Liverpool are into their second successive Champions League final after overcoming Barcelona with a stunning second-leg fightback on an epic night at Anfield.
Roared on relentlessly by their fans, the Reds produced an incredible all-action display to claw back and then ultimately overturn their 3-0 deficit from the Nou Camp with an unanswered four-goal salvo in thrilling style.
It is the first time since 1986 – when Barcelona knocked out Gothenburg in the old European Cup – that a team have recovered a three-goal first-leg deficit to win a semi-final in this competition.
Divock Origi started the unlikely revival, tapping home from close range after seven minutes, but it was only when substitute Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice in the space of 2 Minutes and 2 seconds after the break that the tie truly swung in Liverpool’s favour.
Barcelona were rattled, and even Lionel Messi was unable to steady the ship before Origi struck again with the goal that would decide the tie on aggregate, after Trent Alexander-Arnold caught the visitors’ defence napping from a corner.
By now Anfield was rocking and the home fans stayed on their feet to cheer their side home in the closing minutes, with a shell-shocked Barca side unable to fashion any serious response.
The final whistle brought delirious celebrations on the pitch and in the stands, where the Reds supporters had played their part in an unforgettable match.
Liverpool have managed famous European fightbacks before, notably when they won this competition for the fifth time in Istanbul in 2005, but this was arguably the greatest in their glittering history.
They will go for a sixth triumph in Madrid on 1 June, where they will meet either Ajax or Tottenham in the final.
Liverpool join exclusive club – the stats
- Liverpool have reached their ninth European Cup/Champions League final – only Real Madrid (16), Milan (11) and Bayern Munich (10) have reached more.
- They are the first English side to reach back-to-back Champions League finals since Manchester United (2008 and 2009).
- This was just the fourth time a team has overturned a three-or-more goal deficit from the first leg of a Champions League (not European Cup) knockout tie to progress. Barcelona were also on the receiving end the last time (against Roma last season).
- Barcelona have now been eliminated from three of their past four Champions League semi-final ties.
- La Liga’s current champions suffered their heaviest-ever defeat against an English side in all European competitions.
- Full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has provided 14 assists in all competitions this season, more than any other Liverpool player.
- Divock Origi scored his first Champions League goals, and in doing so became the 50th different player to score in the competition for Liverpool (excluding own goals).
- Georginio Wijnaldum is the first Liverpool player to score twice from the bench in a Champions League game since Ryan Babel against Besiktas in 2007. He is also the first substitute to score twice in a single game against Barcelona in the competition.
- Lionel Messi either attempted (five) or created (three) all eight of Barcelona’s shots against Liverpool in this match.