By 90Min
May 09, 2019

You would be hard pressed to find a better set of Champions League semi final matches than the ones we have just witnessed.

As if the quarter final clashes weren't incredible enough, we were blessed with four monumental games, two in particular, that will be ingrained into footballing folklore for years to come.

Roaring comebacks, last-minute drama and footballing masterclasses saw Liverpool overcome Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate and Tottenham saw off a spirited Ajax side on away goals.

Some players in particular stood out for their respective clubs so here's a starting XI of the best performing players from the Champions League semi final stage.


Alisson - Liverpool

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It may be bizarre choosing Jurgen Klopp's Brazilian stopper as the best goalkeeper of the round, considering he conceded three goals across his side's two ties. But then again, all four stoppers did.

Alisson had to be alert to make five saves at Anfield as Liverpool overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit to seal a second successive Champions League final. While all the headlines will naturally go Divock Origi's and Georginio Wijnaldum's way for their respective braces, the 26-year-old made crucial saves at key times to deny Lionel Messi and Barcelona an elusive away goal.


Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool

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His instinctive, quickly-taken corner set up Origi for the Reds' fourth and final goal on Tuesday, showcasing pure genius for someone just 20 years old.

Having been dropped for the first leg in favour of the more defensively minded Joe Gomez, Alexander-Arnold turned on the style at Anfield and put a real shift both defensively and offensively to secure an unimaginable win. 

The full-back's two assists on the night meant he has provided 14 in all competitions this season, more than any other Liverpool player.


Matthijs de Ligt - Ajax

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Again, it seems strange to include a player who was at the heart of a defence that conceded three second half goals to eliminate his side. However, De Ligt continues to show the world his quality.

He put in a commanding performance as Ajax left north London with a clean sheet, and notched the first goal on Wednesday night. At 19 years old, the Dutchman will continue to grow and evolve as a player, which is hard to believe considering how good he is now.


Joël Matip - Liverpool

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What, no Virgil van Dijk? Yes, that's right.

Van Dijk was immense on Tuesday night, but Matip was weirdly even better. The Cameroonian was less at fault for Barcelona's goals in the first leg and matched if not bettered his Dutch partner's performance in the second leg. His teammate rightfully deserves plaudits for his incredible campaign, but Matip has flown under the radar for similarly impressive displays.


Andrew Robertson - Liverpool

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Andrew Robertson gets the nod despite leaving the field injured at half time during Liverpool's storming second half showing on Tuesday.

The Scottish full back was his club's best player in the first leg, despite losing 3-0, and relished the occasion in both games. He riled Messi and continued to threaten even after suffering the injury that forced his half-time substitution in the first leg. Europe's best left back at the moment.


Georginio Wijnaldum - Liverpool

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His role during the first leg was a peculiar one, playing almost as a centre forward tasked with leading the high press on Barcelona’s defenders in a surprise move that didn't pay off.


Subsequently dropped for the second leg, he heeded his manager's call when brought on at half time and turned the game on its head. Two goals and an all-round magnificent performance in which he harried Ernesto Valverde's side earns him a place in the best XI alone.


On the day, Wijnaldum proved to be the difference.


Frenkie de Jong - Ajax

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Was one of the star performers in Ajax's solid first leg win, totally commanding of the space around him, almost never losing possession and with the vision and awareness to always make the right choice.


The trend was continued into the second leg where he ran the show in the first half. His influence faded in the second half as the home side opted for a more reserved and defensive approach - but nonetheless, he performed admirably across the two legs.


Donny van de Beek - Ajax

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At just 22 years old, Van de Beek has showed once more why the famed Ajax academy is so highly revered in the world of football, producing talent after talent, year in year out.


Unplayable in the first leg against Spurs, particularly the first 30 minutes, he put in a complete performance on the night and similarly to De Jong, carried that into the first half of the second leg on Wednesday.


Divock Origi - Liverpool

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Cometh the hour, cometh the man.


Origi came on in the first leg with just five minutes remaining and was unable to make any real impact on proceedings at the Camp Nou. With Mohamed Salah injured for the return leg, the weight of Merseyside was place on the Belgian's shoulders as he started at Anfield.

He most certainly didn't disappoint, giving Liverpool hope with his early goal before shattering Barcelona with his late second. 


Hakim Ziyech - Ajax

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Scored his fifth Champions League goal on Wednesday night with a sumptuous effort that sailed beyond Hugo Lloris. Oozed class in the first leg to, where he set up the goal and demonstrated excellent ability on the ball. 

Came agonisingly close to sealing the deal in the second leg, striking the post and coming within inches on another occasion.


Lucas Moura - Tottenham

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The heroics of the entire team will live long in the memory, however, scoring three times in a Champions League semi final will etch Moura into Spurs' folklore forever.

Moura stretched the back four with his pace, looking a bigger threat when moved to right wing, and showed predatory brilliance for all three of his goals. He was truly magnificent in the second half.


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