Barcelona Powerless at Anfield

Liverpool did the unthinkable, they managed to not only defeat Barcelona in the 2nd leg of the Champions League. The Reds managed to overcome the 3 goal deficit and got themselves into the finals of UCL for the 2nd year in a row.

 Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates with his team mates wearing a shirt with the words Never Give Up after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield on May 07, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

All eyes were set on Anfield for the 2nd leg of UCL semi-finals, where only a miracle could save the crowd’s favourite Liverpool from certain doom. After a disastrous show in Spain, when Liverpool lost 3:0, the Reds had an incredible, an (almost) impossible task in front of them. They had to defeat Barcelona 3:0 and not concede a single goal. And all that without Firmino and Salah, two of their best players. Their chances were very slim, but that did not stop them from heading into the 2nd leg full of confidence and faith they can do it. To sum up, what went through Liverpool players’ minds, let’s remember the famous words from Milner days before the match.

“If it’s possible anywhere then it is possible at Anfield”

He was right!

Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool since their formation in 1892 saw plenty of incredible matches in its long history, but there are rare matches that can compare to what we have seen on Tuesday.

The drive, confidence, and faith that they can do the unthinkable drove Liverpool players, who stepped on the pitch without two star players. And while losing one, let alone two star players would result in a disastrous performance in most of the other teams, Liverpool did not seem fazed by it. They have proved to the world, they are not dependant on one or two players, but that they are a team that competes as a solid unit. If one player is incapable of playing, they got another one to fill the gap and continue performing on the highest level, which is exactly what they did. Incredible does not begin to describe what we saw on Tuesday when Liverpool went against all the odds and won. But how did they do it?

Divock Origi of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Divock Origi of Liverpool scores his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield on May 07, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

It took them only 7 minutes to find a hole in Barcelona defence and score a goal. With one goal lead, they still had a long road ahead to catch up top Barcelona, who were still 2 goals ahead on aggregate score. Liverpool continued pushing for the goal but failed to score one in the first half. The second half, however, was the one to remember.

Only 9 minutes into the 2nd half, Georginio Wijnaldum scored a spectacular goal after receiving an extremely accurate pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold. The second goal was the goal that started a domino effect, or should we say an avalanche which buried Barcelona and their dreams. Since conceding the 2nd goal, Barcelona players seemed lost, confused and disorganized. Despite boasting highly experienced players, players that competed on the highest level for years, players that won the World Cup, some more than once, they failed to perform up to par. Barcelona defence started making mistakes we never could imagine to see from them. Their midfield was pushed back to help the defence, and the potent attack of Messi and Suarez was nowhere to be found. Liverpool made Barcelona play their own game, they made the Catalans play a style of football they are not used to. Barcelona was not in possession of the ball, they were not the one attacking. On Tuesday night, Barcelona was the underdog, who had to defend themselves for their lives.

Only 2 minutes after scoring the 2nd goal, Wijnaldum used the momentum and scored again, which tied the aggregate score and lifted the Anfield and the world on their feet. Wijnaldum, the 28-year old midfielder, who scored 3 goals for Liverpool this season was the club’s hero who got his club on level playing field in only 2 minutes. With aggregate score showing 3:3, and the 90th minute slowly approaching, Liverpool decided they will finish it here and there. In 79th minute Liverpool scored once more, this time from a corner kick, which surprised Barcelona defence. Trent Alexander-Arnold spotted Divock Origi and quickly passes him the ball. Origi found himself alone in front of the goalkeeper, he used his chance and got his team a lead and ultimately a ticket to Madrid.

Liverpool came into the match without 2 key players and 3 goals deficit, however they had the support, the motivation, faith and most importantly Wijnaldum, Origi and Alexander-Arnold, on their side. May 7th, 2019 will go down in history as the day Liverpool showed to the world everything is possible, and will now get a shot at the title for the 2nd year in a row.

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