An unlikely hero helped Liverpool continue their quest for silverware in Jurgen Klopp's first year in charge, as Chris McLoughlin discovered...
The week in five words
“In it goes towards Lovren…”
What went well
Joe Allen should now be nicknamed the Welsh Jesus rather than the Welsh Pirlo after this miraculous turnaround
Bedlam. Pandemonium. Pure unadulterated joyous celebrations. David Fairclough sparked such scenes against Saint-Etienne in the 1977. Steven Gerrard created more of the same in 2004. And now, quite surreally, Dejan Lovren wrote his name into Anfield folklore with a 91st-minute winner in that sensational 4-3 comeback victory over Borussia Dortmund.
You still won’t catch a Kopite pinching him or herself, just in case, but it did actually happen. After a catastrophic start where BVB netted twice in the opening nine minutes (becoming the first German side to ever score twice at Anfield) and hope disappeared quicker than the noise levels after a sensational pre-match You’ll Never Walk Alone, the Reds somehow pulled a Europa League quarter-final victory out of the fire.
Things initially got worse, Marco Reus putting Jurgen Klopp’s former club 3-1 up after Divock Origi got one back after the break, but the 62nd minute arrivals of Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen (who should now be nicknamed the Welsh Jesus rather than the Welsh Pirlo after this miraculous turnaround) changed the game.
Allen and Emre Can got control of the midfield, Philippe Coutinho fizzed one in to make it 3-2 and when Mamadou Sakho headed in a corner – six words that have never previously been written in that order – with 13 minutes to go, Anfield believed.
Cue BT Sport’s Darren Fletcher: “Into stoppage time. Daniel Sturridge. Milner. Can he tee up someone in Red? In it goes towards LOVREN! Ohhhhhh he’s done it! Liverpool have come back from the dead!”
Yes, it was only the Europa League and no, you don’t get UEFA’s big silver vase for winning a quarter-final. But to get three goals in 24 minutes against a BVB side who looked far superior in the first half was some achievement, so the celebrations that followed were wild. Pyrotechnics glowed, scarves were twirled and one fella leapt out of his wheelchair. It all made Sunday’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth by a much-changed Liverpool side look rather humdrum, but then how could anything have topped Thursday’s full throttle football?
There was then one more added piece of good news, with Mario Balotelli declaring he does not want to return to Liverpool.
The opening nine minutes against Borussia Dortmund, obviously, and James Milner’s corners. He can’t be accused of lacking consistency, but consistently hitting the first man wasn’t ideal.
Give Milner a moving ball to cross, however, and things are different. His perfect ball to Lovren was the Reds vice-captain’s 12th assist of the season, and his ninth in 2016. Only Barcelona duo Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi and Atletico Madrid’s Koke have got more, which makes those dodgy corners a little more forgivable, but no less infuriating.
Quote of the week
“Most of the team are too young to remember Hillsborough, but we think you got some divine help last night.” The Hillsborough Family Support Group’s Trevor Hicks speaking at the 27th, and final, Hillsborough Memorial Service at Anfield on Friday. Over 20,000 people attended.
The need-to-know facts
- When Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren scored against Borussia Dortmund, it was the first time both Liverpool centre-halves had netted in the same game since Phil Thompson and Emlyn Hughes did so against Stromsgodset in 1974.
- Liverpool have now won away at 50 different grounds in the Premier League, more than any other side.
- Roberto Firmino has been involved in 12 goals in his last 11 Premier League games (8 goals, 4 assists).
- Daniel Sturridge has scored in each of his last 3 away Premier League games.
- Liverpool have never lost to Bournemouth in any competition (W7 D2).
- The Reds have scored at least twice in 5 of their last 6 Premier League away games, failing to score in the other.
Video of the week
Before Thursday night’s Europa League classic, Liverpool supporters lined Anfield Road to whip up the atmosphere by welcoming both team buses to Anfield. Alberto Moreno recorded the fanatical scenes on his smartphone…
Winner of the week
He endured a tough first season at Anfield and hasn’t always been first choice in 2015/16, but since Jurgen Klopp took over Dejan Lovren has been looking more and more like the £20million defender Liverpool thought they had bought from Southampton. His defensive displays are much improved and having scored perhaps the most dramatic stoppage-time winner Anfield has ever seen, the Croatian will now be put in a glass case and displayed in the Reds' club museum when he eventually retires.
Loser of the week
Liverpool’s dramatic victory against Borussia Dortmund will forever be remembered by everyone who was inside Anfield – including BVB’s brilliant travelling fans – but for Reds’ season-ticket holder Spencer Evans, 40, it turned into a nightmare. In the 65th minute, after Marco Reus made it 3-1, he walked out. “By the time I got to the car it was 3-2,” he told The Times. “When I was 10 yards down the road it was 3-3, and it was 4-3 just as I was going into the Mersey Tunnel. I will regret it for the rest of my life.”