LIVERPOOL 4-3 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
This was the best comeback Liverpool have had since the Champions League Final in Istanbul.
You’re welcome to disagree with me if you want but I will ask that you provide evidence of a better comeback since 2005 and honestly, I don’t think you can do that. This was special. This was rare. This was a night to be remembered. I will remember it and Liverpool fans all over the world will remember it as the night they made it to the Europa League Semi Finals. We didn’t even win a trophy yet, but this was something we will not forget. If we do manage to be the winners of the UEFA Europa League then we will say “it wasn’t all about the Final, the Quarter Finals against Borussia Dortmund were incredibly important”.
Before the game kicked off, there was a perfectly observed minutes silence for remembrance of the 96 fans who died in the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989. Respect shown by the Dortmund fans was admirable. They had that respect returned to them by Liverpool fans, including myself. I actually watched the game with a German who spoke with me at length about his club. I said to him by the end of the game “If you (Dortmund) had won this game, I would be congratulating you. Our fans respect you and we all respect and love Jürgen Klopp”. The Dortmund fans were gracious in defeat and still had their fun in celebrating the goals they scored before the final whistle was blown and Liverpool had made their comeback to win.
Klopp could have done anything he wanted. Klopp could have chosen 18 teenagers from the Academy and nobody could have stopped him. He didn’t though. He chose the strongest possible squad that we have available and made some crucial decisions on who would get to play throughout the entire fixture.
We (the fans) were sure our manager knew how to handle a squad that he had built in Germany and there was a confidence between us all that could not be broken. Our opposition could not make us afraid. Our opponents were a side that could not beat us with better tactics, because their previous manager created those tactics and now worked for us.
With an advantage that included “away goals” before the game at Anfield, Liverpool had been quite confident indeed. It was only once we started playing again at Anfield that we realise the advantage could also be turned against us.
Only five minutes into the game in Liverpool, Henrikh Mkhitaryan had managed to slot a right footed shot from the centre of the box into the centre of the goal, past Simon Mignolet. The save was attempted, we can’t say Mignolet didn’t try to help stop us conceding, but it did happen. Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Liverpool (aggregate).
Onwards, we would go. Liverpool couldn’t just give up yet, there was like 85 minutes of the game to play at least. A determination still held fast in our attitude to the fixture.
Four minutes later, more surprise attacks from the Germans happened and we could not stop it from creating another goal. A Marco Reus cross saw him find Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who only had to shoot his right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top right corner to make the score Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Liverpool (aggregate).
We had known Reus was a threat, even before kickoff. A short spell of disappointment fell over me and other Liverpool fans that we could not stop him but still, the game went on.
Urgency crept into the minds of players and fans alike. We knew we could not sit back any more. The only time we could have done that is if we’d spent almost 90 minutes and no goals had been scored at all. That would have provided a possible qualification due to away goals, even with a goalless draw. This was clearly not going to happen, though. Goals had been scored. Goals that would count against us, instead of for us.
Half time would arrive, but Liverpool fans were all surprisingly happy. You wouldn’t know that we’d conceded twice as we’d sing aloud and praise the players and manager that were trying so hard for us.
This was the pub (bar) that I was watching the game from. Imagine this kind of dedication and support all over Liverpool and the rest of the world and you’ll come to an understanding of how much backing the Liverpool squad and manager have from the fan base that is made up of our dedicated Reds. It’s overwhelming, even in a single country. Then multiply that overwhelming support by the amount of countries there are in the world and you’ll have an accurate approximation of the amount of love for Liverpool FC in the entire world. Yeah, A LOT!
Though we certainly have a larger fan base than our German opponents, their team was quite strong and made a solid start to the second leg. They’d established more away goals in Liverpool than we had in Germany, so it was only going to be an aggregate score that could provide a winner for us. We could no longer use what we’d done as we’d travelled to our advantage.
15 minutes of Half Time may have been just what we needed. The second half was 45 minutes of magic for us. A great improvement on how we’d started and I really would like to know the exact words that Klopp motivated his squad with, at the break. It had to be special, to create the large impact that would happen.
Liverpool made their strategy a simple one. Win at all costs. We did not assume any defensive gameplay unless we were actively being attacked by Dortmund, which really didn’t happen a lot in the second half. Liverpool were quite concerned with being behind by a couple of goals and so we made sure we had possession and were attacking most of the time.
The second half started as we needed it to, with a goal. Emre Can would provide a through ball to Divock Origi and he’d manage to strike a right footed shot past the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner of the net.
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Liverpool (aggregate).
Liverpool were very determined and looked to get more goals. However, the next goal would be Dortmund’s as in the 57th minute Mats Hummels provided a through ball to Marco and Reus and he managed to put a right footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net. Borussia Dortmund 4-2 Liverpool (aggregate).
Fans were not overcome with despair. Quite the opposite, we all were very motivated to cheer on our team for doing better. We’d all rally the support our team needed for victory.
In the 62nd minute, Lallana and Firmino would leave the pitch as Joe Allen and Daniel Sturridge replaced them. A few minutes later, the next goal would come for us. James Milner would assist Coutinho who’s right footed shot from outside the box went into the bottom right corner of the net. Borussia Dortmund 4-3 Liverpool (aggregate).
On the game went. By the 77th minute, Liverpool had won a corner. Coutinho would take it and swing it in to Mamadou Sakho who would head into the net from close range. Our defender had brought the score to Borussia Dortmund 4-4 Liverpool (aggregate). It was late in the game but there was still hope for us. A single goal would cancel out the away goal Dortmund had and we’d win on aggregate if we could get that goal.
The game would go to the 91st minute and about 4 minutes of extra time was decided to be played by the match officials. Marcel Schmelzer would be given a yellow card for a bad foul and James Milner would take the free kick. This free kick went into the box and found Dejan Lovren, who ran to the left hand side of the 6 yard box and headed home for the last goal of the game and brought the score to Borussia Dortmund 4-5 Liverpool (aggregate).
We’d play on for the rest of the match (about 3 minutes) but it was truly over from the moment Lovren had scored. We’d gone from perhaps losing on aggregate to perhaps losing on away goals (Dortmund would have qualified had the score stayed at 4-4) to claiming the win on aggregate.
History will remember this night. Liverpool fans will remember this night. Dortmund fans may remember it too, but maybe not as fondly as us.
This was when Liverpool made the great comeback at Anfield against Borussia Dortmund for reaching the Europa League Semi Finals.
Man of the match? Well, I could pick any of the goalscorers really, but the most important goal of all was the one that came right at the end. It was Dejan Lovren’s header that decided Liverpool would not lose on away goals and would instead be qualifying for the next round of the Europa League. The importance of this goal and what we gained from it makes it even more valuable and Lovren is the man of the match for scoring it. He may not understand the true value of it himself just yet but he will once he realises how many people around the world now love him more than ever for what he did. It means so much to our fans. If we make it to the Europa League Final eventually, people will say “we could not have made it here without Dejan Lovren’s header in the Quarter Finals”. He’s just gone down in history that will be remembered by our fans.
I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. It was one of the most exciting European fixtures I’ve seen in a long time. A truly great comeback.
Walk on, with hope in your hearts Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.