Liverpool 4, Barcelona 0 | Liverpool won 4-3 on aggregate
It was the greatest comeback since Elvis Presley’s Las Vegas special.
Faced with a virtual mission impossible, Liverpool left Barcelona all shook up in what can only be described as the miracle at Anfield.
Destroyed by Lionel Messi in the first leg at the Nou Camp last week and trailing 3-0, Jurgen Klopp’s patched-up team humiliated the pride of Spanish football with a stunning 4-0 victory.
“With any other team I wouldn’t think it was possible,” Klopp, the charismatic German manager, said. “They are really giants. It is unbelievable the season we had, the games we had, the injuries we had now.
“Going out there and putting in a performance like this on this pitch is unbelievable. I am really proud to be the manager of this team,” he added.
And what a team it is. Stripped of the attacking flair of injured duo Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool found two unlikely heroes in stand-in striker Divock Origi and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum.
They both scored twice to set up a Champions League final date with either Dutch giants Ajax or English Premier League rivals Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.
“What they did was really special. I will remember it forever,” Klopp said.
On a night of raw emotion, Origi gave Liverpool a dream start, scoring after just seven minutes. Barca were rocking but hanging on with Messi and Philippe Coutinho both going close.
Still, what happened next was beyond belief. The injured Andy Robertson was replaced at half-time by Wijnaldum and he scored twice in the space of 122 seconds, leaving Barcelona shellshocked.
Then, with just 11 minutes to go, Origi grabbed the winner and Liverpool’s fourth goal as “You’ll Never Walk Alone” echoed around one of football’s great cathedrals.
“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,” Klopp said.
“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,” he added, referring to the vast army of foreign fans from Seoul to Shanghai and, of course, the Anfield faithful.
As for Barcelona and Messi, it was a case of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” in the immortal word of Elvis or “Don’t Be Cruel.”