They had it all to do, the Reds. Trailing Barcelona 3-0 following the first leg last Wednesday. The mighty Barcelona. Five-time UEFA Champions League champions Barcelona. A Barcelona team who had just weeks ago won La Liga for the second consecutive time with still four games left to play, currently 15 points ahead of Real Madrid. A Barcelona side which contained a certain Lionel Messi.
To make things even more challenging, they had to somehow overcome the Catalans without their two star players - Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, who combined have scored eight goals in the Champions League this term. Bit-part player Divock Origi was the man trusted with leading the line at Anfield, and while many fans would have dreaded the prospect of heading into battle against one of Europe's most ruthless teams with the Belgian as their main attacking outlet, it took just seven minutes for him to gain the Kop's trust.
Jordan Henderson's weak shot did just about enough to test Ter Stegan, the German could only keep it out by palming it to the feet of Origi who was then able to tap home from close range. 1-0 Liverpool, 83 minutes left to play, game on. Barcelona are rattled, it's evident. They don't want it and Liverpool can sense it, Klopp's warriors can literally smell the fear coming off the florescent yellow shirts of the Spanish champions who are usually so calm under pressure. Anfield can smell it, too. Over 50,000 fans yet again play their part as the twelfth man, ushering their beloved side toward goal whilst making the atmosphere as hostile as it could possibly be for their nerve-stricken guests.
Messi showed flashes of brilliance, as he always does. The Argentinian would have felt let down by his colleagues last night, every ball he played through wasn't given the finish it deserved, but that's football. For the most part, despite bursts of sporadic threat, Lionel Messi was kept quiet by the high pressing Liverpool backline and ravenous Fabinho, who would have left the pitch with absolutely nothing left in the tank. The Brazilian's performance last night was outstanding and a perfect example of what exactly is needed when tasked with man marking the worlds deadliest footballer.