Liverpool advance to Champions League final with dramatic win

Liverpool advance to Champions League final with dramatic win

The Reds advanced to the Champions League final in the most dramatic fashion.

leanneprescott
Leanne Prescott

Liverpool completed the most dramatic of comebacks to book their place in their second successive Champions League final following a resounding 4-0 against Barcelona.

Jurgen Klopp's side had it all to do following a 3-0 deficit at Camp Nou last week - a result that failed to reflect the ingenuity and threat on show. However, just as they have so many times under the German's tutelage, Liverpool dug deep to produce a scintillating performance on another memorable night at Anfield, with a brace from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum ensuring they will meet one of Ajax or Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

It marks only the fourth time in the competition's history that a team has eliminated from a knockout tie having won the first leg by three or more goals - the last occasion came when Roma beat Barca in last year's quarter-final. 

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Story of the match

Even the most optimistic of fans would've been tentative about predicting a second-leg turnaround on Tuesday night after Lionel Messi's Camp Nou masterclass appeared to deliver a crippling blow to the club's hopes of going one better than they achieved in the competition last year. 

Without two-thirds of their dynamic front three following continued injury issues for Roberto Firmino and a concussion for Mohamed Salah after Saturday's dramatic win at St James' Park, the task seemed almost impossible. To score three without reply against Barcelona is one thing, but to do it with a depleted squad who were also left reeling the loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita appeared a bridge to far.

This Liverpool side have a habit of making the impossible possible, though. 

Anfield has played home to some incredible European nights over the last century but this may have topped the lot as the might of Barcelona was tossed aside by a defiant and dogged performance of sheer will and want.

Divock Origi continued to make a case for a statue to be built in his honour outside Anfield, scoring a crucial goal inside the opening six minutes to give Liverpool the fast start they desperately craved. The Belgian, who was considered for so long to have no future on Merseyside, was instrumental in the  fightback, stepping up as the danger man and setting the tone in the absence of Klopp's more frequent starters. A new contract wouldn't be off the cards given his last ditch winners against Everton and Newcastle of late. 

Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson typified Liverpool's fight best inside the first-half, with both players bashed and bruised by their Barcelona counterparts but intent on playing their part such were the severity of the stakes. The left-back did eventually make way for the second-half which ordinarily would have been another monumental blow for The Reds, but for the inspired performance of his replacement, Gini Wijnaldum, who was the catalyst for a rampant second-half. 

The Dutchman clearly took a shine to last week's stint upfront, netting two brilliantly taken goals in the space of two minutes to shellshock the visitors. Liverpool weren't done there though, with Trent Alexander-Arnold's awareness and ingenuity to catch the Barcelona defence sleeping enabling Origi to slot in the crucial fourth goal to ensure passage to Madrid. 

In one of the most bizarre passages of play you'll ever see in a Champions League semi-final, the right-back made use of an opportunity to take a corner quickly, exposing the away side, whose goalkeeper was still clapping his previous intervention. A smart finish from Origi later and Anfield erupted, sparking scenes of utter jubilation and hysteria. 

Liverpool had done the impossible, the scintillating, the perfect. Lionel Messi could only watch on as a mere bystander as his hopes of lifting the trophy were snatched right in front of his eyes. 

A truly special performance from a special football team, Klopp and his players will be hoping the weekend can deliver a similarly miraculous twist to the Premier League title race. 

 

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