Liverpool comeback against Barcelona: Jurgen Klopp says ‘I don’t know how they did it’
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he was “overwhelmed” and saw his players in tears after they completed the biggest Champions League semi-final comeback to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate.
The Reds lost the first leg 3-0 but doubles from Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi at Anfield took them into a final against Ajax or Tottenham.
“If I have to describe this club then it’s a big heart and tonight it was pounding like crazy,” he said.
“You could hear it all over the world.”
Klopp was almost giddy in his BT Sport interview, checking it was past the watershed before swearing and saying he was happy to pay a fine.
“The whole game was too much,” he said. “Winning is difficult but with a clean sheet, I don’t know how they did it.”
“It means so much to all of us. There are more important things in the world. But creating this emotional atmosphere together is so special. It’s all about the players.
“The mix of potential and unbelievable heart is just a mix I never saw before. It shows what’s possible in football. It’s so nice.”
It is the first time since 1986 – when Barcelona knocked out Gothenburg in the old European Cup – that a team have recovered a three-goal first-leg deficit to win a semi-final in this competition.
“I said to the boys before ‘I don’t think it’s possible but because it’s you I think we have a chance’ – they are really mentality giants. It’s unbelievable,” Klopp added.
“After the season we played, the games we had, the injuries we had now in this moment, if you go out there and ask who bet a penny on us, I don’t think you would find a lot of people.
“We know this club is the mix of atmosphere, emotion, desire and football quality. Cut off one and it doesn’t work.”
Klopp won two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup with Borussia Dortmund but since 2012 has lost two Champions League finals, one Europa League final, two German Cups and a Carabao Cup final.
“I know what people say about me and losing finals, that’s absolutely right,” said Klopp, who guided the five-time European champions to last season’s final, which they lost to Real Madrid. “But it’s the fourth final in that time as well we are in, that’s pretty special already.
“Last year we really felt we have to go back – we cannot let it stand like this, that’s not possible. Now we get another chance and we will go for that, of course.
“I’m not sure if it will happen again because it’s so special. When I saw the boys after the game and saw the tears in their eyes, that’s football. This club touches you like crazy, it’s like you feel much more than others in these moments.”
Wijnaldum said his team had showed “everything is possible in football”.
The midfielder replaced the injured Andy Robertson at half-time and scored twice, with Origi getting the winner.
“After the game in Spain we were confident we could score four and win 4-0,” he said.
“People outside doubted us. They thought we couldn’t do it. But once again we showed everything is possible in football.
“I was really angry that the manager put me on the bench. I just tried to help my team, I’m happy I could do that with two goals.”
The final is in Madrid on 1 June and will be the first since 2013 without a Spanish side involved – that after a run of seven finalists from that country in the past five seasons.
“Who’s going to the final? We are,” said Liverpool left-back Robertson, when asked about a running battle he had with former Reds striker Luis Suarez, whose kick injured the Scot and led to his half-time substitution. “That’s all that matters. Gini went on [for me] and scored two. I don’t care right now.”
Robertson also said this unlikely victory can help his side as they attempt to win the Premier League title on Sunday. They need to beat Wolves and hope leaders Manchester City drop points at Brighton to win their first league title since 1990.
“Fingers crossed,” he said. “We go to Sunday full of energy. It’s out of our hands but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Especially tonight.” – bbc.com