Liverpool Lays a 4-Spot on a Shocked and Now-Eliminated Barça
The spin on a famous saying these days is that history may not repeat itself, but it has a way of rhyming.
Barcelona's not liking that right now.
The club that holds the record for the greatest comeback in Champions League history just going hoisted on its own petard.
So to speak.
The Blaugrana did worse than fart at Anfield ...
Indeed they did. Liverpool came into this second-leg match of the Champions League semi-finals being 3-0 down.
... and completed their near-impossible mission with 4-0 stunner over the Catalans.
Thus, it's the 'Pool that advances on aggregate, 4-3.
The Reds hit the ignite switch right outta the gate. Their front three were giving Marc-André ter Stegen mega-concerns with their aggressive high-pressing.
It didn't take long for this to produce results, as in the 7th minute. Jordi Alba tried an ill-advised back pass to Clement Lenglet, but it more like Christmas coming early for Sadio Mané. The Senegalese international fed Jordan Henderson, who drove into the box and forced ter Stegen into a spiffy save.
However the rebound fell to Divock Origi, who made no mistake from close-range:
In spite of that, Barça bounced bak, and controlled the game as if the goal was a mere flesh wound.
Clearly, they shoulda consulted the Black Knight right about then.
This change proved to be crucial, as Wijnaldum -- for those not speaking Dutch, the ij half-dipthtong has a long-i sound; thus wye-nal-dum -- made his presence immediately felt in the second half.
In the 54th minute, Trent Alexander-Arnold quickly spied Wijnaldum moving into the box and delivered a well-placed cross that registered:
Now everyone will get his name right.
Dude wasn't done, either.
A mere two minutes later, Xherdan Shaqiri's cross from the right also found Wijnaldum with the same result:
The Reds were well and truly back in the hunt.
At this point, Barcelona needed to respond as quick as possible, as one Catalan goal at Anfield would force the Reds to score five due to the away-goals rule.
Messi had a great opportunity to do it in a free-kick, but he missed it. Liverpool doubled down in their push for a fourth, and it came in an unusual way.
At 79, Alexander-Arnold capitalized on Barça's inexcusable lack of attention on a corner and surprised them with a quick take that made it to an unmarked Origi. Dude smashed it into the back of the net, and delerium reigned in the stands:
That it was.
Full marks to the 'Pool's never-say-die attitude, not to mention their next-man-up philosophy being put into practice.
All four goals scored by the subs. Talk about sports at its best!
Let that be a lesson to us all.
And we even know what petard means, too.