Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool reached the Champions League final with a remarkable 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona in Tuesday’s semi-final second leg.
Here AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from one of Anfield’s greatest European nights:
Incredible Liverpool make history
Given the size of the task seemingly facing Liverpool, it was no surprise to hear Jurgen Klopp had warned his wife not to expect a celebration when he returned home from Anfield.
“I don’t tell my missus ‘wait for me at home, we will have a party after the game because we’ll win it’. We have to work for it,” Klopp had said when asked about the 3-0 first leg deficit.
Yet, against all odds, Klopp’s side will face Ajax or Tottenham in the final after one of the greatest nights in their glorious history.
Liverpool, five-time European champions, are only the third team in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to come from three goals down after the first leg of a semi-final and progress to the final, following in the footsteps of Panathinaikos in 1970-71 and Barcelona in 1985-86.
Only Deportivo La Coruna in 2004, Barcelona in 2017 and Roma in 2018 had overturned a three-goal first leg deficit to win Champions League knockout ties.
Yet, with Barca so fragile at the back, the writing was on the wall from the moment Divock Origi slotted home from close-range in the seventh minute.
The previous three teams to score in first seven minutes of Champions League games against Barca went on to score three or more goals and Liverpool’s relentless pressure ensured they had emulated that achievement by the 56th minute.
It was an even more jaw-dropping achievement given Liverpool were playing without injured trio Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita.
The astonishing revival will now forever be mentioned in the same awed tones as Liverpool’s never-to-be-forgotten ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ when Steven Gerrard and company recovered from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties in the 2005 Champions League final.
For 42 years, David Fairclough held a special place in Liverpool’s history as the club’s unparallelled super-sub, but Georginio Wijnaldum’s incredible contribution may have surpassed even his illustrious predecessor.
When Fairclough came off the bench to score Liverpool’s winner with just minutes left in the 1977 European Cup quarter-final against Saint-Etienne, he ensured he would be cherished forever at Anfield for the goal that sparked the team’s run to win the tournament for the first time.