Barcelona falling prey to Liverpool's 'Corner taken quickly... ORIGI!' moment | On This Day
- Barcelona's nightmare in Rome was re-lived in Liverpool a year ago on this day
- Goals from Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum sent Barcelona packing and Liverpool to the UCL final
The words 'corner taken quickly' will never be the same in football, especially for the Barcelona faithful. On this day in 2019, the Blaugrana made the trip to Liverpool to attend what they hoped would be a routine win after a devastating attacking display against the same opposition at the Nou Camp. Even with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino among their ranks in Barcelona, Liverpool couldn't leave a dent on the imperious home side, and they were stunned by a late and otherworldly free-kick from Lionel Messi.
Barcelona finished the first leg with a superb three-goal win and frankly could have had a lot more on the scoresheet if not for questionable finishing. Liverpool's hopes of a second consecutive final looked bleak, and the Catalans were more than just 'in control' of the tie.
In the build-up to this game, Barcelona essentially had the league wrapped up with a bow on top so they could afford to rest their players ahead of the second leg. Meanwhile, Jürgen Klopp's men were in the endgame of one of the most heated title races the Premier League has witnessed. Three days before the second leg, Liverpool played at their very best and fought tooth and nail for a 3-2 win at St. James' Park.
Naturally, going into this tie with a three-goal lead and with two of Liverpool's brilliant front-three absent from the starting XI, Barcelona weren't at their sharpest. Along with Salah and Firmino, big-money signing Naby Keita was also on the sidelines. Complacency kicked in for the Catalans. Despite being the superior side on paper, there was something in the Anfield air that suggested it wasn't going to be a routine win, and if anything, it would be far from it.
Divock Origi opened the scoring and gave Anfield a reason to believe at the start of the match with a finish from close range in the seventh minute of the game. From the get-go, Liverpool played like a team that had nothing to lose. They put it all on the line, quite literally at that. Jordan Henderson, the Kop's beloved captain, picked up a bad knock in the first half and managed to play through the remainder of the game through the pain.
Barcelona re-living a nightmare
Andy Robertson was subbed off at half-time in favour of Gini Wijnaldum, pushing veteran James Milner to left-back. As far as historic substitutions in football go, this will definitely be remembered as one of the greatest ever.
The Dutchman came alive and sparked the tie back to life with a 122-second spell that broke Barcelona hearts all over the globe. A cross from the ever-so-reliable Trent Alexander-Arnold (more on him later) was met by a free-running Wijnaldum who broke into Barcelona's box. This strike brought another back for Liverpool, who would need just 122 seconds from that moment to bring parity back to the tie. Xherdan Shaqiri's lofted cross was met by the same man once again, who headed it past Marc-Andre ter Stegen with ease.
Wijnaldum was reportedly fuming for being benched in a tie against Barcelona. His impact off the bench was breathtaking, to say the least.
As far as Barcelona were concerned, the score going from 3-0 to 3-3 only meant that they were re-living their nightmare in Rome, only this time, it was in Liverpool. The Reds were one Kostas Manolas moment away from a second consecutive Champions League final..... which they eventually found.
Alexander-Arnold's gifts are there for everyone to see, but his talent belies his age. In the 79th minute, just as he was getting into position to take a corner, he appeared to be walking away until he spotted Origi in the box. Something clicked. The Englishman quickly took the corner to find the Belgian who found the back of the Barcelona net. And there it was, as the Blaugrana were once again greeted by the Manolas-esque moment that eliminated them a year ago in uncannily similar fashion.
Origi and Alexander-Arnold combined to shatter an already-broken Barcelona and went on to win the Champions League — the sixth in their illustrious history.
"You could see that the team just wasn’t functioning, they were putting us under pressure and what had happened last year (against AS Roma) was very present in our minds," said Gerard Piqué on their loss after the match, insisting that they actually did re-live their nightmare from a year ago.
Jürgen Klopp is a man who said that he would turn doubters into believers at the start of his tenure. It turns out that he's a man of his word as Liverpool did achieve what appeared to be impossible. He made them believe.