Liverpool were nearly 15 minutes away from returning from the Camp Nou with a result they would have gladly taken back to Anfield for the second-leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.
Unfortunately, Jurgen Klopp’s men were undone by a late bit of Lionel Messi magic with the Argentine wizard turning on the style in front of the Barcelona faithful. Messi’s two late goals have left the Reds with a mountain to climb at Anfield with their prospects of making the final for the second year in a row taking a massive beating.
A 3-goal lead to overturn against a Barcelona side with Messi firing on all cylinders would look like a lost cause but Liverpool have precedent of achieving the improbable in Europe.
Klopp’s men only need to turn back the clock to May 25, 2005 when Steve Gerrard inspired a famous Liverpool comeback against the mighty AC Milan side in the Champions League final held at Istanbul.
Trailing 0-3 at half-time after two goals from Hernan Crespo and one from Paolo Maldini, Liverpool looked down and buried. What followed next was the stuff of fairytales with three goals inside just six minutes or so drawing Liverpool level before they would go on to claim their fifth Champions League title via a penalty shoot-out.
It is that spirit of Istanbul that Liverpool will need to summon at Anfield when Barcelona come calling for the second leg as they look to avoid the ignominy of going trophy-less in a season where they have breached unprecedented heights.
They don’t even need to look as far back as Istanbul with Roma’s dramatic comeback from three goals down at the quarter-final stage against the same opponents last season serving as a motivational tool.
Anfield can turn into a cauldron on famous European nights and there is no doubt that the Kop end will be bouncing throughout the second leg of the semi-final. The Istanbul story is etched permanently in the hearts of all Liverpool fans. Klopp’s men now need to draw inspiration from it and ink their very own fairytale comeback.