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Liverpool stuns Barcelona 4-0 to reach the Champions League final

Associated Press

Liverpool delivered the greatest in a long line of famous comebacks to reach the Champions League final on Tuesday, beating Lionel Messi's Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to overturn a three-goal deficit from the first leg.

Divock Origi scored twice, either side of goals by halftime substitute Georginio Wijnaldum early in the second half, to send Liverpool into its second straight final and set up a meeting with either Ajax or Tottenham on June 1.

It was only the third time in the history of the European Cup that a team came from three goals down after the first leg of a semifinal and progressed to the final, after Panathinaikos in 1970-71 and Barcelona in 1985-86. No team had done it in the Champions League era.

The comeback was all the more unlikely given that Liverpool was without two of its first-choice forward line, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Instead, it was Origi — the scorer of the crucial fourth goal in the 79th minute — who made the seemingly impossible, possible. And it needed some remarkable ingenuity from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who pretended to walk away from taking a corner before quickly spinning round and sending in a low cross as Barcelona's players dawdled. Origi swept in the finish.

Given the opposition, a team featuring arguably the greatest ever soccer player in Messi, this will likely rank as Liverpool's greatest European performance, rivaling the comeback from three goals down against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final.

There was also the 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne in the 1977 European Cup and the 4-3 win from 2-0 down against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League semifinals.

For Barcelona, it was the second year in a row that they let a three-goal lead slip, having beaten Roma 4-1 at home in the quarterfinals in 2018 before losing the return leg 3-0 to go out.

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