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Liverpool’s Road to the Champions League Final

Leigh Copson 9 May 2019
Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates after scoring against Barcelona (credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images)

Liverpool can exorcise last season’s Champions League Final demons when they face Tottenham in the 2019 Final on June 1, and ahead of the big all-English clash we have been taking a look back at how the Reds made it to Madrid…

Group Stage Matchday 1 – Liverpool 3 Paris St Germain 2

Matchday One gave Liverpool fans a glimpse of the drama to come in Europe as it took a last-gasp goal to snatch a home win over Paris St Germain. The Reds looked to be in a commanding position when Daniel Sturridge and James Milner gave them a 2-0 lead inside the opening 36 minutes, but Thomas Meunier pulled one back for PSG before the break and Kylian Mbappe looked to have snatched a point for the visitors when he struck seven minutes from time. Roberto Firmino would have the final say though, stepping off the bench to fire home the winner in added time.

Group Stage Matchday 2 – Napoli 1 Liverpool 0

Having produced some last-gasp heroics to break Paris St Germain hearts on opening night, it was Liverpool’s turn to be the victims when they travelled to Italy to take on Napoli. Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to muster a single shot on target and were punished in the 90th minute when Lorenzo Insigne handed the home side a deserved 1-0 victory. 

Group Stage Matchday 3 – Liverpool 4 Red Star Belgrade 0

Liverpool were looking to issue an immediate response to that defeat to Napoli when they stepped out onto the Anfield turf on Matchday 3, and they did just that with a 4-0 thrashing of Red Star Belgrade. Roberto Firmino broke the deadlock on 20 minutes and Mohamed Salah then doubled the Reds’ lead just before the break. Salah then added his second from the penalty spot six minutes after the restart before Sadio Mane wrapped up a comprehensive victory 10 minutes from time. 

Group Stage Matchday 4 – Red Star Belgrade 2 Liverpool 0

Travel sickness threatened to derail Liverpool’s quest for European glory. Having cruised to a 4-0 win on their own patch, Jurgen Klopp’s side ‘lost their mojo’ as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat in the return meeting in Belgrade, putting pressure on them to gain a positive result in Paris a couple of weeks later.

Group Stage Matchday 5 – Paris St Germain 2 Liverpool 1

Liverpool had got the better of Paris St Germain on opening night, but could they really do the double over the French giants? The Reds travelled to Paris having lost each of their previous two away games in Group C and things were not looking good for them when Juan Bernat pounced on a poor clearance to give PSG the lead on 13 minutes. Neymar then doubled the home side’s advantage and although James Milner did pull one back for Liverpool from the penalty spot just before the interval, they could not complete the comeback in the second half.

Group Stage Matchday 6 – Liverpool 1 Napoli 0

Liverpool went into their final group game in a dangerous position thanks to those back-to-back away defeats – they had to either beat Napoli without conceding a goal or they had to win by two if the visitors found the back of the net. They got the victory they needed, but it was not plain-sailing. Mohamed Salah’s first-half strike put them ahead, but they needed some heroics from goalkeeper Alisson in added time to deny Arkadiusz Milik and send them through to the knockout stage.

Last-16 – Liverpool beat Bayern Munich 3-1 on aggregate

Liverpool’s Champions League prospects were looking pretty bleak after they were forced to settle for a goalless draw in the first-leg on this last-16 clash at Anfield. The Reds, of course, had lost all three of their away games in Europe so far and Bayern Munich are renowned for being incredibly tough to beat on their own turf. A score draw would have been enough to see Liverpool through, but they overcame their travel sickness at the best time possible to record an impressive win and send a message to the rest of Europe. Sadio Mane opened the scoring on 26 minutes before a Joel Matip own goal levelled things up before the break, but Virgil van Dijk put the Reds back in front with just over 20 minutes remaining and Mane then wrapped up the victory with his second six minutes from time.

Quarter-Finals – Liverpool beat FC Porto 6-1 on aggregate

Having overcame Bayern Munich in the last-16 many considered the quarter-final clash with FC Porto as a much more straightforward affair and that proved to be the case. Goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino inside the first 26 minutes handed them a 2-0 first-leg victory at Anfield, and it was even more comfortable for the Reds in Portugal as they stormed to a 4-1 victory thanks to goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk.

Semi-Finals – Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate

The semi-final draw could not have given Liverpool a tougher test, with many believing that the winner of this two-legged tie would go on to win the Champions League. That looked like being Barcelona when Lionel Messi fired in a free-kick from long range to complete a 3-0 victory for the home side at the Camp Nou, but that all changed when the two teams met on Merseyside for another memorable European night at Anfield. Divock Origi sparked the fightback with a first-half goal and Georginio Wijnaldum stepped off the bench to grab some headlines as he scored two quickfire goals before the hour mark to level it up a 3-3 on aggregate. The next goal would be vital and it was Liverpool who got it in bizarre fashion. The Barcelona defence went to sleep after Liverpool were awarded a corner and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quick-thinking allowed him to pick out an unmarked Origi, who produced a cool finish to hand the Reds a 4-0 win on the night and a 4-3 aggregate success.

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