Liverpool produced an incredible comeback and booked their place in the Champions League final by defeating Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 agg)
Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg, Anfield
May 7, 2019
Origi 7′ (assist – Henderson)
Wijnaldum 54′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Wijnaldum 56′ (assist – Shaqiri)
Origi 78′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
The Reds faced one of their biggest challenges in the Champions League on Tuesday night, tasked with overturning a 3-0 scoreline in the second leg of their semi-final against Barcelona.
Jurgen Klopp was hampered with a spate of injuries in the buildup, most notably to Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, and therefore made four changes to the side that won 3-2 at Newcastle on Friday night.
For a club with a history of dramatic European comebacks, this was poised as one of Liverpool’s most difficult yet, and after an incredible 95 minutes a place in the final awaits.
- Klopp makes four changes; Shaqiri’s first start since January
- Origi scores within seven minutes in ridiculously intense opening salvo
- Wijnaldum comes off the bench to score two in two minutes to level tie
- Trent’s brilliant corner routine gives Liverpool lead through Origi
- Liverpool are in the Champions League final again
Roared on by a fantastic atmosphere, Liverpool started aggressively and positively, with Shaqiri almost teeing up Jordan Henderson for a tap-in at the back post in the first two minutes.
The Reds were 1-0 up within seven, as a familiar burst eventually fell to Henderson in the box and after shifting his feet the ball found Origi, who tapped into an open net to reduce the deficit.
As the tempo settled slightly, Barcelona began to carve out openings, with a yellow card for Fabinho of particular concern with the Brazilian unable to stay too close to Lionel Messi.
Luis Suarez played a focal role for the visitors, looking to employ the dark arts with referee Cuneyt Cakir as Anfield serenaded their former striker with chants of “fuck off Suarez.”
Klopp was left puffing his cheeks on the touchline as Henderson went down clutching his knee on the half-hour mark, and then Andy Robertson soon after, but fortunately both recovered as the first half ended at 1-0.
Virgil van Dijk almost grabbed another with a hooked volley from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a brilliant point-blank save, before Alisson denied a poor Suarez effort at the other end.
A moment of sloppiness and then a moment of determined brilliant from Alexander-Arnold led to an emphatic second for Liverpool, as Wijnaldum hammered home and through Ter Stegen.
And under two minutes later Gini had made it 3-0, with a stunning leap to head home Shaqiri’s cross as the substitute made the most heroic of impacts.
Then another stunning piece of play from Alexander-Arnold, this time showing the ingenuity to play a quick corner, gave the Reds the lead on aggregate, with Origi finishing immaculately first-time.
A lengthy period of stoppage time ensued, but Liverpool were able to hold on and secure a Champions League final place.
* Additional reporting by ISNTV.
TIA Man of the Match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (TUR)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Lovren, Woodburn, Brewster
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Malcom 80′), Vidal (Arthur 74′); Messi, Coutinho (Semedo 60′), Suarez
Subs not used: Cillessen, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Alena
Next Match: Wolves (H) – Premier League – Sunday, May 12, 3pm (BST)