Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Jurgen Klopp hails ‘special night’ as Liverpool comeback stuns Barcelona

Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice to send the Reds into the Champions League final.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the final whistle (Peter Byrne/PA)
Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the final whistle (Peter Byrne/PA)

Jurgen Klopp lauded his “unbelievable” players for a special victory against Barcelona that propelled this group into the Champions League final and Liverpool folklore.

Few expected to see the Reds make it to next month’s Madrid finale after a 3-0 first-leg defeat at the Nou Camp, but the five-time European champions will face Ajax or Tottenham after digging deep in stunning fashion.

Liverpool went ahead after just seven minutes through Divock Origi and kicked on in the second half, when substitute Georginio Wijnaldum’s quickfire brace was followed by Origi notching from a quick corner to seal a 4-0 win and progress 4-3 on aggregate.

Asked where this victory ranks, manager Klopp said with a smile: “Top three.

“It’s a special night, very special. Winning against Barcelona is obviously one of the most difficult things in the world of football.

“Winning against Barcelona when you’re 3-0 down, makes it not easier.

I am really proud to be manager of this team. It's unbelievable what they did tonight. it's so special Jurgen Klopp

“We had to score four goals and was not allowed to concede pretty much.

“We made it more difficult, so we didn’t really think about it to be 100 per cent honest.

“We tried to build on the performance in Barcelona and all the good things we did there and try to win the game step by step.

“We attacked with whatever we have and can throw on the pitch.

“That made it a really special game, it made us really difficult to play against tonight.

“What the boys did and that was this mix of again a big heart and football skills. It’s unbelievable.

“But then we know, and we didn’t learn in the first game and we knew it before already, if you have chances, you have to score because otherwise you get punished.

“Tonight we scored, in different ways.

“I said it so often now but the thing that made it really possible – and I said to the boys before ‘I don’t think it’s possible but because it’s you I think we have a chance’ – they are really mentality giants. It’s unbelievable.

“After the season we played, the games we had, the injuries we had now in this moment, if you go out there and ask who bet a penny on us, I don’t think you find a lot of people.

“So, and then going out there and putting a performance like this on the pitch is unbelievable.

“I am really proud to be manager of this team. It’s unbelievable what they did tonight. it’s so special.

“I will remember it forever 100 per cent because I don’t know if it happened before or it can happen again. I really don’t know. The boys did it, so it was brilliant.”

Klopp hailed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s speed of thought after putting in the corner for the a goal that keeps Liverpool dreaming of two trophies.

While Manchester City are in the driving seat for the Premier League title heading into Sunday’s finale, the Reds will look to capitalise on any slip up by beating Wolves at Anfield.

Klopp said his players did not want to talk about City’s win against Leicester ahead of Tuesday’s match at Anfield, where they sealed the chance to make amends for last season’s Champions League final loss to Real Madrid.

bpanews_2915a331-97a5-4ca8-978b-0f0e3e08671b_embedded242732858
Mo Salah (left), Jurgen Klopp (centre) and Virgil Van Dijk celebrate after the final whistle (Peter Byrne/PA)

“The plan was to go to Madrid and get it in there finally,” Klopp said.

“That was the plan actually and now we go there in three weeks’ time. I am really looking forward to that.

“With the Premier League, nothing changed really. We knew we have to win the game against Wolves and then we will see what happens around.

“Obviously tonight was really intense and we started without Bobby (Roberto Firmino), Mo (Salah) and Naby (Keita).

“Ox (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain), not available but only we rested him and hopefully he can be an option for the weekend.

“And Hendo (Jordan Henderson) got an unbelievable kick against his knee. He didn’t feel his patella – that doesn’t help obliviously in football, in life.

“And Robbo (Andrew Robertson) got the heel I think of (Luis) Suarez against his calf, so you saw both limping.

“Then Virg (Virgil Van Dijk) goes down, then Sadio (Mane) goes down and you just think ‘OK, it would help if we could finish the game with 11’.

“We will see. We will again try to collect the bones and again go again against Wolves.”

Robertson confirmed he will undergo a scan on Wednesday to determine the extent of his injury.

He told the club’s official website: “It doesn’t feel the best at the minute but I’ll get a scan tomorrow.

“They’re confident that it’s just a nerve or whatever and it can be maybe a couple of days, but we’ll wait and see. We can’t really comment.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph