In the aftermath of Liverpool reaching the Champions League final following a historic 4-0 win over Barcelona, we look at the best statistics of the game.
The Reds had a mountain to climb on their return to Anfield, but Liverpool are synonymous with famous European comebacks—and Tuesday evening was no different.
Divock Origi got Liverpool off to a flying start, before a Gini Wijnaldum double in the second half saw the semi-final tie locked at 3-3 on aggregate with over half an hour remaining.
And after an expertly worked corner, Origi caught Barcelona napping to seal the match-winning goal which not only sent the Anfield faithful into a state of pandemonium, but also saw the Reds qualify for their second successive Champions League final.
It was yet another stunning display from Liverpool in what has been a remarkable season and now they are set for the showpiece final in Madrid in just over three weeks’ time.
Here are the best stats from the match.
Origi Seizes the Moment
Origi has been the man on the periphery for much of Liverpool’s campaign having started just five games across all competitions prior to Tuesday night.
Behind in the pecking order to the Reds’ prolific attacking trio always meant his game time was to be limited – but, that isn’t to say he has not stood up and made his presence known when called upon.
After Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were ruled out for the semi-final second leg the Belgian was handed just his second start in the competition, and he more than stood up to the task.
His decisive strike to set the Reds on course for their famous victory was his first in the Champions League, and with his confidence soaring his second soon followed as he clinched what proved to be the goal which booked Liverpool their place in the Madrid showpiece.
The Belgian proved he is a player for the big occasion as his brace against Barcelona, coupled with all important winners against Everton and Newcastle (which make up four of his six goals this term) have kept the Reds in touching distance of clinching two major honours.
All told, it’s a goal every 96 minutes on the pitch for the big man this season.
The outside world had stacked the odds against Jurgen Klopp‘s men, but how many times has this side disproved the notion of what many deemed an impossible task.
It wasn’t to say the mountain to climb wasn’t steep, however, as the Reds’ famous 4-0 win saw them become only the third team in the history of the European Cup—in all its forms—to recover from a three-goal defeat in the first leg without an away goal or a penalty shootout, as per Andrew Beasley.
Liverpool follow only Panathinaikos (1971) and their opponents on the night Barcelona (1986) in recovering from a similar first-leg deficit.
It is an incredible stat which only goes to show the mental fortitude and the surging confidence in the side, all of which is fuelled by the belief that anything is possible.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Liverpool needed three unanswered goals in the second 45 to complete mission impossible, and Wijnaldum was on hand to snatch two of them in as many minutes.
After starting the game on the bench the Dutchman was introduced as a half-time substitute following an injury to Andy Robertson, and it is where his love affair with European Cup semi-finals was rekindled.
His 45-minute cameo was as good as you will ever see, and his powerful drive beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen set the wheels in motion before steering a header into the top corner.
It means all three of his Champions League goals have arrived in a semi-final, with his first having proved vital in overcoming Roma last season.
Trent’s Stroke of Genius
Liverpool’s full-backs have been phenomenal in racking up assists so far this season, but it was Trent Alexander-Arnold who edged ahead in the in-house competition after conjuring up a moment of pure genius.
The 20-year-old’s quick thinking from a corner set up Origi’s match-winning goal and saw the right-back’s total of assists rise to an astonishing 14 across all competitions—the most of any Liverpool player this season.
The youngster was in the thick of the action all night, where his defensive work was just as influential as his time in attack.
While his counterpart in Robertson was unable to add to his own impressive tally after being forced off at half-time, his return to the side will only ignite the duo’s competition—which will only be beneficial for the Reds’ hopes of success this term.
Klopp’s European Prowess
Three European campaigns. Three finals. And a 100 per cent success rate in two-legged European ties.
It reads as one hell of a record for Klopp as Liverpool manager, with 10 rounds of knockout ties safely navigated stemming back to the 2015/16 Europa League campaign all the way through to present day.
From Borussia Dortmund and Valencia to Manchester City, Roma, Bayern Munich and now Barcelona. They each came with their own subplot of drama, but they all equally showcased the formidable nature of Klopp’s side.
Now, all that is left to do is translate the success from the knockout stages into the final, starting in Madrid on June 1.