If Tottenham win the Champions League final, will that really make them the best team in Europe?
Most of the selection intrigue in Madrid this weekend will revolve around Harry Kane’s fitness, and whether he starts or is kept in reserve on the bench for the biggest game in the club’s history.
I’ll come back to that issue later, but what is fascinating for me is the gap Tottenham have bridged this season to reach the richest game in club football.
They finished 27 points behind champions Manchester City, and 26 behind Liverpool, in their own title race.
That’s still way short of the 37-point gap between Liverpool and champions Chelsea in 2005, when Rafa Benitez pulled off the miracle of Istanbul.
And Chelsea had finished a distant sixth, 25 points behind title winners City, when they won the holy grail in Munich seven years ago.
But it’s remarkable how often a competition designed for the cream to rise to the top seems to result in dark horses lifting the European Cup.
Cards on the table: I think Liverpool should win it this time, they deserve to win it and, if I’m honest, I hope they win it.
To finish the season empty-handed after collecting 97 points from 38 games, losing only once and playing such an exhilarating style of football, would be unbelievably cruel.
And the form book is on Liverpool’s side: They have lost only once in their last 14 meetings with Tottenham.
But there is far more pressure on Kop manager Jurgen Klopp than his Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino.
Both of them have been a huge success this season, but I have to ask: Would the losing finalists in the Wanda Metropolitano have had a better season than Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea?
For all the speculation about his future, Sarri has landed a major trophy in his first season in English football – something Klopp and Pochettino have yet to achieve.
Sarri also reached a Wembley final, where it took a penalty shoot-out for City to deny him, and although Chelsea’s style has attracted some criticism from their own fans, I didn’t hear any of them complaining about artistic merit in Baku on Thursday night.
These days, managers often talk about “projects” – but surely they are defined by winning trophies. Either Klopp or Pochettino will break his duck in English football this weekend.
But back to Pochettino’s biggest dilemma – whether to pick Kane after seven weeks out with ankle ligament damage.
For me, if Kane has told his manager he’s fit to play, it’s a no-brainer. Tottenham cannot leave out their top scorer, their best player and the England captain, if he’s ready – and only Kane himself truly knows if he’s fit.
I see no point in leaving him on the bench like a nuclear deterrent. Surely it’s better to play him from the start, and if Kane is ‘blowing’ after 60 minutes then Pochettino will have at least one viable alternative in reserve.
Pochettino will have to be ruthless in his selection. He will either have to omit Kane or Lucas Moura, hat-trick hero of Tottenham’s incredible semi-final fight back against Ajax.
Or he would have to leave out one of Dele Alli, Son Heung-min or Christian Eriksen.
What would you do in Pochettino’s shoes? Personally, I think Tottenham’s best chance in the Champions League final is to play all their trump cards as early as possible.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard was a guest on my Five Live Champions League Breakfast show and, from the red side of the fence, he said it was clear-cut: If Kane has been producing the numbers in training, he has to play.
Clawing back a two-goal deficit in Amsterdam is one thing, but this Liverpool side is a different animal. If they go 2-0 up, there will be no way back for Spurs.
Liverpool love the intensity and the chaos of a fast start. They blew away City in the first half-hour last season and rattled in five goals in 33 minutes either side of half-time against Roma.
If Klopp’s team blares out a heavy metal rhythm in the first 45 minutes, I would be surprised if Tottenham could withstand the noise.
And if Liverpool land their sixth European Cup, I would be the first to say they deserve it for a monumental contribution to the season.