Liverpool are through to the semi-finals of the Europa League, following a dramatic 4-3 draw win over Borussia Dortmund at Anfield.
Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund
Eurpoa League – Anfield – Thursday 14th April 2016
Goals: Origi (48) Coutinho (66), Sakho (77), Lovren (90); Mkhitaryan (5), Aubameyang (9), Reus (57)
Anfield was absolutely electric in the hours leading up to kick-off, with singing and pyrotechnics galore as the team coach arrived.
It brought back wonderful memories of 2014, and there had arguably not been a bigger European game for Liverpool for almost a decade. The fans had done their bit, and it was now up to the players to deliver on the pitch.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang curled an early shot wide, but Dortmund were ahead almost straight after.
Simon Mignolet made a superb stop to deny Aubameyang from point-blank range, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan was there to finish off from the rebound. It was a nightmare start for Liverpool.
The lead was doubled in the ninth minute, with the lethal Aubameyang finishing superbly in front of the Kop, after superb work by Marco Reus. It was almost tie over before 10 minutes had even been played.
The Reds desperately needed to settle into the game, but Dortmund were oozing so much confidence that it was incredibly hard to do so.
Origi almost stole in, following a flowing move, while Alberto Moreno skewed a volley into the travelling BVB supporters.
It was a definite improvement from Liverpool, and Origi again had a chance to pull a goal back, but failed to convert from James Milner‘s cross.
Mamadou Sakho, who didn’t cover himself in glory for either goal, made a good block to deny Aubameyang, while Firmino missed with a header.
Dortmund looked dangerous every single time they counter-attacked, and Mignolet made a vital intervention to deny Aubameyang a guaranteed tap-in. The 26-year-old then fired wide from Reus’ pass.
Liverpool continued to push for a goal back before the interval, with Coutinho shooting wide and Origi missing another headed chance, but they just could not find the back of the net.
At half-time, Dortmund were in complete control, despite Klopp’s men creating plenty of chances.
There were no changes at the break, which was perhaps surprising, considering how Klopp’s tactics had not worked in the opening 45 minutes.
Origi pulled one back within three minutes of the restart, poking home expertly after a precise through-ball from Can. Anfield was alive.
It felt impossible that the game would end 2-1, with both sides looking hugely dangerous in the final third. Origi fired over, with the young Belgian bristling with confidence.
The tie was put to bed by Reus near the half-hour mark, with the Germany international curling home after a magnificent pass by Hummels.
Allen and Sturridge replaced Lallana and Firmino soon after, as Klopp made one last roll of the dice, switching to a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
It worked almost straight away, as Coutinho bent a brilliant 20-yard strike into the bottom corner, following a clever one-two with Milner.
Origi curled an excellent effort narrowly over a minute later, as Liverpool tried to produce an Istanbul-esque comeback.
With 13 minutes remaining, Sakho headed home from Coutinho’s corner, and we were in for a breathless ending to proceedings.
Dejan Lovren fired harmlessly into the Kop with a ridiculous volley late in the day, and that elusive winning goal didn’t seem like it would come.
In stoppage time, however, Anfield witnessed one of its great European moments. Lovren powered Milner’s cross into the back of the Kop net, sending the home fans delirious.
The final whistle went, amid scenes of almost unrivalled joy. It was a truly remarkable win for Liverpool, and one that will live long in the memory.
TIA Man of the Match: Divock Origi
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Can (Lucas 80′), Milner, Lallana (Allen 62′), Coutinho, Firmino (Sturridge 62′), Origi.
Subs not used: Ward, Skrtel, Smith, Ojo.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Schmelzer, Weigl, Castro (Ramos 82′), Mkhitaryan, Kagawa (Ginter 77′), Reus (Gundogan 82′), Aubameyang.
Subs not used: Burki, Bender, Sahin, Pulisic
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)
Up next: The Reds visit Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon (1:30pm GMT), followed by the 226th Merseyside derby at Anfield on Wednesday (8pm GMT).