Sunday, May 16, 2021

Relive The Champions League Semi-Final Between Liverpool vs Barcelona As It Happened

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As Liverpool are back playing in Europe’s elite competition against Spanish opposition tomorrow, we thought now would be a good time to look back at an all time classic.

With all the odds stacked against them, Liverpool set out to achieve the impossible at Anfield on May 7th in the second leg of their Champions League clash against arguably the greatest team in the world: Barcelona.

Three goals down, without their star strikers Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino, and facing the full force of Lionel Messi, the majority laughed off the concept of the Reds being able to overturn the deficit and emerge as the victors.

But they did exactly that on Tuesday evening, led by the resurgent Divock Origi, leaving fans and players alike in tears, and a manager so overcome with passion that he resorted to utter profanities on live TV, much to the delight of Reds fan.

Now, we don’t know about you, but we wouldn’t want to erase such a historic game between Liverpool vs Barcelona from our minds quickly – quite the opposite in fact.

Our writers have created the perfect timeline for you to go back relive the miraculous moments of the greatest Champions League game to take place on Anfield’s hallowed turf.

So, without further ado…

A Tweet To Forget For The Barca Social Media Team

Monday morning

The Barca contingent was overly confident prior to Tuesday’s clash at Anfield – as any team would be going into the second leg of a Champions League semi-final, 3-0 up.

However, they took to social media to express their lack of concern over Liverpool’s potential charge by tweeting that they would score, despite Liverpool’s best efforts.

This same nonchalance was echoed by fans on social media, completely writing off Liverpool’s chances of scoring four unanswered goals.

Meanwhile, in the Reds camp, Jurgen Klopp and co were quietly hopeful of emerging with a positive result. Regardless of whether or not they trumped their opponents and carried out the impossible, the German kept reiterating his aim of fighting till the very end and doing their very best to keep the travelling side out of the goalscoring action.

Monday afternoon

Despite their confidence and laidback approach to such a heavyweight clash, Ernesto Valverde’s men were in for a treat with Liverpool fans who took it upon themselves to ensure that Barca were rattled.

As the Spanish giants approached Hilton Hotel, the Merseysiders came up with a whole host of interesting tactics to grate on the Catalan’s quartet.

This involved a wild rumour that their team bus had been stolen, with multiple fans confusing police with reports that it had been sighted in Fazakerley.

Despite the fact that the local police were able to eventually disband these rumours, the confusion had its impact.

The Reds fans then built on this momentum on Monday evening by conducting several firework displays outside the hotel, at the very least disturbing the beauty sleep of Lionel Messi and co.

Pre-Match Preparations: Team Talks, Interviews, Anticipation

Tuesday afternoon, 3pm

On the day of the game, tensions were at their highest. Liverpool fans arrived in hoards, amidst a crimson fog of flares and immense noise, greeting their players with the most raucous level of support.

Not shortly after, Barcelona’s team bus arrived at Anfield around 4pm – also subjected to an almighty greeting from the locals. Phillipe Coutinho was the sole man who addressed the fans, while the rest of his players were able to push their way through to the inner sanctum of the ground.

Around 6pm, the media presence were finally able to hear from the two managers, with Klopp doing the first round. The Reds boss mentioning of ‘the impossible task’ that he has delegated to his Salah and Firmino-less team exuded a sense of determination and responsibility to deliver to the fans, one that Valverde failed to discuss.

Yet with two hours left till kick-off, there was nothing else left for either team to do than disappear into the depths of their respective dressing rooms, gather the squad, and voice one final talk of motivation. For Liverpool, players brought up ‘that night’ in Istanbul, while Messi and co reminded themselves of the same lack of discipline that had seen them allow Roma a dramatic comeback in last season’s campaign.

8pm Kick-Off Commences

8:07pm – The Opener

Skip to the Liverpool vs Barcelona kick-off, and with Klopp’s men needing a fast start, none other than Divock Origi rose to the task eight minutes in, capitalising off Jordan Henderson’s burst of speed into the Barca box.

The Liverpool captain was able to slip past Gerard Pique and get a low volley away that keeper Marc Ter Stegen could only parry right into the Belgian’s stride.

Origi finished Henderson’s brilliant run with a calm and collected tap-in. The ice-cold number X celebrated in style while Anfield erupted in a cacophony of jubilation and noise: the first step towards achieving the ‘impossible task’ had been taken.

The home team not only managed to somehow keep out Luis Suarez, Messi and Coutinho for an entire 45 minute but also rattled Barca enough to penetrate their defence on multiple occasions.

The kind of attacking that was so efficient, only fouls could keep them at bay, which is exactly what Suarez did when he illegally tackled Andy Robertson, ruling out of the match. Unluckily for Suarez, the man who came on to take his place – Gini Wijnaldum – would be instrumental in the action that unfolded in the next hour or so.

9:09pm – The Brace

Indeed, the Dutch midfielder struck twice in the 54th and 56th minute to send Liverpool three nil up, silencing the travelling fans.

His first was orchestrated by Trent Alexander-Arnold, who racked up his 12th assist of the season with a low cross into the box that Wijnaldum was able to guide under Ter Stegen’s body. The Reds midfielder happened to be isolated in the centre of the box and was thus able to pass the ball into the net, unmarked.

In comparison, his second goal required more technique and was harder to execute. Once again, an inch-perfect delivery, this time from Xherdan Shaqiri found the Wijnaldum in the box. His leap saw him outjump both Pique and co and his header unable to be kept out of the goal by Barca’s goalie.

9:35pm – The Winner

Yet the real controversy between Liverpool vs Barcelona was to occur in the 78th minute via Klopp’s local lad and left back, Trent Alexander Arnold.

As the 20-year-old approached the corner flag to take the kick, he fooled all 11 of the Barca players by walking back, pretending as if he was going to hand over the duty to the also unaware Xherdan Shaqiri.

Messi and co began to chat between themselves in Liverpool’s box, Trent swept in a scathing low cross and Divock Origi was the first to react, netting his second of the game, and Liverpool’s winner.

The Ball Boy Who Became Liverpool’s Hero

All this would not have been possible were it not for the quick reflex movements of a ball boy that provided Trent with the ball to make his master move.

The ballboy has been identified as 14-year-old Oakley Cannonier, a Liverpool academy prospect at Melwood – Oakley has been described as a mature and compelling young footballer, who often plays with ‘two age groups’ above his natural level.

It was Oakley’s quick-thinking that led to Liverpool’s winning goal, and without his contributions, the outcome of the game might have ended differently.

It is worth mentioning that all the ball boys present were informed by analysts to be quick in delivery because Barca had a proclivity to switch off from corners and throw-ins, but the local lad did well to remember his training and play a pivotal role in the build-up to the winner.

So much so, that he was even called out by Liverpool legend Graeme Souness in the aftermath of the game. Graeme stated that Oakley should receive season tickets or tickets to the Champions League final for his efforts. Whether the club come through with that request is still unknown. But what is clear is that this teenage boy certainly won the tie for the Reds.

Post-Match Reactions: Messi The Lone Man, Liverpool The Kindred Group

Tuesday evening, 10pm

As the final whistle for Liverpool vs Barcelona was blown by Cuneyt Cakir, players fell to the floor, in tears, embracing, in despair and dismay.

Lionel Messi was the lone Barca man left on the field, as his teammates made a hasty exit for the team bus, surrounded by jubilant Liverpool players.

Meanwhile, the Reds joined hands in front of the Kop faithful, accompanying their fans in a hair-raising rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Players across the team were lost for words as to how they had taken apart the best team in the world without some of their most prolific players, and the shock was clearly setting into 20-year-old Trent who was pictured with his head in his hands in the Liverpool dressing room.

dressing room scenes

Messi’s despondency forgotten, social media exploded, with the match trending on all platforms, and high profile names tweeting and posting in congratulation of Liverpool’s miracle job.

From Lebron James to Dirk Kuyt, Luis Garcia and Gary Lineker, past and present stars of the sport all came to the same prognosis: Liverpool had just completed one of the greatest, if not the greatest ever games to ever grace Champions League history.

Tuesday Evening, 11pm

While the Barcelona players had quickly retreated into the team bus, Valverde had the despairing task to address the media hounds in the aftermath of another ruinous collapse.

” We were blown away by the reds”

The Spaniard accepted defeat humbly, concluding that they were simply outplayed in every department by their Merseyside counterparts.

Whether he will keep the job given that Barcelona now have embarrassing back-to-back semi-final defeats to their name is a question he refused to discuss for any given period of time.

What was clear was that Messi and co had been punished for their overconfident, lackadaisical approach to the game – they became the butt of one of the most historic nights to grace the hallowed turf of Anfield.

So there you are – the entire harrowing experience of the events of May 7th between Liverpool vs Barcelona, within one article. Drink it in, soak it up, enjoy the miracles of Anfield, and the impossible task that Klopp and Liverpool not only set out to achieve but did achieve.

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