Liverpool completed one of the most astonishing comebacks in Champions League history against Barcelona to reach the final for the second year in a row.
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg, Anfield
May 7, 2019
Goals: Origi, 7′, 79, Wijnaldum 54′, 56′
Alisson – 10 (out of 10) (Man of the Match)
Produced a superb reflex stop to deny Lionel Messi early on, before further crucial stops from Philippe Coutinho and Jordi Alba kept the tie alive heading into the break.
Followed that up with a handful of further terrific saves, including another from Messi in the second half. Liverpool knew they had to keep Barcelona out and the Brazilian was absolutely integral to the phenomenal comeback.
Without him it never could have happened.
Reinstalled after Joe Gomez was preferred in the first leg in the Nou Camp, Trent delivered the finest performance of his Liverpool career and was among the very best players on a pitch packed with world class superstars.
Created Wijnaldum’s first goal by winning the ball back high up the pitch and firing a wicked low cross into the box for the Dutchman to slam home, and then set up the winner with a sensational piece of quick thinking to pick out Origi with a superb low corner for the Belgian to finish, catching the entire defence off guard.
Defensively he was tested time and time again, but he stuck to his task superbly and dug in deep to help keep Barcelona at bay. A stunning showing from a phenomenal young player.
Joel Matip – 9
Imacculate in the first leg at the Nou Camp, Matip was outstanding once again, making a vital challenge on Messi when he looked destined to score in the first half.
Always on the front foot and reading the play superbly, his calmness on the ball was impressive as ever as he drove into space and picked out forward players with brave, incisive passes to play through the lines.
What a story his re-emergence has been this season.
Virgil Van Dijk – 9
Liverpool needed their defensive leader to put in a huge performance here and the Dutchman did exactly that, marshaling the back line with supreme authority and confidence.
Always in the right place at the right time and ensuring he won his aerial battles, he was especially terrific in the second half when Barcelona mounted more pressure, but he was never phased.
Almost scored himself as Ter Stegen was forced into a goal-line save.
Andy Robertson – 8
Forced Ter Stegen into a smart save with a powerful drive from distance and made a couple of key interceptions at the back to cut out dangerous passes in the box.
He tried to battle on after taking a nasty double-kick to the knee by Luis Suarez in the first half and had to be substituted at half time.
Thankfully Milner filled in brilliantly in his place.
Fabinho – 8
His job was made difficult as he was harshly booked after just 11 minutes for what was a robust but fair challenge on Suarez in which he clearly got the ball and had to tread carefully thereafter.
Kept his discipline throughout and avoided any silly challenges which would have seen him dismissed and the game completely turned on its head.
Continually snapped into tackles and halted counter-attacks, and ran crucial seconds off the clock with a brave piece of pressing to win a free kick in stoppage time.
James Milner – 8
Along with Henderson, Milner’s intensity from the first whistle put Barcelona under extreme pressure. Constantly harrying and never giving them a moment’s time or space, Milner was a relentless machine across the midfield.
Shifted to left back in the second half as Robertson went off, and slotted in with his usual aplomb, using the ball intelligently and keeping his side of the pitch locked down defensively.
A magnificent shift.
Jordan Henderson – 9
Heavily involved in Origi’s early goal as he bundled his way past a couple of challenges and it was his shot which Ter Stegen could not hold as the Belgian tucked in the rebound.
Suffered a heavy blow to his knee, but managed to soldier on and set the tone with his aggressive pressing and ability to get up and down the pitch, linking up well with the attack and tracking back diligently.
Never stopped running and was one of the driving forces in Liverpool’s sensational comeback. A performance for the captain to be proud of.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 6
Starting for the first time since January- and the first time in Europe since October, his lack of action showed as he appeared well off the pace and out of sync with the intensity and sharpness of his teammates.
Careless in position and giving away several loose balls which directly led to Barcelona counter-attacks, he was clearly the weak link in the side.
That said, he then played a decisive part in the victory by whipping in the cross for Wijnaldum to power home his second goal. The Swiss could be pleased with stamping his mark on an unforgettable night.
Divock Origi – 10
Following his dramatic late winner against Newcastle, Origi followed it up with another goal here, reacting sharply to Henderson’s shot as he was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net from close range to take the lead.
He then bagged the winner to send Liverpool into the Champions League final with a remarkable instinctive shot to fire Trent’s corner into the roof of the net when no one else reacted.
Confirmed his status as an Anfield cult hero. You could not possibly ask for any more from him in Roberto Firmino‘s absence in a game like this.
His story is a truly special one.
Sadio Mane – 9
Lining up as the only one of Liverpool’s lauded main front three here, Mane led the line superbly and it was his bullishness and directness which spread panic and fear throughout the Barcelona back line.
He played his part in the build-up to the opening goal, and while not directly involved in any of the others, he was an inspiration to his teammates and was always a threat.
Tigerish in winning the ball back as well, he contributed significantly to the team’s triumph.
He was Liverpool’s go-to Mane in attack and produced another superb performance.
Gini Wijnaldum (on for Robertson, 45′) – 10
On for the injured Robertson at half time, his two goals in two minutes turned the tie in Liverpool’s favor and delivered the double blow which put Barcelona on the ropes before Origi finished the job.
One of the finest cameo performances in Liverpool’s history.
Joe Gomez (on for Origi, 85′) – N/A
Helped Liverpool withstand a barrage of late pressure from Barcelona with a couple of important defensive interventions.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Shaqiri, 90′) – N/A
A very brief cameo in the dying minutes as Liverpool looked to run the clock down in stoppage time.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Lovren, Woodburn, Brewster
Jurgen Klopp – 100
Quite simply the finest night of Klopp’s tenure at the club, and one of the greatest nights- if not the greatest- in Liverpool history.
No one gave Liverpool a realistic hope of climbing this seemingly impossible mountain before kick-off, and Klopp was open in just how slim the chances were of completing the comeback.
No side had ever come back from 3-0 down in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final before, and yet with several key names missing, Klopp and his players found a way to make the impossible into reality.
Both tactically and psychologically, Klopp got every single decision absolutely spot on to mastermind one of the all-time iconic Champions League performances and take Liverpool to a second consecutive Champions League final.
He has won every single two-leg European knockout tie as Liverpool manager. Just astonishing.
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