Sport Football Liverpool reaches final in spectacular comeback

Liverpool reaches final in spectacular comeback

liverpool barcelona champions league
Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team's third goal against Barcelona. Photo: Getty
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Liverpool has done the seemingly unthinkable, turning a 3-0 deficit over to knock Barcelona out and progress to the UEFA Champions League final 4-3 on aggregate.

In an incredible boilover at Anfield, Liverpool totally overpowered Barcelona 4-0 on the night, after copping a Messi-inspired 3-0 defeat in Catalunya last week.

Super sub Georginio Wijnaldum turned the match on its head with two goals in as many minutes in the second half, before Barcelona’s defence went to sleep at a corner to allow Divock Origi to score his second of the night, putting the Reds four up.

The comeback was all the more special given Liverpool was without its star forward Mohamed Salah – out with a concussion – as well as Brazilian schemer Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool will face either Tottenham Hotspur or Ajax in the final, with the Dutch club leading its semi-final tie 1-0 heading into the second leg.

It is the second consecutive season in which Liverpool has reached the Champions League final.

“Unbelievable. I don’t think many people gave us a chance. Before the game we knew that it would be difficult but it was still possible of course,” captain Jordan Henderson told BT Sport.

“It’s amazing. We knew that at Anfield we could do something special. It’s a special night … they’re a fantastic team but we knew if we showed heart we had a chance to get something.”

Liverpool found itself 1-0 up inside seven minutes when Henderson burst into the area to shoot at goal, only for the parried save to fall to Origi, who side-footed home.

Then the game turned on its head in the second half. First, Trent Alexander-Arnold powered down the right flank before skimming a cross into the box which Wijnaldum prodded beneath the keeper to bring the aggregate back to 3-2, with the game now very much on.

Within a minute, it was all square. This time the cross was floated in from the left wing, and Wijnaldum rose to place his header perfectly past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and send Anfield into delirium.

It meant the aggregate score sat at 3-3, with no away goals in the equation, and the Reds having completed a stirring comeback from three goals down.

But as dazed as Barcelona were, the Catalans only needed a single away goal to put the cat among the pigeons.

With the boos raining down from the Anfield stands, Lionel Messi looked to repeat his trick from the week before with a left-footed free kick from distance, but could only fire it into the wall. Another sharp chance at the near post saw the Argentine’s effort saved by Alisson.

The nail in the coffin for the Spanish outfit would come in the 84th minute, when Barcelona’s defence inexplicably went to sleep at a corner.

With no-one watching Alexander-Arnold, the fullback opted to put in a quick cross from the set piece, which Origi gleefully dispatched after being left completely on his own by his dozy markers.

Barcelona failed to convert a late spell of possession in injury time into an away goal — which still would have been enough to snuff out Liverpool’s miracle — and the full-time celebration triggered scenes of unbridled joy on the Liverpool pitch.

As the Anfield stands familiar refrain of You’ll Never Walk Alone rang out, Liverpool players embraced in front of the Kop end, celebrating in front of fans.