25th February 2024
Sport

Liverpool knock out Barça with stunning Champions League comeback

Liverpool created one of the most stunning comebacks in the history of the Champions League as both Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice to beat Barça 4-0 and progress to the final for the second consecutive year 4-3 on aggregate on Tuesday, at Anfield.

Liverpool were deprived of two of their most potent attacking weapons in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino due to injury.

However, Origi and substitute Wijnaldum became the unlikely heroes as Barça squandered a three-goal first-leg lead to exit the Champions League for the second straight season after blowing a 4-1 advantage against Roma in the quarter-finals last year.

Despite losing Salah and Firmino, Jurgen Klopp‘s team never lost faith and were accompanied by a typically raucous Anfield atmosphere on a European night.

Origi would almost certainly not have started had Salah and Firmino been fit.

But the Belgian has made a habit of scoring important goals in Liverpool’s challenge for a first Premier League title in 29 years and he had his first ever in the Champions League on seven minutes on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had denied Jordan Henderson‘s initial effort.

Liverpool players celebrate
Liverpool players celebrate (photo courtesy of @LFC / Twitter)

Lionel Messi had seemingly turned the tie in Barcelona’s favour late in the first leg with a brilliant free-kick and his first effort was tipped over by Alisson Becker before the Brazilian denied international teammate Philippe Coutinho.

Another former Liverpool favourite Luis Suarez promised not to celebrate if he scored on his former stomping ground, but there was no love lost for the Uruguayan among the home crowd as he was showered with abuse after trying to buy cheap free-kicks.

Alisson made another important save from Suarez before Wijnaldum sent Anfield wild twice inside two minutes.

Firstly, the Dutch midfielder was picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s low cross and drilled under Ter Stegen. And from Liverpool’s next attack, Shaqiri picked out Wijnaldum to head home at the Kop end.

Barça coach Ernesto Valverde tried to restore some order as Coutinho, who cost £142 million when moving between the clubs in January 2018, was replaced for the second time in the tie by Nelson Semedo to allow the visitors to switch to a four-man midfield.

The change briefly had an impact, but Barça were inexplicably caught cold from a quick Alexander-Arnold corner 11 minutes from time that picked out Origi completely unmarked to fire high past Ter Stegen.

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