Liverpool answer Klopp’s prayers with miracle comeback against Barcelona

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Liverpool are through to the Champions League final after beating Barcelona 4-0 in the semi-final second leg at Anfield to win 4-3 on aggregate.

Istanbul will always be the benchmark when it comes to Liverpool comebacks in Europe but the dismantling of Barcelona at Anfield will run it close as Jurgen Klopp’s side reached successive Champions League finals.

Trailing by three goals from the first leg no-one gave the Reds much hope but two goals apiece from Divock Origi and game-changing half-time substitute Georginio Wijnaldum saw them progress 4-3 on aggregate.

Liverpool answer Klopp's prayers with miracle comeback against Barcelona

In a truly remarkable – and intense – game not only did Liverpool erase that disadvantage inside 56 minutes, they went on to score a winner and, remarkably, kept Lionel Messi quiet.

For 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 Barca against Roma in last season’s quarter-final.

Origi’s timing in scoring his first Champions League goals was impeccable, as was Wijnaldum’s introduction for injured defender Andy Robertson.

Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri were given the difficult job of replacing Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as Liverpool sought to pull off an even tougher task against Barcelona.

Liverpool answer Klopp's prayers with miracle comeback against Barcelona

The pair were two of four changes made from Saturday’s win at Newcastle, with James Milner and Joel Matip coming in for Wijnaldum and Dejan Lovren with Salah (concussion) and Sturridge the others to miss out.

Teenager Rhian Brewster was named in a matchday squad for only the second time in his Liverpool career as he looked to make his debut, with fellow 19-year-old Ben Woodburn also among the substitutes.

Former Liverpool stars Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho were named in Barcelona’s side.

Liverpool made the perfect start at Anfield and reduced the deficit after just seven minutes.

Liverpool answer Klopp's prayers with miracle comeback against Barcelona

Origi was the man on hand to tap in after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had saved Jordan Henderson’s shot.

Barcelona came the closest to scoring, with Alisson saving from Coutinho and Jordi Alba, but Liverpool held their 1-0 lead on the night at the break.

Andrew Robertson, who picked up an injury in the first half, was replaced at the break by Wijnaldum.

Liverpool answer Klopp's prayers with miracle comeback against Barcelona

That meant a reshuffle for Liverpool, with James Milner moving to left-back and the Dutchman taking his place in midfield.

Liverpool stunned Barcelona with two goals in as many minutes as Wijnaldum struck twice to level the tie on aggregate.

The midfielder’s low shot squirmed under Ter Stegen before he nodded in from eight yards.

Liverpool answer Klopp's prayers with miracle comeback against Barcelona

The pace of the game was taking its toll not only on Barcelona legs but also minds and when Alexander-Arnold spotted Origi unmarked in the six-yard box his quick thinking picked out the Belgium international to sweep home with 11 minutes to go.

Now Liverpool had the upper hand and Klopp immediately replaced the injured Origi with Joe Gomez to try to protect that advantage.

There were a few fraught moments but marshalled by the ultra-cool Virgil Van Dijk they saw off any threat to spark wild scenes at the end with the whole squad and backroom staff celebrating on the pitch in front of the Kop.

A communal singing of club anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone capped the perfect evening as Liverpool now have a chance of redemption in Madrid next month.

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