(Reuters) - Liverpool are overwhelming favourites to win the Champions League title when they face Tottenham Hotspur in the final in Madrid on June 1, former England striker and television pundit Gary Lineker has said.
Lineker, who spent three seasons at Spurs between 1989 and 1992, pointed to the 26-point gap in the Premier League table between runners-up Liverpool and his fourth-placed former team as evidence of a massive gulf between the sides.
“Overall, team against team, (Liverpool) have got the better players,” Lineker told The Times. “They finished 20-odd points ahead of Tottenham this season so it’s hard to make a case where Tottenham are favourites.
“But, as we know in football, the best teams don’t always win, which is one of the things that makes it so special.”
The 58-year-old also praised Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp for successfully creating a team in his own image, while pointing out that Spurs need to invest to keep pace with the ambitions of boss Mauricio Pochettino.
“Klopp is a massively enthusiastic, passionate man,” Lineker said. “This Liverpool side very much reflects his personality — very dynamic, great energy. He’s clearly very intelligent, and he’s a brilliant football man who shows his passion.
“(Pochettino) is... clearly one of the best managers in world football, but (Spurs) do need investment, he’s said that to me himself. He needs to be backed and I suspect if he’s not backed they’ll find it quite difficult to keep hold of him.”
Tottenham have not signed anyone in the last two transfer windows with the club being forced to keep a tight lid on spending following their move to a new stadium.
Pochettino, on his part, has hinted he could leave if Spurs are unable to challenge for the biggest titles due to a lack of investment, which would be a massive blow for the club he has guided to four consecutive top-four Premier League finishes.
“It really is a seminal moment for Tottenham,” Lineker added. “They’ve got to decide what they are.
“Whether they’re going to move forward and be a club that can compete in other Champions League finals rather than just a one-off... remains to be seen.”
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings