10 days to go and the nerves are jangling. A lot, you would imagine.
The trophy cabinets of Liverpool and Tottenham have remained bare in recent seasons, which only adds another layer of pressure to next weekend's Champions League final.
As a result, nothing has been left to chance by either Jurgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino. Not that it would ever would be.
Klopp has whisked his players away to Marbella for a week of training ahead of next week's game, and given the lack of games and the prolonged period between the climax to the Premier League and the European final, the 51-year-old is keen to give his side more match practice ahead of June 1.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 23, 2019
While a senior team is the Liverpool manager's priority for a friendly at their current Spanish base, it's more likely the five-time European champions will face an under-23 or academy side. The practice match is viewed as particularly important for Roberto Firimino who has missed the club's last three games, including the finalists miraculous comeback against Barcelona at Anfield.
The Brazilian, however, is expected to start the Madrid final, though it is expected to come a little quick for Naby Keita.
Conversely, Pochettino has kept his side in London, opting to travel to Madrid next Wednesday. But while Tottenham are welcoming Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen back from injury, the Spurs manager doesn't see game time as particularly necessary in his pre-match preparations.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 22, 2019
Despite suffering what looked like a season-ending injury at the beginning of April, Kane is understood to be confident of playing a part at the Wanda Metropolitano next Saturday evening. Kane, Vertonghen and Davison Sanchez were all observed training in London yesterday, though it is believed they have yet to rejoin training with the rest of the team.
With the final week of preparation just around the corner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain spoke to the Liverpool club website about the decision behind heading to Spain this week.
Obviously the final is going to be in Madrid, so a lot warmer than maybe an evening game in England that we’re used to. So, we’ve come out here to try to get used to that.
Coming out here and making it a little bit tougher is obviously really, really helpful. The boys have approached it really well, as they have done all season. The gaffer is shouting and pushing us to stay right on top of everything – and that’s what we need. We’ve got one last push now and everyone looks really good.
Meanwhile, a dark cloud has hovered over Tottenham's final preparations with their manager being increasingly linked with the vacant role at Juventus, vacated by Massimiliano Allegri. Pochettino has not addressed the speculation since it has emerged.