Liverpool stage incredible comeback win over Barcelona

Sports | May 8, 2019, Wednesday // 10:31|  views

Of all the incredible nights at Anfield, where does this one count? It has to be at the very top, presumably, given who they were playing, the importance of the occasion and the overwhelming feeling, despite everything this stadium has witnessed over the years, that Liverpool have never quite managed anything this spectacular before, with the floodlights on and the European Cup as the target.

That is some honour for Jürgen Klopp and his players when you think of all the occasions here that have helped to shape Liverpool’s reputation. They have won this trophy five times and now, for a second successive year, they will be going to another final with the chance to make it six. It was nothing short of extraordinary – one of the all-time Champions League comebacks and a reminder, amid all the euphoria, about the greatness of this sport, with its capacity to surprise and conjure up barely conceivable storylines.

It finished with the Liverpool players, arm in arm, standing in front of the Kop to join in with the victory songs. For Barcelona, it will be remembered as one of the more harrowing ordeals of all their years in Europe’s premier club competition. Barça, you may recall, once overcame a 4-0 first-leg deficitagainst Paris Saint-Germain by winning 6-1 in the return fixture. They will know now what it is like to be on the receiving end of an almost implausible result. And, in fairness to the travelling supporters, they recognised greatness: long after the final whistle had sounded, with the stadium finally starting to clear and the man in charge of the music deciding it was time for some John Lennon, the Catalan fans in the far corner broke into spontaneous applause, clapping their Liverpudlian counterparts. It was some moment.

More fool anyone, perhaps, who had thought the occasion was beyond this team. Klopp’s heroes had begun the night with a 3-0 deficit and were without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino from their usual frontline. They were also, lest it be forgotten, facing a collection of players, led by some chap by the name of Lionel Messi, who were trying to win their third treble in a decade and their fifth European Cup in 13 years. And, as if that was not enough, there was the added pressure that suddenly, with Manchester City back on top of the Premier League, there was the distinct possibility that a season of sustained brilliance would end with no reward.

 

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