Liverpool pulled off a stunning comeback to rival some of the greatest results in the club’s history as they beat Barcelona 4-0 at home on Tuesday night to overturn a 3-0 first-leg deficit and reach the Champions League final.
It’s a second straight final for Jurgen Klopp’s side as their incredible season continues. Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored two goals apiece and the Reds dominated against a strangely lacklustre Barcelona.
Here’s a closer look at how Klopp masterminded the incredible turnaround.
Goals – 4
Shots – 13
Possession – 43%
Passing accuracy – 78%
Chances created – 11
Dribbles – 10
With Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino missing through injury, Xherdan Shaqiri and Origi joined Sadio Mane in attack, as Klopp shuffled his pack, making four changes to the XI that lost the first leg.
Liverpool got off to a flier thanks to Origi’s seventh-minute goal, and they got a similarly fast start in the second half, with two goals in two minutes levelling the aggregate score with over half an hour left to play.
More than enough time for Origi to grab the headlines.
TACTICAL TALKING POINT
Klopp sticks to his guns
There was talk that without Salah and Firmino, Liverpool might line up with a front two. Instead, Klopp trusted his 4-3-3 system.
Origi ran himself into the ground trying to replicate Firmino’s energy as leader of Liverpool’s press, and scored twice. Shaqiri struggled in the first half, but produced the assist for Wijnaldum’s second.
Even an injury to Andy Robertson couldn’t knock Klopp off his stride. He simply moved James Milner to left-back and brought on Wijnaldum – who bagged a brace.
Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum on winning against Barcelona.— SBOBET (@SBOBET) May 7, 2019
“I admit I was really sad, gutted and devastated that I didn’t start the game. Klopp said I can be his secret weapon. Now all they will remember is I played.”#LFCBarça pic.twitter.com/DOeT7JB1fv
Tuesday night at Anfield probably comes right below Istanbul 2005 as the greatest European night in Liverpool’s history. What more could one have asked for from Klopp and his players?
Facing a 3-0 deficit against a side that has arguably the greatest player of all time, with a depleted team, Klopp ensured his side showed the hunger and intensity that they’ve had all season.
When those traits are combined with the ability of this Liverpool side, anything’s possible. Bring on Ajax or Tottenham.
RATING – 10/10
The Reds were full of heroes all over the pitch, while Barcelona delivered a calamitous display which will surely carry consequences.
Check out our full player ratings here.
Alisson 9. Made a batch of excellent saves, twice denying Messi and a key stop from Suarez just after the break.
Alexander-Arnold 8. His cross led to the second goal, and then a quickly taken corner forced the winner. Solid in defence.
Matip 8. Commanding and powerful in defence, regularly striding forward to develop play. Always in control.
Van Dijk 8. Came close from a corner early in the second half, rarely flustered as he marshalled the back four.
Robertson 8. Strong at the back and great coming forward, a real shame he was forced off at half-time through injury.
Henderson 9. Made a brilliant start, with his shot leading to the opener, and continued to boss the midfield.
Fabinho 7. Solid and disciplined in the centre of the pitch, helping his back four subdue the threat of Suarez.
Milner 8. Powerful and purposeful in midfield, before moving to left-back at half-time. Very solid there too.
Shaqiri 7. Always trying to create danger with probing passing into the box and delivered a great cross for the third goal.
Origi 9. Slotted home the opener and the incredible winner. Led the line well, showing good mobility and movement.
Mane 8. Real livewire, involved in the build up to opener and continuing to threaten with his pace throughout.
Wijnaldum 8. Introduced at the interval and scored twice within ten minutes, giving an energetic and dynamic display.
Gomez N/A Late sub to shore things up in defence, and did that job fine.
Sturridge N/A. A time-wasting sub in the last minute, chased down well.
But Origi gave Liverpool hope with a seventh-minute goal at Anfield before Georginio Wijnaldum scored two quick second-half goals to level the tie, setting the stage for the Belgian to strike the decisive goal 11 minutes from time.
Liverpool will face Ajax or Tottenham in the final in Madrid on June 1 but here, we analyse the performance of the Origi.
Goals – 2
Assists – 0
Shots – 2
Shots on target – 2
Touches – 30
Aerials won – 1
Crosses – 3
Dribbles – 3
Genuinely, and this sentence will seem facetious but it’s not, the Belgian was better than Lionel Messi for 90 minutes.
He poached the early goal, displaying the typical striker trait of being in the right place at the right time to tap in after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had parried Jordan Henderson’s shot.
A first Champions League goal for the forward injected the crowd and himself with confidence. From there, he twisted and turned, galloped into space plus held the ball up superbly.
His second, was a sharply-taken strike as Alexander-Arnold’s genius corner bounced into his path.
Physicality – Not just simply in the initial application of it, but the ability to bully his way into position to take a high ball then maneuver himself to retain possession. Liverpool were far more direct in this leg and Origi was able to deeply trouble Barca through this approach.
Energy – The absence of Roberto Firmino meant Liverpool lost a vital cog in their pressing machine. Origi filled the void with pure determination, incredible commitment, leaving every sinew of muscle fibre out on the Anfield pitch.
Jurgen Klopp spoke in the build-up about a potential beautiful failure, but through Origi’s pace, poise and aggression, they enjoyed a beautiful success. This was performance of his career.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com