Liverpool coach, Jurgen Klopp, pulled through an incredible feat tonight against Barcelona, beating the Spainish giants 4 – 0 (4 – 3 on aggregate) to take Liverpool into the UEFA Champions League final.
Missing three of their key players (Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Nabil Keita) due to injuries, Klopp adopted an attacking formation that virtually subdued Barcelona.
Liverpool took the lead on the 7th minute through Divock Origi who latched onto a palmed ball from the Barca goalkeeper. The goal from Origi, who has rarely started a game in Liverpool this season, was the perfect start Liverpool needed to pile pressure on Barcelona.
The Anfield giants continued their onslaught but the first half ended 1 – 0.
In the second half the Anfield outfit continued to dominate the game; and Georginio Wijnaldum gave the fans a glimmer of hope by netting Liverpool’s second of the night on the 54th minute. And Wijnaldum who replaced injured Andy Robertson in the second half followed this up with a sublime goal in the 56th minute, which cancelled the 3 – 0 deficit Liverpool carried from the first leg in Camp Nou, literally making the Anfield stadium to explode with joy. Barcelona tried to conjure up some attack as Lionel Messi fed Louis Suarez a through ball, but Suarez’s right footed strike was well saved by Liverpool goalkeeper with a strong right palm.
Barcelona’s night was made more miserable when Origi netted his second goal on the 79th minute from a clever corner kick by Trent Alexander-Arnold that took Barcelona defence by surprise.
Messi could not find his sparkle; and without a sparkling Messi, Barcelona often looked ordinary.
Klopp heaped praised on his boys after the game: “I said to the boys before the game that this is impossible, but because it’s you, it’s possible,” Klopp gushed.
“It’s 10 past 10, so most kids are in bed…These boys are f*cking mentality giants. It’s unbelievable.
“The whole game was too much. It was overwhelming. We played against maybe the best team in world.
“Winning is difficult but winning with a clean sheet, I don’t know how they did it. It’s unbelievable.
“I saw James Milner crying on the pitch after the game. It means so much to all of us. It’s the best phase of football.”
Klopp made sure to pay additional tribute to Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri, two fringe players in the squad brought to the fore tonight in their hour of need.
“There are more important things in the world. But creating this emotional atmosphere together is so special. It’s all about the players,” he added.
“The mix of potential and unbelievable heart is just a mix I never saw before. You have to be confident in a game like this.
“Divock and Shaq didn’t play a lot. Putting a performance in like that, it was so important. It shows what’s possible in football. It’s so nice. It’s really nice.
“We had to be serious. But we needed to be cheeky as well. It was necessary. Barcelona defend predictable things well. But you need to be unpredictable at moments.
“I saw the ball flying in the goal, I didn’t see the corner. I didn’t see who took the corner. Ben Woodburn said ‘what happened?’”
This night of fireworks ended 4 – 0 in favour of Liverpool without much on offer from Barcelona. No other club (besides Roma, 4 – 1, had beaten Barcelona in Europe after losing the first leg 3 – 0 in Spain. Klopp has now taken Liverpool to their second successive UEFA Champions League final.
Liverpool now awaits the winner of Ajax Amsterdam Vs Tottenham Hotspurs for a clash in the final on June 1, 2019.