Liverpool make the impossible possible; Gordon D’Arcy on Leinster and Seán O’Brien
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Liverpool players celebrate in front of the Kop after beating Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League semi-final. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
So, that did happen. Liverpool did overcome a 3-0 first leg loss to beat Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield and book their place in the Champions League final for the second year in a row. After the Lionel Messi masterclass at the Camp Nou a week ago, the Argentine barely featured on yet another bonkers Champions League night. From Ajax at the Bernabéu to Ajax in Turin, Manchester United in Paris and the Manchester City and Spurs VAR controversy, this year’s instalment of one of sport’s greatest tournaments has had it all. Few gave Liverpool any hope last night but an early Divock Origi goal set them on their way. Georginio Wijnaldum’s quick brace at the start of the second half set the tie level and from there it was only going to go one way as the slick passing play of Barcelona quickly became a distant memory and, when Origi bagged the fourth thanks to some quick thinking from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jürgen Klopp’s men were on their way to Madrid. It’s the greatest comeback of Liverpool’s fabled European history and, as Mary Hannigan writes, one that was completed in the most beautiful way. Afterwards Klopp said he wasn’t sure if he would see anything like it again but that he knew his players had a chance if they adopted the “mentality of giants”. That they certainly did do.
Tonight we will find out who their opponents in the final will be with Spurs also looking to mount a comeback, albeit not to the scale of Liverpool’s. Mauricio Pochettino’s side go to Amsterdam after a 1-0 loss to Ajax in the first leg and the Argentine manager last night dropped the bombshell that he may well quit the club if they win the Champions League. “To win the Champions League in this circumstance, in this season – maybe I need to think a little bit to do something different in the future,” he said.