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Liverpool prayed for Barcelona miracle and Klopp's heroes Origi and Wijnaldum delivered

22:21 BST 07/05/2019
Georginio Wijnaldum Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool Barcelona Champions League
Despite missing stars Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, the Reds stunned Lionel Messi and Co. with a phenomenal four-goal win to triumph 4-3 on aggregate

To quote the great Derek 'Del Boy' Trotter from British comedy classic Only Fools and Horses: “They done it. They only bloody done it!”

They’ve seen some things in this incredible stadium, but nothing quite like this. Only them. Only here.

Liverpool are in the Champions League final. Just let that sink in for a moment.

Jurgen Klopp prayed for a miracle and his players delivered. This was a night to rank alongside any in this club’s remarkable history. The greatest Anfield has ever seen? It must be.

Barcelona, the Barcelona of Lionel Messi and of Luis Suarez, the Liga champions and the team which had broken the Reds’ hearts a week ago, had no answer. 

Their 3-0 first-leg lead would be enough, we were told. There would be no repeat of Barca’s collapse against Roma last season, we thought. The lack of an away goal at Camp Nou had killed Liverpool, who lost Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in the meantime. 

Salah arrived wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Never Give Up’ on its chest. His team-mates, to a man, produced the performance of their lifetime. Criticise this team? You couldn’t even try to. "I will remember it forever," said Klopp. He looked drained in his post-match press conference, and no wonder. How could he be calm on a night like this?

Divock Origi was Liverpool's match-winner, firing into the roof of the Kop End net 11 minutes from time. The Belgian scored twice, sandwiching a brace from Gini Wijnaldum, who emerged from the bench at half-time to score twice in the space of three minutes. A man who spent last season on loan at Wolfsburg fired the Reds to their second Champions League final in a row.

Barcelona had threatened in the first  half, but they were swept under by a wave of emotion which poured down from the stands and engulfed the pitch. This was Anfield at its loudest, its most aggressive, its most inspirational. Even Jose Mourinho, covering the game as a television pundit, was left marvelling. "Anfield," he said, "is one of the places to make the impossible be possible."

At the end, after the final blast of referee Cuneyt Cakir’s whistle, Liverpool’s players and staff lined up on the edge of the six-yard box while the Kop serenaded them. “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” they sang. It was spine-tingling. There were tears among the players, even from the hardened James Milner. Even the Barcelona fans, dumbstruck, found time to applaud. True class from the shell-shocked Catalans. 

This is what Klopp has created. This is what this club have become, a fusion of emotion and passion, quality and cunning. Winners. Heroes. Adored by their supporters, and rightly so. 

They worried they would end this season trophyless, with nothing to show for a phenomenal campaign. Instead, they’re going to Madrid. Tottenham or Ajax await them on June 1. Do you think they'll want to face this team?

All those knocks – Salah’s misfortune, Firmino’s injury, the loss of Andy Robertson here – were taken and brushed off. They rode their luck at times, with Alisson Becker immense in goal, but who could begrudge them this? This is what happens when a very special team believes in itself, and feeds off a very special atmosphere. 

"For me, this club is big heart," said Klopp. "Tonight it was crazy. It was special."

Even Messi, the great Messi, had nothing. He threatened briefly but faded and faded. He left in silence, dumbstruck by what had unfolded. Suarez, taunted by the fans who once adored him, offered nothing but petulance and theatrics. Philippe Coutinho was substituted. He walked away from this team. More fool him.

And so we move on. To Wolves. There’s still a Premier League title on the line, remember. Liverpool could be English champions by 6pm on Sunday.

Whatever happens this weekend, though, it’ll have to be pretty special to top this.

We may never see anything like this again.