Liverpool Overcome 3-0 Deficit to Book a Ticket to the 2018-19 Champions League Final

Elijah Weston-Capulong, Sports Editor

On a clear Tuesday Night, Divock Origi scores for Liverpool to make the score 4-0 to the Reds, eventually the goal which sealed them a place in the Champions League Final, marking one of the most amazing comebacks in Champions League History.


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The Telegraph (UK)

A Champions League a comeback for the ages as Liverpool overcome a 3-0 deficit to beat FC Barcelona and book their place in the Champions League final this June. Missing what Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool manager) describes as “… two of the best strikers in the world” (“Mo” Salah and Roberto Firmino), most soccer fans thought it impossible for Liverpool to make a comeback. In fact, FiveThirtyEight gave Liverpool a mere seven percent chance to go through to the final. But, at Anfield, anything is possible.


Liverpool was on the front foot right from the beginning, as Divock Origi scored the first of his two off of a brilliant header in the seventh minute. But, after a convincing performance later in the first half from the Catalan giants, a comeback from Van Dijk and Liverpool still seemed extremely unlikely. This was, until the 54th minute, when Wijnaldum scored twice in two minutes, to even the tie on aggregate. From there, it was all Liverpool, who looked as if they could beat anybody. Finally, Trent Alexander-Arnold brilliantly took advantage of a Lazy Barcelona defense, and played a quick corner to a wide open Origi, catching Barcelona by surprise. And, as Barcelona’s lackluster attack failed to produce an adequate response, Liverpool completed one of the biggest comebacks in Champions League history.


Liverpool will play Tottenham Hotspur for Champions League title on the first of June. Tottenham qualified after an extremely dramatic second leg game in Amsterdam, in which Ajax, like Barcelona, gave up a 3-0 lead. Lucas Moura had a hattrick, including a 90 +7 winner, which ties the record for latest game-winner in the Champions League. This marks the end of a historic season for the young Dutch side, who have reinstated Ajax as one of the biggest clubs in Europe. 


So, what happened to Barcelona?


To put it simply, the Catalans’ problem was their over-reliance on Lionel Messi. Yes, he is arguably the best player to ever play the game. Yes, he could have perhaps done more to help his team at Anfield. But, as ESPN analyzer Steve Nicol puts it “(Lionel Messi) did it in the first leg… There comes a time when the other 10 have to chip in.” This has been the story for the better part of the season, given that, when Valverde hasn’t started Messi, losses and draws to teams one would think Barcelona would beat, have been a lot more common. For example a 4-4 draw with Villarreal (Messi goal to bring Barca back into the game). Another HUGE problem for Barcelona this season has been their sub-par defending. Although they won La Liga, they are allowing almost a goal per game (34 goals allowed in 36 games). Even in the tie against Liverpool, a shutout and a three-goal win covered up a shaky defensive performance in the first leg. The second leg speaks for itself.


As Messi passes his prime, the 2019-20 season for Barcelona will certainly be one of the last of their “Golden Era.” Furthermore, the Catalan Giants will look to offload players such as Philippe Coutinho, who hasn’t impressed during his first full season at the club. Matthijs De Ligt is also a major transfer target for a defensively lacking Barcelona squad. The future of Ernesto Valverde is still uncertain.