Liverpool was facing an uphill battle against FC Barcelona after having lost the first leg at Nou Camp 0-3. Lionel Messi was on top of his game and Barcelona had won their eighth La Liga title in 11 years. To make matters worse for Liverpool, they were missing their two star players in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. However, in a stunning comeback, Jurgen Klopp’s side managed to overcome the odds and beat Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to secure their spot in the UEFA Champions League final for the second straight year. A brace each from Divock Origi and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum ensured Liverpool completed a dramatic comeback.
The effort by Liverpool and the collapse by Barcelona continued a peculiar trend in the UEFA Champions League. In 2005, Liverpool overcame a 3-0 deficit against AC Milan in the final of the tournament at Istanbul and they went on to win the title. For Barcelona, they had suffered a similar slump in the last edition when they blew a 4-1 lead to lose in the quarterfinals to AS Roma.
Liverpool will now face the winner of the second semifinal between Dutch side Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur. In addition to Liverpool gunning for UEFA Champions League glory, they are also bidding to win the Premier League title for the first time since 1990 but they are facing a tough battle against Manchester City who has won 12 consecutive games.
“We know this club is the mix of atmosphere, emotion, desire and football quality. You cut off one and it doesn’t work, we know that. This club has a big heart. The heart was pounding like crazy, you could hear it and feel it all over the world. I am so happy we could give the people this experience,” an elated Klopp said after the end of the match.
For Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, the defeat will result in some nasty days ahead for the club. “The most hurtful thing is to repeat it. When you have a collapse of this nature we will have a few horrible days ahead,” Valverde said. The defeat might make things difficult for Valverde, who might struggle to come back into a coaching position for Barcelona despite winning the La Liga title.