What 13 pundits & journalists have said about Liverpool’s incredible comeback
Liverpool completed a comeback that was remarkable even by their standards in their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona – and nobody can quite believe it.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg at the Nou Camp, Liverpool scored four unanswered goals back at Anfield to become the first team since the competition was rebranded to overturn such a deficit at this stage of the competition.
Jurgen Klopp couldn’t help but swear when asked for his reaction on live TV after the game, and though “f*cking unbelievable” sum it up nicely, here’s what others have been saying…
Alan Shearer, BBC Radio 5 Live
“For me to be here and to sample the atmosphere, I don’t think I’ll see or hear an atmosphere like this again. The atmosphere was just something that took my breath away.
“What happened on Monday [Manchester City beating Leicester] would’ve been a kick in the teeth for Liverpool, but to put that behind them like this was incredible.
“I have never seen anything like this before. I’ve played at Anfield when there is a superb atmosphere but this is something else, something special.
I’ve never seen Anfield like this and the fans were driving their players forward from start to finish. It’s just been relentless. It was incredible from all the players. Wow.”
Fury on front pages in Spain. The Catalan Sport says it’s the biggest ridicule in history. ‘Sonrojo’ means blush. Marca says ‘historic failure’. Still, three kindly Catalan parents at kids’ school were gracious enough to congratulate me on Liverpool’s success. Cheers for that. pic.twitter.com/mPLOhCC9rR
— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) May 8, 2019
Arsene Wenger, beIN Sport
“In Europe they do well. Why? Anfield.
“[For a] home game, this is the most hated stadium in Europe in a return game. It is the only place you don’t want to go.
“The atmosphere – everything – is special there.”
Jose Mourinho, beIN Sport
“I didn’t expect this. I did say impossible is nothing. If it is possible, Anfield is one of the places to make the impossible possible. But I have to say, this remontada [comeback] has one name – Jurgen.
“I think this is not about tactics or philosophy but heart and soul and fantastic empathy that he created with this group of players.
“They had the risk of finishing a fantastic season with nothing to celebrate and now they are one step from being European champions.
“I think Jurgen deserves this because the work they are doing in Liverpool is fantastic but I think this is about him, a reflection of his personality to not give up, his fighting spirit, every player giving everything.”
"This is about him. This is a reflection of his personality, don't give up, his fighting spirit."
"Everything i think today is about Jurgen's mentality."
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) May 7, 2019
Robbie Fowler, BT Sport
“When you talk about the great nights, this is the best ever. It’s absolutely incredible.
“Before the game, we were talking about all the superlatives we have for Messi. We can run out of superlatives for Liverpool. It was deserved as well and that’s the best thing about it.
“I’m so proud and so delighted to be part of Liverpool. Everything about Liverpool was brilliant.”
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) May 7, 2019
Instructions attached 👋 pic.twitter.com/8BD6gYeVzD
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) May 8, 2019
Guillem Balague, BBC Radio 5 Live
“For three-quarters of the tie, Barcelona were inferior, scared and unable to find answers. For me, Messi was saying, ‘How do I influence the game?’ For the last hour, where was he? Not many teams have ever done that to him.
“After the first leg, Messi warned the Barcelona players that that game was played at the pace Liverpool wanted, and he said they [Barcelona] were all exhausted and couldn’t play at that pace again, but that’s what has happened again.
“They fell for a trap. In the wide areas, two or three Liverpool players were always around them. Barcelona tried to look for that extra pass but couldn’t find it and lost possession. Barcelona have not played a team like this in a long, long time.”
Rio Ferdinand, BT Sport
“I played for a rival, but you cannot fail to have respect for this club and these fans on nights like this. We came here looking at Messi in the final.
“Liverpool took it out of their hands – their spirit, their fight. What Liverpool produced here is breathtaking. It’s fantastic and the scenes in the stadium – the tears, the emotion – it’s amazing. It’s only really football that does this to you.
“This is Liverpool’s gift: to rip up what you thought you knew about football and footballers, to take you – mentally and physically – to a place you don’t know and never wanted to go. To make your eardrums ring and your sinuses twang and your heart thump to the point where it’s all you can think about. To the point where you start to question yourself. To the point where you don’t realise you’ve left a massive gap in your left channel until it’s just a fraction of a second too late.
“Luis Suarez is staring into space. To describe it as a thousand-yard stare would be to undersell it by an order of magnitude. Such is the sunkenness of his eyes, the emptiness of his glare, the blankness of his features, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he could see straight into his front room in Uruguay.
“From his expression alone, you wouldn’t know if he were watching a nuclear mushroom cloud, Chamberlain’s declaration of war on Germany or a video on dental etiquette.”
— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) May 8, 2019
“With two unsung infantrymen, Divock Origi and Georgi Wijnaldum, to the fore, Liverpool evoked the great Istanbul comeback of 2005 against the Barcelona of Lionel Messi, who were negligent, paralysed and ultimately punished by a side who, deep down, must have feared their season was over.
“If this is what despair can do for you, let’s all have a pint of it. People wept. People whooped like cowboys. And the team and the coaching staff linked up in front of the Kop to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’”
“[Suarez] had earlier fallen easily and having demanded further reprimand for Virgil van Dijk, the Kop launched into him, seeing a cheat. Half an hour later, Liverpool were three-nil up.
“It would become four: the total Barcelona did not reach because of Dembele, who had since injured himself and was unavailable for the challenge of Anfield. Suarez would leave the pitch at the end as quickly as possible, passing Daniel Sturridge, the Liverpool substitute and his former team-mate.
“It is fair to say Sturridge and Suarez did not see eye to eye when together they led Liverpool’s attack so effectively. Sturridge enjoyed this moment, letting out massive provocative roar which Suarez managed to ignore.
“He had wanted to leave Liverpool in the summers of 2013 as well as 2014 when he finally got his wish. He able to get away now and again, he could not disappear quickly enough. He claimed he would not celebrate if he scored against Liverpool at Anfield. And he did not.”
“This Barca team did not just crumble under Liverpool’s onslaught.
“They crumbled under Jurgen Klopp’s onslaught.
“If ever there was a performance to reflect the ethos, image and personality of the manager, it was this.
“This redefined even Klopp’s heavy metal football. This was true mettle.”
“In the event, a makeshift XI comprised of players signed from Southampton, Sunderland, Newcastle, Hull and Stoke City channelled relentless Premier League energy to humiliate mighty Barca, like some bloke who works in CeX necking a six-pack of Monster and a KFC family bucket before outmanoeuvring a chess-playing supercomputer.”
“By the time Origi scored the fourth — a brilliantly clever corner routine, orchestrated by Trent Alexander-Arnold — the goal that returns Liverpool to the Champions League final, that grants it a chance to avenge last year’s defeat to Real Madrid, all the color had drained from Messi’s face.
“His eyes looked red, raw, distant, his skin ashen. No player in soccer history has turned so many games to his will, has so regularly taken control of his destiny. This, though, proved beyond even him. There was to be no moment of salvation, secured by his own hand, no deliverance, no destiny.
“As the clock ticked down, as time ebbed away, he wandered the field, lost in his thoughts. His strike partner, Luis Suárez, carefully unwrapped the strapping from his wrist, tossing it aside, looking longingly toward the tunnel, edging ever closer to it. He was the first to disappear as the whistle blew, as it all ended, as a stream of Liverpool coaches and substitutes flooded past him on their way to the celebrations.
“Messi followed, a moment later. He looked at the ground. He did not turn back. He said nothing as Barcelona’s coaching staff offered their condolences. Just before he disappeared from view, as Liverpool’s players poured into embraces and the stands melted, he offered the briefest, softest shake of the head, as if he, too, had not been able to believe what he had seen. Sometimes, there is nothing to do but succumb.”