Liverpool completed a miracle vs. Barcelona, joining the list of greatest comebacks in UEFA Champions League history.
On Tuesday night under the Anfield lights, fueled by memories of Istanbul 2005, Liverpool pulled off one of the most stunning turnarounds in Champions League history against Barcelona.
The Catalans took a 3-0 lead to Merseyside for the second leg of their semifinal tie after Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sunk Jurgen Klopp's sparkling Reds side at Camp Nou last week. Suarez broke the deadlock with a sliding flicked finish midway through the first half, though his team soon found itself struggling to cope with an onslaught from the visitors.
Luckily for coach Ernesto Valverde, he had one of the finest players to ever lace up a pair of boots at his disposable. Messi's first was opportunistic, with the 31-year-old walking the ball unopposed into a gaping net after a Suarez effort rebounded off the crossbar.
If that was fluky, the Argentine's next score was flawless. With one majestic shot, he sent an unstoppable, elegant free kick into Alisson's goal from 25 yards out to hand Barcelona an enormous advantage heading to Anfield. Making matters even more difficult for Liverpool was that Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both missed the second leg with injuries, with two-thirds of the club's dynamic trident unavailable for selection.
That wound up mattering little. Two goals apiece from the unlikeliest duo of heroes–Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum–sent Liverpool to the Champions League final again, with the Reds overturning the first leg with a 4-0 win on one of the most magical Champions League nights ever.
Here are the performances Liverpool has joined–and perhaps topped:
Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid (2004)
Real Madrid was a comfortable 4-2 winner in the first leg with Monaco in Spain but fell to a Ludovic Giuly masterclass at the Stade Louis II.
Real extended its advantage in the opening period, with the legendary Raul slotting in from a Ronaldo pullback to seemingly book a semifinal date vs. Chelsea. How simple it must have seemed.
Giuly volleyed home moments before the break, with on-loan Madrid striker Fernando Morientes nodding in another after the restart. The Frenchman then struck the decisive blow, inventively backheeling the ball beyond Iker Casillas as dreams of La Decima turned to dust. Monaco went through on away goals after a 5-5 aggregate draw.
Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich (1999)
He may not be having the best of times at Old Trafford right now, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's name is already written into Manchester United folklore.
Mario Basler's low, unerring blast had given Bayern a sixth-minute lead in the Champions League final and it appeared to be the winner as the clock ticked into the red. If only they'd practiced defending corners.
Substitutes Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham turned the game on its head in two stoppage-time minutes, with the latter swiping the ball past Oliver Kahn to level matters following the Bavarians' failure to clear the danger. Then came Ole's golden moment, with the baby-faced assassin instinctively redirecting a cross into the roof of the net to guarantee an outstanding and unforgettable treble.
Deportivo 4-0 Milan (2004)
Andrea Pirlo, Cafu, Paolo Maldini, Kaka... the list goes on. This was an iconic Milan lineup, featuring some of the greatest players to ever grace a football pitch, yet Deportivo showed the world that they were mere mortals, after all.
A 4-1 advantage evaporated inside 43 minutes as Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque left the Rossoneri reeling. The contest was killed off when Gonzalez Fran came off the bench to punish Gennaro Gattuso's mistake as the encounter came to a close, with a semifinal vs. Porto serving as fitting reward for Deportivo's sublime turnaround.
Roma 3-0 Barcelona (2018)
A routine 4-1 victory in Catalonia looked to have set La Blaugrana on their way to yet another European semifinal, but Valverde witnessed his cohort crash and burn in Rome when the hosts launched one of the most outrageous comebacks in the tournament's history.
Edin Dzeko nudged a long ball past the onrushing Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and club stalwart Daniele de Rossi leathered a penalty in to increase the pressure as Barça began to crumble. On their knees and scrapping for the win, Messi and his teammates were undone by Kostas Manolas' late glancing header, the center back immortalizing himself in Giallorossi history. Roma went through on away goals, with Dzeko's late strike in the opening leg serving as the tiebreaker.
Barcelona 6-1 PSG (2017)
In terms of deficit overturned, this is the greatest Champions League comeback of all time. Trailing 4-0 following a merciless Paris Saint-Germain performance at the Parc des Princes, Barcelona decimated their speechless opponents in the return fixture.
A combination of Suarez's inventive header and an own-goal from Layvin Kurzawa breathed life back into the tie, a Messi penalty soon after the break leaving his side a single goal from parity.
Edinson Cavani thumped home what should have been a terminal score for the La Liga giants on the hour mark, but a blitz in the dying embers of the match saw the Catalans emerge victorious. A Neymar brace - one from the spot and one from a free-kick - left PSG on the brink of a degrading exit, which was confirmed by Sergi Roberto's stretching dink in the 95th minute.
Liverpool 3-3 Milan (2005)
This was a ridiculous, emotionally-exhausting final in Istanbul. This was the comeback.
Maldini directed a skimming cross into the net with less than 60 seconds played before a quick-fire Hernan Crespo double left Liverpool hearts shattered. Then it happened; first a Steven Gerrard header, then a Vladimir Smicer rifle and finally Xabi Alonso bundling the ball in after Dida had parried his penalty.
It was as though the Reds were destined to lift the trophy that night. The usually-clinical Andriy Shevchenko was denied from point-blank range in extra time, with the Ukrainian's miss in the shootout confirming a dazzling fifth European title for the Reds. It took another comeback of similar proportions to guarantee a chance at a sixth.