Liverpool have reached their second successive Champions League final with a remarkable 4-0 victory over Barcelona in the second leg of their semi-final clash at Anfield.
Divock Origi netted the first and fourth goals on a memorable night on Merseyside, but the enforced introduction of Georginio Wijnaldum proved key with the Dutchman chipping in with a double in three second-half minutes.
Barcelona had their opportunities on Tuesday evening but at times, the La Liga champions looked powerless as a rampant Liverpool wrote another page in their illustrious history.
Liverpool set the tone for the task ahead by almost going ahead after 51 seconds with Jordan Henderson being denied by a last-gasp interception at the back post, but it did not take long for the home side to reduce the three-goal deficit.
A mistake from Jordi Alba contributed to Henderson seeing a low shot inside the area well saved by Marc Andre ter Stegen, but Divock Origi was perfectly placed to slot home the rebound from six yards out.
Liverpool remained on the front foot although it soon became apparent that a gung-ho approach would quickly be undone, and Lionel Messi saw a shot tipped over the crossbar by Alisson after meeting Alba’s cutback.
Messi quickly turned provider for Philippe Coutinho to have a low curling effort parried away by Alisson, while Messi dragged a half-volley wide of the goalkeeper’s post from the edge of the area.
Andrew Robertson had a well-struck strike kept out by Ter Stegen at the other end, but Liverpool have quickly become second best to a side intent on netting what would probably be a tie-clinching goal.
Liverpool rallied as the first half moved closer towards a conclusion, but Klopp’s side were fortunate to make the break without conceding an equaliser during four minutes of added-on time.
A mistake from Xherdan Shaqiri eventually resulted in Messi dragging a shot just wide from distance, before Alba got on the end of a pass from the Argentine only for Alisson to make a timely block.
Liverpool were forced into a change before the restart due to an injury to Robertson, but Klopp’s men again pushed forward for an early goal with Virgil van Dijk being denied by Ter Stegen after a clever back-heeled volley.
Luis Suarez saw a shot from 14 yards parried away by Alisson as Barcelona also showed intent in the final third, but Liverpool soon pulled a second goal back through Robertson’s replacement Wijnaldum.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross from the right was deflected into the path of the substitute, who forced a first-time effort under Ter Stegen from by the penalty spot.
The home supporters were beginning to sense something special was taking place in front of them, and the comeback was soon complete when Shaqiri crossed for the Dutchman to power a header into the top corner from eight yards.
The capacity crowd inside Anfield were in delirium as Barcelona struggled to comprehend what had just taken place, but Ernesto Valverde’s side soon gathered themselves to take control of the game ahead of the final quarter.
Messi was always a threat – regardless of whether he was in possession – and the forward almost netted his third of the tie with Alisson having to make a smart save down at his near post.
However, Liverpool remained ambitious when on the ball, and the quick-thinking of Alexander-Arnold led to Liverpool remarkably taking the lead with 11 minutes remaining.
Barcelona were attempting to find a way to defend a corner from the right effectively, but Alexander-Arnold sent a low pass across the box for Origi to fire a close-range effort into the top corner.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.