Ground shakes before Liverpool's 'mentality giants'

Jürgen Klopp wanted a "football party"; he got that and more. UEFA.com's Anfield reporter Matthew Howarth rubs his eyes in disbelief.

Marc-André ter Stegen looks on forlornly as another Liverpool goal is scored
Marc-André ter Stegen looks on forlornly as another Liverpool goal is scored ©Getty Images

So, was this what you had in mind, Jürgen?

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp had asked for a "football party" in the build-up to Tuesday's semi-final second leg against Barcelona, but this was surely beyond anything the German had envisaged prior to kick-off.

Anfield was shaking at full-time. As the Liverpool players leapt into each other's arms, home fans all around me were doing likewise. Many had their phones out, some had tears in their eyes. One simply slumped to his knees, overcome with a mixture of elation and disbelief.

When Klopp addressed the media on Monday, he had no qualms in accepting that the challenge of retrieving a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona could prove too big a hurdle for his side – who were, after all, without two of their most prolific goalscorers in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Klopp on amazing Liverpool turnaround
Klopp on amazing Liverpool turnaround

As he sat down for Tuesday's post-match press conference, Klopp appeared almost ashen-faced, stunned by the enormity of what he had just witnessed. Forget Istanbul in 2005. This was on another level.

"We know that this club is a mix of atmosphere, emotion, desire and football," he told a packed media room. "This club has a big heart – tonight it was pounding like crazy.

"Winning against Barcelona is one of the most difficult things in world football. Winning against Barcelona when you're 3-0 down is obviously a lot more difficult.

"When I saw the boys at full-time with 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."

Watch Liverpool's dressing room celebrations
Watch Liverpool's dressing room celebrations

Georginio Wijnaldum – one of several Reds players who struggled to contain their emotions at full-time – and Divock Origi scored two goals apiece to cement their place in Liverpool folklore. However, as Klopp was quick to point out, this was all about the team performance.

"They're mentality giants," he said. "The season we've had, the injuries we have in this moment. To go out there and put in a performance like that is incredible.

"Jordan Henderson was unbelievable. He got an unbelievable kick against his knee and couldn't feel his patella, which doesn't help. [Andrew] Robertson then got a knock to his calf.

"What they all did tonight was so special, and I'm going to remember it forever."

This most remarkable of results clinches Liverpool's place in European football’s showpiece event for a second successive season – a feat the Reds have not achieved since the mid-1980s. After last year's bitter disappointment against Real Madrid in Kyiv, Klopp and his players are determined to go one better next month in Madrid, where they will face either Tottenham Hotspur or Ajax.

Highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
Highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

"We believed in this chance," said the 51-year-old. "We said it from the beginning: the boys want to create their own history. Not because we're not happy with the history of our club, we just need new chapters! After last season, we felt we had to go back. We couldn't let it stand like this. Now we get to go back. It's so special. It's crazy."

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