Barcelona’s lead gave Liverpool little chance, but Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum had other ideas as the Reds reached the final.
Doubles from Divock Origi and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum fired Liverpool into their second consecutive Champions League final as Barcelona collapsed to an improbable 4-0 humiliation at Anfield.
Facing a daunting 3-0 deficit after last week’s first leg, Origi made light of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino’s absence from the Liverpool forward line by poaching a seventh-minute opener on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side kept the contest at a pace frenetic enough that Barcelona were rarely allowed to settle and Wijnaldum’s quickfire brace before the hour had the locals in raptures.
It was a night for
unlikely heroes and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quickly taken corner allowed Origi
to smash high into the net 11 minutes from time – inflicting a humbling upon
LaLiga champions Barca and the great Lionel Messi even more punishing than
their surrender at Roma in last season’s quarter-final.
Liverpool’s remarkable 4-3 aggregate triumph means a June 1 final against Ajax or Tottenham – and the chance to right the wrongs of last season’s fall to Real Madrid at the last hurdle – awaits.
Shortly after Clement Lenglet’s timely touch prevented Jordan Henderson from turning in Xherdan Shaqiri’s low cross, the Reds captain drove into the Barcelona box and Marc-Andre ter Stegen could only push a tame shot to the feet of the waiting Origi.
Alisson saved sharply from Messi and Philippe Coutinho as Barca began to click into gear, with Ter Stegen’s 24th-minute stop from Andy Robertson of a more unorthodox variety.
Liverpool’s goalkeeper intervened crucially in first-half stoppage time to deny Jordi Alba after Messi sliced the hosts open on the break.
Unlikely hero Wijnaldum entered the fray in place of the injured Robertson at half-time and Liverpool resumed on the front foot, Ter Stegen repelling Virgil van Dijk’s instinctive backheel volley from Alexander-Arnold’s cross.
Liverpool: Alisson (9), Alexander-Arnold (10), Matip (9),
Van Dijk (8), Robertson (7), Fabinho (8), Milner (7), Henderson (8), Mane (8),
Shaqiri (6), Origi (9)
Subs: Wijnaldum (9), Gomez (NA), Sturridge (NA)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (4), Roberto (3), Pique (3), Lenglet (3), Alba (4), Rakitic (4), Busquets (4), Vidal (3), Coutinho (5), Messi (5), Suarez (5).
Subs: Semedo (4), Arthur (3), Malcom (NA)
Man of the match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Alisson was also back into his work as Suarez sprung the Reds’ offside trap – a stop that looked even more vital when Wijnaldum drove Alexander-Arnold’s next delivery from open play through Ter Stegen’s grasp.
Barcelona were rocking, with memories of Rome – where they crashed out after holding a 4-1 first-leg lead – flooding back as Wijnaldum rose highest to emphatically convert Shaqiri’s 56th-minute centre.
Where Barca minds were muddled, Alexander-Arnold’s was razor sharp and Origi pounced to leave Messi and his team-mates battered, bruised and beaten.