Liverpool stage comeback for the ages to beat Barcelona and reach Champions League final
Liverpool staged an unbelievable comeback as they thrashed Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to win their Champions League semi-final 4-3 on aggregate on one of the most incredible nights in the competition’s history.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg in Spain, and without star forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool stunned Barcelona through doubles from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum.
It was a pulsating night that carried echoes of the Anfield club’s equally unbelievable comeback in the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ in 2005, while Barcelona and star man Lionel Messi were left crestfallen and out of the competition.
The home team got off to the perfect start after just seven minutes, when Belgian striker Origi turned home after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had saved a Jordan Henderson shot.
Liverpool continued to press but Barcelona showed their threat when a well-worked move put Messi in, but his shot from the edge of the box was tipped over by Alisson.
Philippe Coutinho and Messi again had chances as Liverpool lived dangerously, while perhaps Barcelona’s biggest chance came on the stroke of half time when Messi split the Liverpool defense with a through-ball for Jordi Alba, whose shot was saved by a sprawling Alisson.
There was an all-action opening to the second half as Virgil van Dijk almost backheeled in from a corner but Ter Stegen was equal to it, before the ball went straight down the other end and Alisson saved at a stretch from Suarez.
But then up stepped Georginio Wijnaldum – introduced as a half-time substitute for the injured Andy Robertson.
First the Dutchman slotted home a Trent Alexander-Arnold cutback on 54 minutes, before rising highest to head in a Xherdan Shaqiri cross.
Anfield was rocking, Barcelona were on the ropes.
The knockout blow came from Origi again, as the quick-thinking Alexander-Arnold caught Barcelona napping with smart corner, with the Belgian unmarked in the box to turn into the net with 10 minutes left.
Liverpool held on for dear life but weathered the storm as Messi and Co failed to conjure the magic they needed.
Jurgen Klopp and his team lapped up the Anfield adulation at the final whistle as they booked their second final spot in successive seasons, heading to Madrid on June 1 to face either Ajax or Tottenham.