Liverpool complete ‘special’ Champions League comeback to stun Barcelona at Anfield

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Barcelona at Anfield. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA.
Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring his side's third goal against Barcelona at Anfield. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA.
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Istanbul will always be the benchmark when it comes to Liverpool comebacks in Europe, but this dismantling of Barcelona at Anfield will run it close as Jurgen Klopp’s side reached successive Champions League finals.

Trailing by three goals from the first leg, no one gave the Reds much hope, but two goals apiece from Divock Origi and game-changing half-time substitute Georginio Wijnaldum saw them progress 4-3 on aggregate.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (left), manager Jurgen Klopp (centre) and Virgil van Dijk celebrate at Anfield. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (left), manager Jurgen Klopp (centre) and Virgil van Dijk celebrate at Anfield. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA.

In a truly remarkable and intense game not only did Liverpool erase that disadvantage inside 56 minutes, they went on to score a winner and, remarkably, kept Lionel Messi quiet.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admitted the players had expected a difficult game with most people having written them off.

He said: “I don’t think many people gave us a chance. We knew that it would be difficult but it was still possible for us.

“The belief we’ve got in the changing room. At Anfield we knew we could put on something special. We wanted to start fast, we got an early goal, which helped. We knew that if we gave everything, showed a bit of personality, a bit of heart (we could win).”

The whole game, the whole performance was too much. It was overwhelming. I watched in my life so many football games, but I can’t remember many like this. Winning is already difficult, but winning with a clean sheet I don’t know how the boys did it.

Jurgen Klopp

Manager Klopp said: “The whole game, the whole performance was too much. It was overwhelming. I watched in my life so many football games, but I can’t remember many like this. Winning is already difficult, but winning with a clean sheet I don’t know how the boys did it.

“I saw James Milner crying after the game on the pitch, it means so much to all of us.

“There are more important things in the world, but creating this kind of atmosphere is so special.”

For only the fourth time in the competition’s history a team was eliminated from a knockout tie having won the first leg by three or more goals, the last occasion being Barca against Roma in last season’s quarter-final.