Liverpool has just made one of the most incredible Champions League comebacks. Here's how they did it - Origi and Wijnaldum double strikes propel Liverpool into second UCL final
◘ TEAM NEWS!
LIVERPOOL: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Milner, Henderson, Mane, Shaqiri, Origi
Substitutes: Mignolet, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Gomez, Sturridge, Brewster, Woodburn.
BARCELONA: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez
Substitutes: Cillessen, Semedo, Arthur, Malcom, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Alena
◘ Who do you think is going through to the final? Barcelona or Liverpool? We have a poll up on Twitter. Vote, comment and let us know what you think.
◘ Luis Suarez might have celebrated after scoring in the first leg but he says he will not celebrate in the same way if he scores in the second leg.
◘ Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde warned his side to learn from its experience in losing to Roma but does not expect a repeat tonight.
Leading 4-1 against Roma, Barca contrived to lose 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico, exiting the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage via the away goals rule. Valverde wants Barca to right the wrongs of that Roma defeat.
◘ Liverpool might be 3-0 down going into the game but it can take heart from a series of incredible European comebacks in its proud history.
- LIVERPOOL 4-3 DORTMUND [5-4 AGG], EUROPA LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL, 2016
Klopp's 2016 return to former club Dortmund saw the teams draw 1-1, with few signs of the amazing drama that was to come in the second leg. Dortmund was 2-0 up inside nine minutes and although Divock Origi – a potential starter against Barca due to the absence of Salah and Firmino - reduced the deficit, Marco Reus then added a third away goal for the visitor. Liverpool's hopes of reaching the semi-final seemed over but Philippe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho struck to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate.
The sensational comeback was completed in a breathtaking Anfield atmosphere by the unlikely figure of Dejan Lovren. "Everybody could see that something happened in the stadium, you could feel it, you could hear it, you could smell it," said Klopp afterwards.
- LIVERPOOL 3-1 OLYMPIACOS, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE, 2004
Rafael Benitez's side was faltering in the early weeks of his first season at the club, having made a slow start in the Premier League and seemingly set to exit the Champions League at the group stage. Liverpool went into its final fixture needing to beat Olympiacos - and if the Greek giant scored the Reds would have to win by two clear goals to qualify. Rivaldo's opener, a fantastic free-kick, increased the size of the mountain Liverpool had to climb and it was still trailing at half-time.
Benitez sent on Florent Sinama Pongolle and he grabbed one back, but Liverpool still needed to score twice. Neil Mellor put Liverpool in front in the game and who else but captain Steven Gerrard hammered home a sensational long-range strike to keep the Reds in the competition. Incredibly, though, there was even more drama to come for Liverpool in Europe that season...
- AC MILAN 3-3 LIVERPOOL [AET], CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL, 2005
Probably the greatest comeback in Champions League history, Liverpool came from 3-0 down at half-time against AC Milan in the miracle of Istanbul. Paolo Maldini's first-minute goal gave Milan the ideal start and a Hernan Crespo brace seemingly secured the trophy for the Rossoneri. However, Benitez's Reds had other ideas. "My concern was at half-time how to express what I wanted to say in English to make sure the team could understand," said the Spaniard.
Gerrard, whose all-action second-half performance defied description, cut the deficit to raise hope and Vladimir Smicer's long-range strike made it 3-2. Xabi Alonso astonishingly drew the scores level, tucking in the rebound after his penalty was saved. Milan should still have won it late in extra time, Jerzy Dudek somehow saving Andriy Shevchenko's point-blank effort, and the goalkeeper was Liverpool's hero when it came to penalties, keeping out attempts from both Andrea Pirlo and the Ukraine legend following Serginho's early miss, handing the Reds their fifth European crown.
ROMA 3-0 BARCELONA, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL, 2018
Rivalling Liverpool in Istanbul for the title of greatest Champions League fightback, Roma dumped out Barca in the Champions League quarter-finals in a result Messi and his side may recall ahead of their trip to Merseyside. Ernesto Valverde's side had won the first leg 4-1 at Camp Nou to put one foot in the last four of the competition, only to collapse in stunning fashion on Italian soil.
Edin Dzeko struck in the sixth minute to give Roma some hope and the belief was flowing when long-term captain Daniele De Rossi converted a penalty to increase Barca's nerves. Roma's away goal from the first leg meant they knew one more would send them through, with their opponents dropping deeper and deeper in the closing stages and unable to fight back against the growing pressure. With eight minutes to go, Kostas Manolas completed the comeback to spark remarkable scenes of celebration at the Stadio Olimpico.
◘ Here are some interesting Opta data ahead of the match:
2 - Liverpool is looking to become the third team to overturn a three-goal first-leg deficit in a European Cup/Champions League semi-final, following on from Panathinaikos in 1970-71 and Barcelona in 1985-86.
3- Only on three previous occasions has a team been eliminated from a Champions League knockout tie having won the first leg by three or more goals. The last occasion it happened involved Barcelona last season, who won 4-1 at home against Roma but then lost 3-0 in the return fixture of the quarter-final clash.
2 - Barcelona has already won twice on English soil this season, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at Wembley in the group stage and then Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford at the quarter-final stage.
19 - Liverpool is unbeaten in 19 home matches in all competitions, recording 16 wins and three draws in that time. This is its second best run at Anfield under Klopp, trailing only a 25-game streak between January 2016 and January 2017.
2 - Barcelona has won both of its previous Champions League meetings at Anfield, recording a 3-1 victory in November 2001 and a 1-0 triumph in March 2007. Barca is the only away team to have won more than once at Liverpool in the competition.
5 - Barcelona has won just five of its last 18 away Champions League knockout ties (W5 D4 L9) but four of those victories have come in England, with the other against Paris Saint-Germain in April 2015.
26 - Lionel Messi has scored a total of 26 Champions League goals against English teams, more than any other player in the history of the competition, including six this season.
367 - Liverpool has not conceded in the Champions League at Anfield in 367 minutes, a run stretching back to Kylian Mbappe’s goal in September. The Reds have not kept five successive clean sheets at home in a major European competition since October 1984.
◘ The big news midweek was that both Mohamad Salah and Roberto Firmino have been ruled out of of tonight's game.
Salah, Liverpool's leading scorer in all competitions this season, sustained a head injury in the Reds' 3-2 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday. The Egypt forward had to be taken off on a stretcher in the 73rd minute.
Firmino, meanwhile, missed the Newcastle clash with an ongoing groin problem, and will remain on the sidelines as Liverpool looks to overturn a 3-0 deficit.
Here's what Klopp said regarding both the players missing out of the game:
◘ Liverpool emerged victorious from a bruising battle against Newcastle to remain in the hunt for the Premier League title, but may have sustained too many wounds to summon a Champions League semifinal comeback against Barcelona on Tuesday.
A late double from Lionel Messi in the Camp Nou on Wednesday has left Jurgen Klopp's men with a mountain to climb to overturn a 3-0 first leg defeat if they are to reach a second consecutive Champions League final.
Liverpool has overcome such deficits before in the Champions League, most famously in the 2005 final against AC Milan at Istanbul.
But hopes of another famous European comeback at fortress Anfield were dealt a blow when Mohamed Salah was stretchered off with a head knock as Liverpool edged out Newcastle 3-2 on Saturday to move two points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Salah watched a thrilling end to the match at St. James' Park in the dressing room as his replacement Divock Origi headed home fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick four minutes from time.
Origi, who also scored a 96th-minute winner to beat Everton in the Merseyside derby in December, Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge have made important contributions in a supporting role to a club record points tally for Liverpool this season.
“We are always ready to get on the pitch and make a difference,” said Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson.
“The lads who have been left at home and lads who are on the bench and haven't come on, they are buzzing for us. There's no egos in this squad and that's why we are where we are today and long may it continue.”
However, with Roberto Firmino already ruled out due to a groin injury, few would give Liverpool any hope of overhauling a three-goal deficit without two of its prolific front three.
Klopp therefore has a difficult balancing act deciding whether it is worth emptying the tank of his injury-hit squad once more on Tuesday or to save their legs for Wolves' visit to Anfield on the final day of the Premier League season.
“We are now qualified for the league final, which is brilliant,” said Klopp at taking the title race to the final game of the season.
Despite a sensational season, Liverpool's chances of winning either trophy are fading.
To have any hope of a first league title in 29 years, Klopp's men must hope that Manchester City lose at Brighton come Sunday after Vincent Kompany's strike from 25 yards ensured a 1-0 win to move his team to the top.
Barcelona will also not be complacent heading to Anfield a year on from letting a 4-1 first leg lead against Roma slip away in the quarter-finals.
Messi made it clear from before the season began that the Champions League was his and Barca's primary target in his first campaign as club captain.
Moreover, while Liverpool toiled on Tyneside on Saturday night, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde had the luxury of making 11 changes for an inconsequential 2-0 defeat to Celta Vigo having already wrapped up the Spanish title.
Yet, Origi's winner at Newcastle personified Liverpool's persistence and refusal to give up. Four times in its last seven league outings Liverpool has won the game in the final 10 minutes.
Now it must harness the same belief if Barca is to be given a fright at Anfield.
“If we do fall short this season we will be back next season and we just need to keep going and keep going, and hopefully get what this club deserves,” added Robertson.
“First of all Tuesday, a hell of a task, but if we can get a wee bit of luck then hopefully we will progress.”
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