Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football European

Liverpool savour a magical miracle night at Anfield in Europa League win over Dortmund

Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund (Liverpool win 5-4 on aggregate)

By Ian Herbert

A comeback in keeping with all the great traditions of this place - only better, greater, braver, stronger.

Olympiakos, 2004, is the gold standard of course, though this one surpasses it. Better opposition, by a distance and such precious little time to turn around a three-goal deficit.

A mere 33 minutes were at Liverpool's disposal when they fell 3-1 down and required three to progress - they managed it in 25. The miracle of the night was the sight of Jurgen Klopp retaining some equanimity at the end, though he had exhorted the main stand to make noise as the fight wore on.

It took 10 minutes to shatter the illusion that to play Borussia Dortmund was to beat Borussia Dortmund.

No visiting side has scored twice in the opening 10 minutes of a European fixture across the vast history of continental competition in this place.

Read more

Liverpool heroes sure to cherish special Dortmund Europa League win

Reds stun BVB with amazing comeback to reach the Europa League semi-finals 

The extremely uncomfortable contest of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang versus Mamadou Sakho put paid to that.

Like some kind of homing device, Aubameyang dominated the Frenchman as Henrikh Mkhitaryan - the one who got away from Liverpool in 2013 - looked for the vast spaces Alberto Moreno vacated. And Klopp's strategy didn't help. In Germany last week, he bolstered his midfield with a shield of three, though that vanished in the absence of Jordan Henderson.

The theory seemed to be that Liverpool could power their way to the semi-finals, jet-fuelled by the Anfield atmosphere.

Four minutes had passed when Shinji Kagawa drove through and released Gonzalo Castro whose ball over the top brought a sharp save by Simon Mignolet from Aubameyang, only for Mkhitaryan to score on the follow-up.

The second shaded the first for clinical excellent: Marco Reus tearing the midfield apart this time and measuring out the ball behind Sakho which Aubameyang (left) drove into the net.

The positive part of what then unfolded was the attacking excellence which provides promise for life beyond this summer's overhaul for Klopp.

Divock Origi has been the most encouraging part of this tie and his manifestly greater strength caused Dortmund plenty of trouble. His shot was deflected wide after James Milner put him through on 17 minutes. An Origi attempted header was sent wide off his shoulder and a neat interchange between Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho saw the Brazilian dart into a gap, but fire wide of the left post.

Liverpool were not cowed by what had befallen them. It allowed Anfield to dream that another miracle of Olympiakos proportions might belong to them, especially when Emre Can played a through ball to Origi three minutes after the restart which the Belgian poked through Roman Weidenfeller's legs.

When Mats Hummels held back Coutinho as he made to break through - and was booked - it seemed a matter of when an equaliser might come. The errors of those opening minutes paid dear.

The race for parity left more holes at the back. Hummels played Reus inside Nathaniel Clyne to score, with Sakho's drift behind the defensive line playing him onside.

Liverpool struck back again - Coutinho exchanging passes with Milner and crashing in a right foot shot.

And again: a Sakho header from Milner's corner.

The stadium screamed for more of the attacking effervescence and, against all logic, it came. A James Milner cross which Dejan Lovren reached for score.

Gold dust moments from a manager made of the quality.

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Lallana (Allen, 62 mins), Milner, Can (Lucas, 80 mins), Coutinho, Firmino (Sturridge, 62 mins), Origi. Unused subs: Ward, Skrtel, Smith, Ojo.

Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Papastathopoulos, Hummels, Schmelzer, Mkhitaryan, Castro (Gundogan, 82 mins), Weigl, Reus (Ramos, 82 mins), Kagawa (Ginter, 77 mins), Aubameyang. Unused subs: Burki, Bender, Sahin, Pulisic.

Man of the match: Divock Origi

Match rating: 10/10

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph