Liverpool completed one of the greatest comebacks in football history, beating Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield and 4-3 on aggregate to reach the Champions League final.
Liverpool completed one of the greatest comebacks in football history, beating Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield and 4-3 on aggregate to reach the Champions League final, Sky Sports reports.
Looking to become only the third team in the competition’s history to come back from three goals down after the first leg of a semi-final, Liverpool took an early lead through Divock Origi’s tap in (7) to give Anfield hope, before two goals in two second-half minutes brought them level.
Half-time substitute Georginio Wijnaldum first saw his low drive sneak past Marc-Andre ter Stegen (54), and the Dutchman took the roof off Anfield as his precise header from Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross found the corner of Barca’s net (56).
And the comeback was complete in bizarre and jaw-dropping fashion as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cheeky corner caught Barcelona off guard, allowing the unmarked Origi to turn home his second (79), having played most of this season as a bit-part player.
The unprecedented and sublime comeback means Liverpool will play in their second successive Champions League final on June 1 in Madrid, facing either Ajax or Tottenham.
Liverpool: Alisson (9), Alexander-Arnold (10), Matip (9), Van Dijk (8), Robertson (7), Fabinho (8), Milner (7), Henderson (8), Mane (8), Shaqiri (6), Origi (9)
Subs: Wijnaldum (9), Gomez (NA), Sturridge (NA)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (4), Roberto (3), Pique (3), Lenglet (3), Alba (4), Rakitic (4), Busquets (4), Vidal (3), Coutinho (5), Messi (5), Suarez (5).
Subs: Semedo (4), Arthur (3), Malcom (NA)
Man of the match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
How Liverpool completed mission impossible
Liverpool had a mountain to climb, but the frantic opening worked in their favour as Jordi Alba’s poor header allowed Sadio Mane to feed Henderson, who drove into the area and forced a low stop from Ter Stegen, only for Origi to follow up and finish from close range.
Anfield erupted as Barca’s defence cracked, but they eventually settled after 15 minutes as Lionel Messi forced a good save from Alisson from 12 yards, and the Liverpool goalkeeper was again at his best to parry away Philippe Coutinho’s placed effort from the left of the box.
Luis Suarez, once a hero at Anfield, was soon being roundly jeered by the home fans for creating mischief among Liverpool’s defence, with replays showing he may have kicked out at Andrew Robertson as the two ran beside each other.
Robertson had to be replaced at half-time by Wijnaldum, after Alisson had again kept the score at 1-0 with a fine block from Jordi Alba at close range following Messi’s sublime through ball.
The breakneck speed continued after half-time as Ter Stegen showed fine reflexes to block Virgil van Dijk’s backheeled volley from a corner, before Alisson made yet another smart save from Suarez’s low drive.
Xherdan Shaqiri replaced the injured Mo Salah, while Divock Origi started in place of Daniel Sturridge. Gini Wijnaldum also came out of midfield, replaced by James Milner, while Joel Matip came in for Dejan Lovren.
Barca stuck with the same XI that secured a 3-0 advantage in the first leg; Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho once again started against their former club.
It began to feel like another of those European nights at Anfield as Wijnaldum doubled Liverpool’s lead with a low drive from 12 yards from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross, although Ter Stegen should have done better with the effort.
And just 122 seconds after his first, Wijnaldum struck again, meeting a Shaqiri cross from the left with a fine header, but Liverpool weren’t settling for extra time.
While Barcelona re-organised for a corner, Alexander-Arnold drilled a quick corner into Origi’s path, eight yards out, and the Belgian made no mistake, glancing into the top left corner with his right foot.
Liverpool weathered the storm in the final stages, sending Anfield into a frenzy on yet another historic night for the five-time European Cup winners.
Klopp: It was overwhelming
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was almost lost for words as he tried to express his feelings after the game.
He told BT Sport: “The whole game. The whole performance was too much. It was overwhelming. I watched in my life so many football games but I can’t remember many like this.
“Winning is already difficult but winning with a clean sheet, I don’t know how the boys did it. I saw James Milner crying after the game on the pitch, it means so much to all of us. There are more important things in the world but creating this kind of atmosphere is so special.
“It’s 10 past 10, most of your children are probably in bed but these boys are f*****g talented giants. It’s unbelievable.
“Fine me if you want. I’m not native so I don’t have better words for it.”
- Liverpool have reached their ninth European Cup/Champions League final – only Real Madrid (16), Milan (11) and Bayern Munich (10) have reached more.
- Liverpool are the first English side to reach back-to-back Champions League finals since Manchester United (2008 and 2009).
- This was just the fourth time a team has overturned a 3+ goal deficit from the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie to progress. Barcelona were also on the receiving end the last time (last season vs Roma).
- Barcelona have now been eliminated from three of their last four Champions League semi-final ties.
- Barcelona suffered their heaviest ever defeat against an English side in all European competitions.
- Full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has provided 14 assists in all competitions this season, more than any other Liverpool player.
Anfield inspires Liverpool again
Liverpool stunned Barcelona but this club – and these fans – have a way of making the impossible seem possible.
Adam Bate was at Anfield on a night when, against the odds, belief was in the air from the outset…
Murphy: Insurmountable achievement
Speaking on The Debate after the game, former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy waxed lyrical about the historic victory at Anfield, particularly given their injuries and having watched Man City take the lead in the title race just 24 hours before…
“I feel emotional, I’ve got goosebumps watching the celebrations. They achieved something insurmountable tonight. They lost Firmino and Salah, they were unlucky in the last game, City won last night, how they pick themselves up to produce a performance of that quality is amazing.
“The initiative to get the winner from Alexander-Arnold and Origi, in such a frenetic situation. It was a team performance, helped by a wonderful crowd, a wonderful atmosphere. Every single one of them was top drawer. It was just sensational.”
Valverde: We were rolled over
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde admits his side were “rolled over” and “blown away” by Liverpool…
“They have been really strong, they played really well and they kind of us rolled us over, really. It is a terrible result for our fans and for ourselves but credit is due to Liverpool.
“You’re going to suffer, the fans will suffer as well. That’s what it is like. We didn’t expect a situation like this. At the moment we’re blown away, it’s terrible.”
Epic night in pictures
From hope, to belief, to success… we run through the best images from Anfield on Tuesday on an unforgettable night.
When is the Champions League final?
The Champions League final, the 27th in its current format and 64th of Europe’s elite-club competition, will take place on June 1, 2019.
Kick-off is at 8pm (BST), 9pm (CEST).