Ajax Amsterdam — who have not won a Champions' League since 1995 — are on the verge of reaching the final after beating Tottenham 1-0 in their semi final first leg in London on Tuesday, 30 April.
"Thanks to a first half-hour of magic Ajax is now close to the Valhalla of club football: the Champions League final on June 1 in Madrid…The final beckons, but the matter is far from being settled," wrote Dutch sports journalist Willem Vissers in De Volkskrant newspaper.
Tottenham now have to travel to Amsterdam on May 8 to play the second leg and their chances of overturning the 1-0 score on aggregate will be hard hit if striker Harry Kane is not back from injury. Spurs will at least have South Korean forward Son Heung-min, who was suspended for the first leg.
🇳🇱Ajax's Donny van de Beek has the best celebration in the world.— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) 1 May 2019
He celebrates before he even scored the goal by screaming at the ball to go into the back of the net. Absolutely quality. 😆 pic.twitter.com/pl0RdBXXef
Ajax, who are now coached by former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, last won the Champions' League in 1995, when they beat Milan with a Patrick Kluivert goal, and the following year they lost on penalties to Juventus in the final.
Not quite the Leicester Square love in with the Ajax favs outside Spurs tonight. A few bricks and bottles flying around when we were filming. #TOTAJX #championsleauge2019 #ajaxfans pic.twitter.com/IefOaFts1S— Iain Axon (@iainaxon) 30 April 2019
There were some clashes between Ajax and Spurs fans in London on Tuesday night and six Liverpool supporters have been arrested in Barcelona over an assault on two hotel workers.
The club's chief executive, Peter Moore, has appealed on Liverpool fans to "treat this beautiful city with the respect it deserves."
We proudly sing that we’ve conquered all of Europe. But let’s treat this beautiful city with the respect that it deserves, and act in a manner that is befitting of LFC. By all means have a good time, but we are Liverpool, and as such,let’s visit here with grace and humility.— Peter Moore (@PeterMooreLFC) 1 May 2019
Spanish clubs have dominated the Champions' League in recent years with Real Madrid winning it four times and Barcelona once — in 2015 — and the home side at the Nou Camp will be strong favourites to beat Liverpool, who are also chasing their first English Premier League title.
Lionel Messi, who has been rested for Barcelona's last two league games, has promised to "bring that beautiful cup back to Camp Nou".
"It's not only about Messi but of course it's about him as well," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said, confusingly, at a press conference on Tuesday.
"Can we concentrate on Messi? We should in a lot of moments but if we only concentrate on him there are 10 other world-class players who can decide the game as well," Klopp said.
Barcelona will have two former Liverpool stars in their line-up — Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez and Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who were sold for a collective £170 million.
"We miss Phil Coutinho a lot because he is a world-class player and I loved working with him. When I first heard he wanted to go to Barcelona I couldn't imagine it would be good. But we had to deal without him and we did well," Klopp said.
Here’s the “Liverpool fan” who tripped a Barcelona local into the fountain.— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) 30 April 2019
Vile behaviour and not what the club is about at all.
Think @LFC should attempt to take this further, he doesn’t represent our fan base.
Liverpool spent most of the money they got for Coutinho on defender Virgil van Dijk, who was named Premier League Player of the Season at the weekend. Together with goalkeeper, Alisson, he has managed to reduce the number of goals Liverpool conceded, making them harder to beat.
Liverpool hope to have striker Roberto Firmino back from injury for the game.
"If he is 100 per cent ready to play he will maybe play," Klopp said.