Liverpool midfielder James Milner has revealed how words from manager Jürgen Klopp helped convince the team they could do the impossible and upset Barcelona in last season’s Champions League.
Having fallen to a 3-0 loss in the first leg of their semi-final clash last season, Liverpool were expected to be embarrassingly eliminated from the competition, but they produced an outstanding performance in the second leg as they stormed to a memorable 4-0 victory.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Milner admitted that Liverpool felt as though the score from the first game was a little unfair, but Klopp helped convince them that they had what it took to turn things around in the return fixture.
“It wasn’t a bad performance by us in the Nou Camp, we had chances,” Milner said. “I remember I had at least one half-decent chance. I thought we played pretty well. Messi did his Messi-like things, the free-kick was ridiculous, and it was just one of those games you felt a bit hard done by.
“And then the night before the Barça game, we’re in a hotel and [Manchester] City obviously played [and beat Leicester City]. The deflation of that the night before, then you have to go and turn around a deficit to Barcelona. All that added to the effort.
“We walked into the training ground the next morning and the manager said before the meeting, ‘Has anyone got anything to say about that? No, nothing. Right, here we go. It’s pretty impossible but if anybody can do it, we can.’”
Divock Origi’s opener in the seventh minute was the perfect start, and two quick-fire goals after half-time saw the score levelled on aggregate, but it was Liverpool’s fourth which has earned a place in history.
‘Corner Taken Quickly ORIGIIIII’ won’t be forgotten anytime soon, and Milner admitted that it was a victory which felt sweeter than most.
“From that moment and once you get the momentum at Anfield and the goals, it was special because of the occasion obviously, but how good a team Barcelona are and the experienced players they had in their team, that made it more special,” he added.
“It wasn’t any team we managed to turn over like that, it was an unbelievable team with experienced players.”