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UEFA Champions League: Fernando Llorente could be the gamechanger for Tottenham Hotspur

01:03 BST 30/05/2019
Fernando Llorente Tottenham 2018-19
Liverpool need to be wary of the Spaniard who has been a high-impact substitute for Spurs in the road to the final...

If Tottenham Hotspur are to end their eleven-season trophy-drought, Fernando Llorente might just be the person Spurs could look for inspiration against Liverpool in their 2018-19 UEFA Champions League final.

The 34-year-old, in his role of a backup striker, has not garnered much game time in the two seasons he has been with the Londoners. But after filling in for the injured Harry Kane numerous times this season, the former Juventus marksman has proved his worth.

In 11 starts and 23 further appearances from the bench across all competitions, Llorente has scored only eight goals this season. But, it is in the Champions League that Llorente has had more of an impact for Spurs.

His solitary assist in Europe this season came three minutes after coming onto the pitch in the group stages. He set up Harry Kane as Spurs completed a come from behind win against PSV at Wembley.

It was in the Round of 16 that Llorente got his first goal, making yet another immediate impact off the bench. He replaced Christian Eriksen in the 86th minute and a couple of minutes later, netted in to make it 3-0 against Borussia Dortmund in the first leg away from home.

Arguably one of the greatest games this season was the second leg quarter-final between Manchester City and Spurs at the Etihad Stadium. The Blues were leading 4-3 on aggregate after losing the away leg 1-0. Llorente came on in the first half itself for an injured Moussa Sissoko and in the 73rd minute, guided the ball home from a corner to make it 4-3 on the night.

Despite Kane’s unavailability in that game, Mauricio Pochettino started with Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min up top but it was left for the wily old fox in Llorente to clean up the game for Spurs.

Even in the semi-final second leg over at Amsterdam, Ajax were leading the tie 3-0. Pochettino realized his mistake and brought on Llorente for the final half and he held up the opposition end, drawing defenders towards him and allowed other the freedom to create. Lucas Moura benefited from this as the Brazilian scored a hat-trick to lead Spurs to the final.

Whether Kane is deemed fit for the final or not, the experienced Llorente is not a bad option to have on the bench or even start as he can be trusted to change the game in Madrid in the all-English battle for the crown.

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