By 90Min
May 30, 2019

For the second year running, Liverpool will contest the Champions League final, and it hasn't happened by accident. 

Along the way, the Reds have had to call upon everything available to them in order to make it all the way to Madrid. Clinical finishing, world class goalkeeping, iron-forged determination, good fortune and, of course, VAR have all played their part in booking their passage to Madrid, and they will likely need to lean into all of those factors yet again to emerge victorious on Saturday. 

Here is a look at six moments which have so far defined another memorable European campaign.

Liverpool 3-2 PSG - Roberto Firmino's Dramatic Winner 

Cast your mind back to mid-September, when Liverpool's mightily impressive season was just beginning to take shape. Five straight wins to kick off the Premier League season, with the most recent coming against Tottenham (omen? Probably not), had signified that the Reds were not to be taken lightly. and we were waiting with bated breath to see how that would translate onto the big stage, with the Champions League opener with PSG looming.

The verdict, prior to stoppage time, was a mixed one. First half goals from Daniel Sturridge and James Milner, the latter from the penalty spot, had given Jurgen Klopp's side a controlling advantage, but the Ligue 1 champions got back on level terms through Thomas Meunier and Kylian Mbappe. At 2-2, the stage was set for someone to be the hero as the game reached its dying embers, and Roberto Firmino stepped up. 

The Brazilian fired in the winner in the 93rd minute, returning a nervous Anfield atmosphere to its usual explosive glory. Given what transpired in the later group games, it's likely Liverpool wouldn't even have qualified from the group stages had they not claimed the three points here.

 Liverpool 1-0 Napoli - Alisson's Wonder-Save 

Fast forward from the beginning of the group stages to the very, very end. Having taken just six points from the first five games, Liverpool found themselves needing a win by either 1-0 or two clear goals (don't ask me to explain) against Napoli at Anfield to advance in the competition.

They were on course for it, leading through Mohamed Salah's first half strike, but hearts jumped into mouths all over Liverpool when the ball broke for Arkadiusz Milik six yards from goal, looking certain to stick it into the back of the net and send Liverpool packing.

Step forward Alisson Becker, who was on top of him like a flash, forcing the striker to panic and take a shot early, which the Brazilian blocked with his thigh and kept his side's chances alive. 

Bayern Munich 1-3 Liverpool - Sadio Mane's Ridiculous Opener  

After just about advancing from the group stages, the Reds were rewarded with two legs against Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, and after failing to win the first leg - drawing 0-0 at Anfield - grabbing an away goal in Munich would be crucial to settle the nerves and ask the question of the Bavarian giants.

The first came shortly before the half hour mark, when Sadio Mane got on the end of a long ball forward from Virgil van Dijk, before showcasing his exquisite close control to twist and turn his way past the on-rushing Manuel Neuer, and calmly lobbing the ball into the empty net.

Bayern Munich 1-3 Liverpool - Virgil van Dijk Heads in the Second

Things didn't quite all go to plan from there, however. A Joel Matip own goal put Bayern on level terms, and the tie was finely poised; another Bayern goal would give the hosts the advantage, while another Liverpool goal would surely put it to bed. 

When the ball came in from a James Milner corner, then, and Virgil van Dijk rose higher than everyone else in the stadium to power in another away goal, the pressure was largely off, and Liverpool were given the platform to go on and add some gloss to the scoreline. 

Porto 1-4 Liverpool - VAR Rules Mane Onside

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Liverpool travelled to Portugal having won 2-0 at Anfield in the first leg, and weren't expected to face too many problems on the way to the semi finals. Porto, however, had other ideas, and spent the first 25 minutes of the match on the front foot, desperately chasing the goal that would make Liverpool sweat. 

It was a welcome relief, then, when Sadio Mane swept in Mohamed Salah's cross to give the Reds an extra cushion, and effectively kill off Porto's dreams of a comeback.

Originally, however, it didn't actually stand, requiring VAR consultation before the goal was given. Had it been ruled out, and given Porto an extra spring to their step, the game could have continued in the same vein it had to that point, and swung away from the eventual finalists. 

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona - Divock Origi's Makeshift Winner

No prizes for guessing the final inclusion here. Liverpool, having lost 3-0 in Barcelona, were basically down and out in the semi-finals. Until Anfield happened.

Divock Origi opened the scoring after seven minutes, and after Barca had weathered a storm of relentless pressing and harrying, roared on by a baying home crowd under the glittering floodlights, a second half double from substitute Gini Wijnaldum levelled things up, and caused a magnitude 5 earthquake around Merseyside. 

Liverpool had outsmarted Barcelona at every turn, but the most notable moment of genius was yet to come. Trent Alexander-Arnold feigned to leave a corner for Xherdan Shaqiri to swing in, before quickly picking out Divock Origi in the area, and sent his side to Madrid. Barcelona probably still don't know what hit them.

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