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Mersey miracle

Klopp admits he can hardly believe his eyes after Pool’s stunning victory over Barca

Decisive blow: Xherdan Shaqiri (far left) and Divock Origi celebrate after the latter’s second and Liverpool’s fourth goal of an extraordinary night
Decisive blow: Xherdan Shaqiri (far left) and Divock Origi celebrate after the latter’s second and Liverpool’s fourth goal of an extraordinary night
All smiles: Showing their delight, from left, are Mo Salah, Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk

By Graham Luney

An emotional Jurgen Klopp said he couldn't believe what he witnessed last night as his Liverpool side produced one of the greatest Champions League fightbacks.

Trailing by three goals to Barcelona from the first leg, the Reds needed a miracle to progress to the Champions League final for a second successive year where they will play either Ajax or Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.

But two goals apiece from Divock Origi and game-changing half-time substitute Georginio Wijnaldum saw them stun Lionel Messi and co.

"The whole performance was too much," said Klopp.

"It was overwhelming. I've watched so many football games but I can't remember many like this.

"Winning is already difficult but winning with a clean sheet, I don't know how the boys did it.

"I saw James Milner crying after the game on the pitch, it means so much to all of us.

"There are more important things in the world but creating this kind of atmosphere is so special."

It was only the fourth time in the competition's history a team was eliminated from a knockout tie having won the first leg by three or more goals - the last occasion being Barcelona against Roma in last season's quarter-final.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde admitted his side had no answer to the Reds' onslaught.

"Things got on top of us after those two quick goals," he said.

"We didn't manage to get on the scoresheet and they rolled us over really. It's a terrible result for our fans and for ourselves."

Klopp also swore during his post-match interview but admitted that he didn’t mind the fact that he might be fined because of it.

He said: “It’s 10 past 10, most of your children are probably in bed. It’s unbelievable.”

The Reds boss felt the performance his players produced defied logic.

“It’s all about the players,” he added. “The mix of potential and unbelievable heart is a mix I’ve never seen before.

“You have to be confident in a game like this. Divock and Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) haven’t played a lot.

“Putting a performance in like that, it was so important. It shows what’s possible in football. It’s so nice. It’s really nice.

“We had to be serious. But we needed to be cheeky as well. It was necessary. Barcelona defend predictable things well. But you need to be unpredictable at moments.

“I saw the ball flying in the goal (for the fourth), I didn’t see the corner. (Liverpool substitute) Ben Woodburn said, ‘What happened?’”

Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson said: “I’ve said so many times this season but what a team. We believe. People wrote us off. But we believed we could do it.

“Alisson has pulled off some unbelievable saves. Fingers crossed. We go to Sunday full of energy. It’s out of our hands but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Especially tonight.”

Valverde admitted it was a painful night for his men.

“It’s very painful for us, especially for our people, it’s the second year they’ve come back like that,” he added. “Goals are always somebody’s fault, some mistake or other. If you stop to look at any goal you’ll see that there’s an error in there.

“They surprised us with the fourth goal — presumably my players weren’t looking. Liverpool were street smart.

“It’s really, really unfortunate, but credit to Liverpool. We tried to sit a little bit deeper, but the tie ended for us with the fourth goal.”

Belfast Telegraph


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