out of Tottenham's reach.

DF Joe Gomez, NR -- Given a late run to help see the game out.

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