Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he was “overwhelmed” and saw his players in tears after they completed the biggest Champions League semi-final comeback to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate.
The Reds lost the first leg 3-0 but doubles from GeorginioWijnaldum and DivockOrigi at Anfield took them into a final against Ajax or Tottenham.
“If I have to describe this club then it’s a big heart and tonight it was pounding like crazy,” he said.
“You could hear it all over the world.”
Klopp was almost giddy in his BT Sport interview, checking it was past the watershed before swearing and saying he was happy to pay a fine.
“The whole game was too much,” he said. “Winning is difficult but with a clean sheet, I don’t know how they did it.”
“It means so much to all of us. There are more important things in the world. But creating this emotional atmosphere together is so special. It’s all about the players.
“The mix of potential and unbelievable heart is just a mix I never saw before. It shows what’s possible in football. It’s so nice.”
It is the first time since 1986 – when Barcelona knocked out Gothenburg in the old European Cup – that a team have recovered a three-goal first-leg deficit to win a semi-final in this competition.
“I said to the boys before ‘I don’t think it’s possible but because it’s you I think we have a chance’ – they are really mentality giants. It’s unbelievable,” Klopp added.
“After the season we played, the games we had, the injuries we had now in this moment, if you go out there and ask who bet a penny on us, I don’t think you would find a lot of people.
“We know this club is the mix of atmosphere, emotion, desire and football quality. Cut off one and it doesn’t work.”
Klopp won two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup with Borussia Dortmund but since 2012 has lost two Champions League finals, one Europa League final, two German Cups and a Carabao Cup final.
“I know what people say about me and losing finals, that’s absolutely right,” said Klopp, who guided the five-time European champions to last season’s final, which they lost to Real Madrid. “But it’s the fourth final in that time as well we are in, that’s pretty special already.
“Last year we really felt we have to go back – we cannot let it stand like this, that’s not possible. Now we get another chance and we will go for that, of course.
“I’m not sure if it will happen again because it’s so special. When I saw the boys after the game and saw the tears in their eyes, that’s football. This club touches you like crazy, it’s like you feel much more than others in these moments.”
Wijnaldum said his team had showed “everything is possible in football”.
The midfielder replaced the injured Andy Robertson at half-time and scored twice, with Origi getting the winner.
“After the game in Spain we were confident we could score four and win 4-0,” he said.
“People outside doubted us. They thought we couldn’t do it. But once again we showed everything is possible in football.
“I was really angry that the manager put me on the bench. I just tried to help my team, I’m happy I could do that with two goals.”
The final is in Madrid on 1 June and will be the first since 2013 without a Spanish side involved – that after a run of seven finalists from that country in the past five seasons.
“Who’s going to the final? We are,” said Liverpool left-back Robertson, when asked about a running battle he had with former Reds striker Luis Suarez, whose kick injured the Scot and led to his half-time substitution. “That’s all that matters. Gini went on [for me] and scored two. I don’t care right now.”
Robertson also said this unlikely victory can help his side as they attempt to win the Premier League title on Sunday. They need to beat Wolves and hope leaders Manchester City drop points at Brighton to win their first league title since 1990.
“Fingers crossed,” he said. “We go to Sunday full of energy. It’s out of our hands but we’ve seen stranger things happen. Especially tonight.”
Travel Agent Scams Cristiano Ronaldo of £250,000, Jailed
A travel agent, named Maria Silvia scammed Manchester United striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, out of £250,000 (about N140 million) after the football star entrusted her with his credit cards and pin.
The 53-year-old travel agent also scammed Ronaldo’s super-agent Jorge Mendes of £14,000 and Manchester United winger, Nani, of over £1,500.
Due to her wrongdoing, Silvia got a four-year suspended prison sentence on Sunday after being earlier convicted by a Porto criminal court in 2017.
It was also revealed that Ronaldo was targeted for three years between February 2007 and July 2010.
The paper read, “Afterwards the travel agent had to plug the hole in the firm’s accounts. She, therefore, began to bill those trips to Cristiano Ronaldo, who had an account at Geostar and for practical reasons, handed the agent a virtual credit card and pin code. It was a green route to taking money out.”
Quoting a renowned Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias, Sun Sports reported that the 36-year-old Ronaldo submitted a statement to the police after flying to the court to meet up with his lawyer.
The travel agent, who currently works as a cleaner, was first interrogated in 2011 before her eventual sentence on Sunday, September 19, 2021.
I am Getting Better, Says Hospitalised Pele
Brazilian football legend Pele said Sunday he is “punching the air” to celebrate “every better day” after the 80-year-old suffered his latest health scare.
“As you can see, I’m punching the air in celebration of every better day,” Pele wrote on Instagram beside a photograph of him sitting in a hospital chair, watched over by two medical staff.
The three-time World Cup winner was Friday briefly transferred back to an intensive care unit at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where he underwent surgery earlier this month, after suffering breathing difficulties.
“A good mood is the best medicine and I have plenty of that. It couldn’t be different,” he added Sunday.
“I have received so much affection that my heart is full of gratitude. Thanks to all the amazing staff at Albert Einstein Hospital!”
His condition had been described as stable.
Pele’s daughter Kely Nascimento also posted a photo of herself next to her father in the hospital on Friday, seeking to cheer up his fans.
We Won’t Accept Second Position in 2023 – NEF
The Northern Elders Forum has said the north was in the process of rebuilding itself and was not prepared to play second fiddle in a nation where it clearly enjoys numerical strength.
Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series organized by the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, held at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Saturday.
He said, “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want.
“Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership and being honest is not being stupid.
“The North has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fiddle to anybody. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.
“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.
“Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses. This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.
The NEF’s spokesman added, “If the majority of Nigeria voters vote for a candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under the Nigeria President, the person can leave.”