“Corner taken quickly, Origi“- a phrase first bellowed by Liverpool commentator, Steve Huntly, and a phrase that will forever be cemented into the history of Liverpool Football Club after completing the comeback of all comebacks on this day one year ago. What could have been a season-ending week for Liverpool, suddenly transformed into a season-defining one with a comeback at Newcastle keeping their title hopes alive and the completion of the impossible against Barcelona giving them the chance of redemption in Madrid just one year after losing in Kyiv.
One Year Ago Today: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
The game in Tyneside foreshadowed the nightmare that Barcelona would walk away from at Anfield just days later, with a winning goal from Divock Origi sealing yet another three points for Liverpool in the Premier League, and giving the Belgian a timely confidence boost.
The victory, however, didn’t do Liverpool many favours when it came to squad depth with Mohamed Salah stretchered off and ruled out of the Barcelona game, forced to join fellow teammate Roberto Firmino in the stands of Anfield. A 3-0 deficit is difficult to overturn for any team. But, to do it without two-thirds of your attacking trio is near impossible. This made Liverpool’s advancement in the Champions League seem as unlikely as ever; heartbreak was thought to be inevitable at this point.
But, at the same time, with no Firmino, no Salah, a 3-0 deficit to overturn and a title race out of their hands, what did Jurgen Klopp’s men have to lose? And after all, it is those that have less to lose who prove to be the most dangerous.
It was an underdog role that Liverpool were yet to play in the 18/19 season. But it was a role that they would go onto play so well as they have done on so many occasions in the past with Anfield watching on, who played the pantomime crowd perfectly on this dramatic night.
A Special Anfield Atmosphere
And as kick-off loomed, the Anfield faithful had found their pantomime villain in the form of Luis Suarez, who had damaged his once-great Liverpool legacy in the first leg. The boos rang out, almost deafening, as Suarez stood ready for kick-off; it was a kick-off that signalled the first battle cry of the night after an emphatic rendition of the famous Liverpool anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’
With the game finally underway after all the buildup and hesitant promotion of a potential comeback on the cards from BT Sport, it was clear that Anfield was not ready to give up.
And neither were the players. Divock Origi tapped in the opening goal within the first 10 minutes, injecting a sudden sense of belief around Anfield, giving Liverpool a fighting chance.
Divock Origi’s goal surprisingly ended up being the only goal of what was a frantic, end to end first 45; Barcelona reminded Liverpool of their defensive duties in the midst of attempting the impossible. Liverpool may not have added to their lead, but as a bruised, beaten and even tearful Barcelona side headed for the dressing room, people began to sense the potential for another iconic night at Anfield.
All that Liverpool needed was a big-game player at this point. And perhaps also a Gini to grant Klopp’s wishes of a comeback. With Andy Robertson injured at the hands of Suarez, who was playing his role of the villain perfectly, it was time for Gini Wijnaldum to step up and grant his manager’s wish of the perfect Anfield night.
The Dutchman went onto enjoy the best two minutes of his life, scoring a historic brace between the 54th and 56th minute with a trademark header for the second to send Anfield into delirium. Fans were expecting to see their beloved team crash out of Europe one step away from a chance of glory. But instead, had the pleasure to pay witness to one of the greatest comebacks of all time.
An Unforgettable Liverpool Corner
And with just over 10 minutes to go, a 20-year-old scouser stepped up to take what will go down as the most iconic corner ever. “Oh they’ve caught them, they’ve caught Barcelona napping” are the words used by Darren Fletcher to describe the iconic moment as Alexander-Arnold produced the cheekiest yet smartest of corners, taking it in the middle of Barcelona’s defensive reorganize to find Divock Origi, who somehow reacted to make it Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona. Even the Belgian didn’t know how to celebrate! Barcelona hung their heads in shame whilst the Liverpool fans chanted the name of their newfound hero.
The moment will forever be immortalised in the history of Liverpool and football itself; the Reds booked their place in Madrid to complete yet another miracle at Anfield. Fans and players alike will remember the special scenes that followed; the players joined with the fans in an emotional rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Happy Anniversary Reds!