Divock Origi was the unlikely hero as Liverpool pulled off the greatest semi-final comeback in Champions League history with a 4-0 second-leg victory to complete a stunning 4-3 aggregate triumph.
The odds were stacked heavily against Liverpool after both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were ruled out with injury following a 3-0 first-leg defeat last week in Spain.
But Origi gave Liverpool hope with a seventh-minute goal at Anfield before Georginio Wijnaldum scored two quick second-half goals to level the tie, setting the stage for the Belgian to strike the decisive goal 11 minutes from time.
“Once again we showed that everything is possible in football,” said Wijnaldum.
“I was really angry at the manager that he put me on the bench but I had to do something to help the team when I came on.
We believe it from the start. People from outside (the club), they thought it was not possible, but we still managed to do this.”
Despite the despondency of losing Salah and Firmino, Jurgen Klopp’s men never lost faith and were accompanied by a typically raucous Anfield atmosphere on a European night.
Origi would almost certainly not have started had Salah and Firmino been fit.
But the Belgian has made a habit of scoring important goals in Liverpool’s challenge for a first Premier League title in 29 years and he had his first ever in the Champions League on seven minutes on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had denied Jordan Henderson’s initial effort.
Liverpool have blown plenty of sides away in early bursts under Klopp, most notably hitting three inside the first half-hour at Anfield against Manchester City in last season’s Champions League quarter-final.
Barca looked rattled as Sergi Roberto’s short backpass nearly played Origi in.
However, the visitors soon started to pose a threat themselves in search of the away goal that would kill the tie.Lionel Messi had seemingly turned the tie in Barcelona’s favour late in the first leg with a brilliant free-kick and his first effort was tipped over by Alisson Becker before the Brazilian denied international teammate Philippe Coutinho.
Another former Liverpool favourite Luis Suarez promised not to celebrate if he scored on his former stomping ground, but there was no love lost for the Uruguayan among the home faithful as he was showered with abuse after trying to buy cheap free-kicks.
Liverpool were seemingly dealt another injury blow as Andy Robertson could not continue after half-time, but he made way for Wijnaldum with James Milner moving to left-back.Liverpool will face Ajax or Tottenham in the final in Madrid on June 1.
OMINI ABIODUN MICHAEL [a.k.a] BANKEY MILL (BM) is a blogger and the CEO of Aschoolz.com. We Share Education School News of Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges for both Nigeria Schools, Ghana Schools and American Etc like JAMB, Waec, Scholarship, Job opportunity, Learning, Story books and Blog etc