Our Liverpool blogger Dave Tindall reflects on Tuesday’s sensational 4-0 win over Barcelona and has a message for Luis Suarez.
You heroes. You absolute ridiculous, magnificent, crazy, ludicrous, heroes.
What on earth happened there?
Let’s get this right then. We’re 3-0 down from the first leg in the Nou Camp and go into the return at Anfield without Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Barca haven’t got any injuries. Instead, they’ve got the greatest player of all-time and a bunch of other world-class talents, including Luis Suarez (more on him later).
One goal from them and we’re dead. And that isn’t ideal as Barcelona always score.
Except we don’t concede. And we score four. And now we’re into our second straight Champions League final after somehow eclipsing all the other magnificent nights and producing the most astonishing turnaround in Anfield’s incredible history.
‘Never Give Up’
Before the match, Salah had turned up wearing a ‘Never Give Up’ t-shirt. Expect those to be flying off the shelves around Liverpool today.
And after it, a genuinely shell-shocked Klopp looking at his watch, saying “it’s ten past ten, most of the children are probably in bed,” and then launching a celebratory ‘F’ bomb live on BT Sport.
“These boys are f***ing mentality giants,” says Klopp to a chuckling Des Kelly.
“Fine me if you want!” he smiles straight afterwards. No way Jurgen, not tonight. And, anyway, it’s after the watershed.
To pull off a comeback like this, an early goal is required (see 2005 Champions League final and Stevie G netting nine minutes into the second half).
It puts the opposition on the back foot straight away and plants a seed in their minds. Their manager has probably spent a chunk of his team-talk warning his side not to concede early. Not to allow an already adrenaline-pumped crowd to go even more berserk.
But it happens. A wave of red swarming all over them. Mane. Henderson. Save. Origi with the rebound. 1-0!
In Istanbul, we famously bagged two more in quick succession but against Barca it’s on an even more precarious tightrope. A goal from them and it’s probably all over. It’s fine to take a stock a little and get through to half-time.
But before then, a delicious piece of karma.
Late in the opening 45, our old friend Suarez goes full villain, planting a sly kick at Andy Robertson and causing our rampaging left back to be taken off injured at the break.
But, guess what, his replacement is Gini Wijnaldum. And, get this, within 11 minutes of his half-time arrival the lovely, smiling Gini Wijnaldum has scored twice to put the tie level at 3-3. Karma’s a bitch, eh Luis?
This is such a wild contrast to the night before.
Just over 24 hours earlier, Manchester City had beaten Leicester with probably the defining moment of an incredible title race.
Vincent Kompany had absolutely no right to smash in a 30-yard screamer but fair play to him. Perhaps it was always going to take something ridiculous to separate us and City and their captain came up with it just 20 minutes from time.
We’d probably thrown our last punch with Origi’s late winner at Newcastle but City took the blow and hit back harder.
And so the diary for a Liverpool fan on Wednesday morning was set to read something like this:
Monday: City won again. Title hopes surely over now. We’re going to get 97 points and finish second. Heartbreaking.
Tuesday: Sigh. Decent 2-1 win on the night but undone by Messi again. No disgrace going out to them but we’re going to end the season empty-handed again. Football is cruel.
What we needed to change the script was our own season-defining moment. A killer goal to complete the most astonishing of comebacks.
And, my god, we found it!
“Genius” said Jurgen of Trent Alexander’s quick-thinking corner which caught Barcelona flat-footed. And wasn’t it just! A goal to go down in LFC folklore.
First, TTA does well to win the corner, then he sells the entire Barca defence a dummy by walking away and, before they can move, he has the technique (the ball just comes off his foot differently to most players) to whip it in low from a standing start.
Part two of one of Anfield’s greatest ever goals isn’t bad either. Origi is better when he acts on instinct and there he is to turn the ball into the net. And there’s something even extra thrilling that, due to the pace on the cross, the ball dissects Ter Stegen and Pique and flings off the inside side of the net and into the back of it before bouncing out into the six-yard box.
It’s like Alexander-Arnold has pulled back the spring and fired a new ball into play. Trent and Divock, the pinball wizards.
That would be Liverpool.
If the Premier League isn’t to be – although I’ll believe anything now so god knows what might happen on Sunday – we’re on our way to a second straight Champions League final.
Why? Because we never, ever give up. We keep pulling off the seemingly impossible.
This Liverpool team is extraordinary. These boys are f***ing mentality giants!