Reliving the best European comebacks under Klopp before Liverpool face Atalanta


Reliving the best European comebacks under Klopp before Liverpool face Atalanta

Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool celebrate (2019)
Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool celebrate (2019)AFP
Liverpool need one of their greatest performances in a European second leg match to progress in the Europa League tonight.

Jurgen Klopp's men shipped three goals to, and were held to nil, by Atalanta in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final at Anfield last week.

It's far from the first time the Reds have found themselves needing to dig themselves out of a hole.

Liverpool have a history of overturning deficits in dramatic fashion - you may think first of Istanbul in 2005, but there have been many others.

Two in recent history and, crucially, under the tutelage of current manager Klopp stand out as more relevant examples.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 on agg.)

On the way to winning the 2019 Champions League title, Liverpool first had the gargantuan task of overturning a 3-0 scoreline picked up in Catalonia.

Against the minnows of Europe, this would have been a mighty task - but against Barcelona, one of the continent's most famed outfits, it seemed an impossible task.

Barca, aware of the mountain they'd presented their opponents to climb, even joked about the notion of Liverpool doing so on social media.

As the above post states, Liverpool scored first in the second leg. 

After just seven minutes, by the grace of Divock Origi, the Reds had one back, but Barcelona would survive Klopp's 'gegenpressing' to go in at the break just 1-0 down (still 3-1 up). 

It should be said that Alisson, who had recently signed for Liverpool from Roma, put in an incredible performance to deny (among others) the brilliant Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

A change after the break that looked like a bad omen actually turned out to be a positive for Klopp's side as an injured Andy Robertson was replaced by Gini Wijnaldum.

It didn't take long for the Dutchman to make an impact, scoring with a thunderous effort at the Kop end on 54 minutes, before making it a brace with a delightful header two minutes later.

For those keeping count, Liverpool were then on level terms with Barcelona - an unthinkable thought before kick-off.

Barca, who almost certainly had eyes on extra time and penalties, tightened up after Wijnaldum's double and Alisson continued to protect his clean sheet.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Trent Alexander-Arnold stepped up to whip in a signature corner and noticed the opposition players were not paying attention.

The Liverpool-born full-back lashed the ball across the box and it found Origi, who was the only man inside the 18-yard box with his eyes open.

Instinct took over and the Belgian hoofed the ball into the net to make it 4-0 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate before the Reds saw out one of the most incredible comebacks in recent Champions League history.

Liverpool 4-3 Dortmund (5-4 on agg.)

It was Klopp's first season with Liverpool, so naturally, he had to meet his former club in the Europa League knockout stages.

The first leg, a 1-1 draw held in Germany, didn't offer too much to write home about, but the return leg is something Reds supporters still talk about with pride to this day.

After just nine minutes, the travelling side were 2-0 up at Anfield and looked to be dumping Liverpool out of Europe after reaching the break with their lead intact.

It should be noted, also, that this Liverpool team were not yet the seasoned side we would see toward the turn of 2020.

The starting XIs
The starting XIsFlashscore

Regardless, there was a match to be won and a fight-back to be had.

Origi, who would go on to earn a reputation for it, struck immediately after the restart and ignited chaos.

Shortly after, Marco Reus took the wind out of Liverpool's sails and restored Dortmund's advantage, making it 4-2 on aggregate to the Germans.

And then, like clockwork, there was a goal roughly every ten minutes until the match was over.

Philippe Coutinho scored for Liverpool with 66 minutes on the clock, then Mamadou Sakho levelled things up after 77.

But at 4-4 (on aggregate), the Reds were still headed out of the Europa League on the old away goals rule and needed another.

Liverpool kept knocking at the door and in additional time Dejan Lovren nodded in a neat cross by James Milner at the Kop end to deliver another famous comeback to the Anfield faithful.

Atalanta vs Liverpool?

Before a ball is kicked tonight, the Italians lead the Reds 3-0 on aggregate.

A potential positive for Liverpool is that they won 5-0 at Atalanta's Gewiss Stadium in 2020, but a significant negative is that they can't rely on the Anfield crowd to back them up.

To be sure, the travelling fans will make their presence known - especially if an early goal is scored, but the crowd advantage is firmly with Atalanta.

The Nerazzurri have a three-goal cushion and will be aware of Liverpool's faltering front line and difficulty breaking down defensive teams.

If Atalanta 'park the bus', it will take perhaps the greatest attacking performance by a Klopp side in the Europa League knockouts to turn around the deficit.

All eyes on Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo.

Follow the match on Flashscore.


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