Liverpool stage staggering comeback to defeat Barcelona 4-3

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Liverpool’s Belgian striker Divock Origi celebrates after scoring their fourth goal during the Champions League semi-final second leg between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield. (AFP)
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Liverpool fans celebrate their third goal scored by Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum as Barcelona’s Luis Suarez reacts. (Reuters)
Updated 08 May 2019

Liverpool stage staggering comeback to defeat Barcelona 4-3

  • Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice to beat Barcelona 4-0 on the night and progress to the final for the second consecutive year 4-3 on aggregate
  • Despite the despondency of losing Salah and Firmino, Jurgen Klopp’s men never lost faith and were accompanied by a typically raucous Anfield atmosphere on a European night

LONDON: Liverpool defeated Barcelona 4-3 in the Champions League semi-final after one of the greatest ever European comebacks. 

Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice to beat Barcelona 4-0 on the night and progress to the final for the second consecutive year 4-3 on aggregate on Tuesday.
The Reds not only had a mountain to climb on the scoreboard, but were deprived of two of their most potent attacking weapons in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino due to injury.
However, Origi and substitute Wijnaldum were the unlikely heroes as Barca surrendered a three-goal first-leg lead to exit the Champions League for the second straight season.
Despite the despondency of losing Salah and Firmino, Jurgen Klopp’s men never lost faith and were accompanied by a typically raucous Anfield atmosphere on a European night.
Origi would almost certainly not have started had Salah and Firmino been fit.
But the Belgian has made a habit of scoring important goals in Liverpool’s challenge for a first Premier League title in 29 years and he had his first ever in the Champions League on seven minutes on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had denied Jordan Henderson’s purposeful burst from midfield.
Liverpool have blown plenty of sides away in early bursts under Klopp, most notably hitting three inside the first half-hour at Anfield against Manchester City in last season’s Champions League quarter-final.
Barca looked rattled as Sergi Roberto’s short backpass nearly played Origi in.
However, the visitors soon started to pose a threat themselves in search of the away goal that would kill the tie.
Lionel Messi had turned the tie in Barcelona’s favor late in the first leg with a brilliant free-kick and his first effort was tipped over by Alisson Becker before the Brazilian denied international teammate Philippe Coutinho.
Another former Liverpool favorite Luis Suarez promised not to celebrate if he scored on his former stomping ground, but there was no love lost for the Uruguayan among the home faithful as he was showered with abuse after trying to buy cheap free-kicks.
Ter Stegen nervously parried an Andy Robertson drive and Alisson saved from Jordi Alba at the end of a pulsating first half.
Liverpool were seemingly dealt another injury blow as Robertson could not continue after half-time, but he made way for Wijnaldum with James Milner moving to left-back. Alisson made another important save from Suarez before Wijnaldum sent Anfield wild twice inside two minutes.
Firstly, the Dutch midfielder was picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross and drilled under Ter Stegen.
And from Liverpool’s next attack, Shaqiri picked out Wijnaldum to head home at the Kop end.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde tried to restore some order as Coutinho, who cost £142 million ($186 million) when moving between the clubs in January 2018, was replaced for the second time in the tie by Nelson Semedo to allow the visitors to switch to a four-man midfield.
The change briefly had an impact, but Barca were inexplicably caught cold from a quick Alexander-Arnold corner 11 minutes from time that picked out Origi completely unmarked to fire high past Ter Stegen.

 


Saudi helpers step up to the tee at first women’s golf tournament

Updated 35 min 49 sec ago

Saudi helpers step up to the tee at first women’s golf tournament

  • Volunteers will have the chance to step inside the ropes and get up close with the sport’s leading players

JEDDAH: Saudi volunteers will be able to write their names into the history books by helping at the first-ever Saudi Ladies International professional golf tournament.

Competition organizers are looking to recruit hundreds of people to help with the smooth running of the four-day event from March 19-22 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

Volunteers will have the chance to step inside the ropes and get up close with the sport’s leading players, including Order of Merit winner Beth Allen, three-time Ladies European Tour (LET) winner Carly Booth and Solheim Cup hero Azahara Munoz, as they compete for $1 million in prize money. 

The LET tournament in Saudi Arabia will mark the first time that professional female golfers have played competitively in the country, and comes hot on the heels of last month’s triumphant men’s equivalent, the Saudi International, won by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Online registration is now open for the debut event’s volunteers’ program.

Volunteers will be briefed before the event and receive a tournament uniform to wear while they work.

Marshals, including traveling, static, crossing and transitional positions, will be required for the tournament. Mobile scoreboard operators and walking scorers are among other roles that will offer volunteers a unique insight into the world-class event.

Mike Oliver, event director at Golf Saudi, said: “For the first year of this event, we are offering volunteers a chance to be part of history, working at the first professional women’s golf event to be held in the country.

“Volunteers, from both Saudi Arabia and abroad, will play a key role in helping us deliver a successful inaugural tournament,” he said.

A certificate of service will be presented to volunteers at the completion of the tournament.

As a bonus, volunteers will have their photo taken with the 2020 ladies winner during the prize presentation — a moment that will be seen by a worldwide audience via live broadcasts.