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08th May 2019

Where does Liverpool’s Champions League win rank among the all-time comebacks?

Jack O'Toole

Divock Origi’s fourth goal for Liverpool fired the Reds back to another Champions League final.

It was the most improbable of comebacks. No Mohamed Salah. No Roberto Firmino. Andy Robertson injured at half-time. Gini Wijnaldum, a midfielder who scored two goals in 50 games last season, bagged a second-half brace off the bench. Barcelona squandered a three goal first leg lead for the second consecutive season. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were both held scoreless.

Liverpool defied the odds, and potentially the gods, to advance to their second consecutive Champions League final after last year’s defeat to Real Madrid.

It was a historic night at Anfield but where does it rank alongside the other great Champions League comebacks.

  • Note – Only two legged ties were considered.

1. Barcelona 6-1 PSG (Barcelona won 6-5 on aggregate)

Ironically, Barcelona still hold the record for the biggest Champions League knockout comeback when they reversed a 4-0 first leg deficit to come back and win the second leg 6-1 at the Camp Nou to progress on away goals.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi both struck first while a Layvin Kurzawa own goal gave Barca a 3-0 lead before Edinson Cavani fired home to score what should have been a decisive away goal.

Barcelona continued to press and eventually scored three goals in seven minutes to complete a miraculous comeback.

2. Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (Liverpool win 4-3 on aggregate)

There’s so many different ways Barcelona lost this tie. Ousmane Dembele missing a sitter in the first leg. Lionel Messi taking too much time as Barcelona players queued up after each other during a first-half break at Anfield. Liverpool outrunning Ernesto Valverde’s side by seven kilometres.

In many ways, it still doesn’t make sense how Barcelona bottled this tie but comebacks aren’t supposed to make sense. They’re supposed to be improbable. Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum would have been behind a lot of other names when it came to likely heroes at Anfield but in the end they finished their chances and put Liverpool in a position to win their first Champions League title since 2005 if they emerge victorious from next month’s final in Madrid.

3. Roma 3-0 Barcelona (Roma win 4-4 on aggregate)

Barcelona just can’t do it easy.

After they were thumped by Juventus in the 2017 quarter-final, the Catalans returned to the same stage the following season only to blow a 4-1 first leg lead at home to Roma before losing 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.

Kostas Manolas headed in a 82nd minute header to take Roma back to the Champions League semi-final where they were defeated 7-6 over two legs by Liverpool.

4. Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan (Deportivo won 5-4 on Aggregate)

Deportivo were trounced 4-1 by what many fans consider one of the best teams in the history of European football in AC Milan.

A double from Kaka, and two quick goals from Andriy Shevchenko and Andrea Pirlo all but eradicated Walter Pandiani’s early strike at the San Siro in the first leg before Deportivo came storming back in the second leg to win 4-0 with goals from Pandiani, Juan Valeron, Albert Luque and Franc completing a remarkable comeback.

5. Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Manchester United (United progress on away goals)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brought back down to earth by PSG in their Champions League second round first leg after a blistering start to his tenure at Manchester United.

PSG dominated Solskjaer’s side at Old Trafford and returned to Paris with a comfortable two away goal lead before United’s young side completed a miraculous comeback with a Romelu Lukaku double capped off by a 94th minute Marcus Rashford penalty to send the Red Devils through to the quarter-finals.

Unfortunately, they haven’t had much to shout about since.

6. Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (Barcelona won 6-4 on aggregate)

The Catalan giants appear again here, this time on the right side of history, after they reversed a two-goal first leg deficit to batter Chelsea at the Camp Nou.

A Luis Figo strike gave the hosts some hope after Gianfranco Zola and Tore Andre Flo inflicted their damage in London and when Barcelona returned home they eviscerated the Blues with Figo again scoring while Rivalo notched a brace.

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