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Ainfield soccer miracle! Liverpool come back from the brink with last-gasp goal capping miracle night as Reds rally to reach last four

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Liverpool 4-3 Borussia Dortmund (5-4 agg)

‘Liverpool come back from the brink with last-gasp goal  to beat Borussia Dortmund as Reds rally to reach last four’

  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Borussia Dortmund a dream start by drilling home from close range after five minutes

  • Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang doubled the lead after nine minutes with a clinical finish in the penalty area 

  • Divock Origi pulled a goal back for Liverpool three minutes into the second half with a composed strike 

  • A stunning Marco Reus goal looked to have killed the tie before Philippe Coutinho scored another for Liverpool

  • Mamadou Sakho headed home from close range on 77 minutes and suddenly, Liverpool were only a goal away 

  • Dejan Lovren had the final say, rising highest to head home at the back post in the 91st minute 

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MARTIN SAMUEL AT ANFIELD: A stoppage time header from Dejan Lovren hauled Liverpool into the semi-final of the Europa League as Jurgen Klopp’s side somehow fought back from a first half onslaught by Borussia Dortmund. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang scored in the first 10 minutes to leave Anfield stunned. Divock Origi pulled one back in the second half before Marco Reus pulled the tie in Dortmund’s favour again.  But Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren somehow got Liverpool through in one of Anfield’s most phenomenal European nights.
Spirit. Passion. Will. Longing. Sometimes raw emotion is enough, after all. Borussia Dortmund had the class, but Liverpool had something more. Something indefinable. Something that cannot be taught in coaching manuals, or captured in replays or revealed by reams of statistical analysis.
Something that lifted them beyond. Something that propelled them towards the realms of the fantastic. They were beaten.
They were done. And then they were not. Somehow, they returned from the beyond. Call it the spirit of Istanbul. Call it whatever you may, for nothing quite compares. This wasn’t even about Jurgen Klopp. This was about Liverpool: a club who never know when a cause is lost, and certainly not in Europe. 3330c2ac00000578-3540569-image-a-125_1460667707118Dejan Lovren (right) celebrates scoring the winning goal for Liverpool in an epic encounter against Borussia Dortmund3330c6bd00000578-3540569-image-a-127_1460668006400Lovren jumped highest to meet a delivery into the penalty area to head home in the 91st minute at the Kop end at Anfield3330d88e00000578-3540569-image-a-148_1460669635304Lovren’s goal sparked phenomenal scenes inside Anfield as Liverpool somehow found a way back against Dortmund3330cf2a00000578-3540569-image-a-136_1460668401603The full-time whistle sparked jubilant scenes from the Liverpool team, with Jurgen Klopp celebrating with match-winner Lovren3330db3600000578-3540569-image-a-144_1460669070823Liverpool shake hands with the Dortmund players after somehow finding a way to win the quarter-final against the German side3330d61600000578-3540569-image-a-149_1460669664178The Liverpool players acknowledge the support from the Kop with the victory and a place in the semi-final secured3330e4d700000578-3540569-image-a-145_1460669477989Mamadou Sakho (left) and Lovren, Liverpool’s final two scorers to get them over the line, celebrate victory at Anfield3330d88a00000578-3540569-image-a-151_1460669688387Sakho and Origi pose for a selfie on the pitch at Anfield after Liverpool advance into the semi-final of the Europa League

They needed three goals. Not once in the game, as in Istanbul, but twice. They needed three goals after Dortmund had taken a 2-0 lead after nine minutes, and again when the score moved to 3-1 against them on 57 minutes. They needed three goals in little more than half an hour against one of the greatest sides in Europe.
And, yet, by sheer determination, they triumphed. Quite how, who knows? Divine intervention, an unexpected frailty in that mighty yellow wall, the inspiration of Anfield in full voice, simply having nothing left to lose? A sprinkling of it all, one imagines.
Every time they edged nearer the holy grail of 4-3, the decibel level went up. Yet, surely, deep down, no one thought it possible. Not even those who witnessed a miracle in 2005. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that could never be repeated.
Could it? Yes, it could. The bald facts are that in the first minute of injury time, scores tied at 3-3, James Milner hit a deep cross that Dejan Lovren headed in at the far post. What took Liverpool to that place, however, is harder to explain.
Dortmund are a superb side. In the opening 10 minutes they had rocked Anfield to the foundations with the audacity of their play. Yet Liverpool destroyed them. Not beautifully, not by matching Dortmund’s at times gorgeous technique. Liverpool have good players, of course, but this was about a more elusive quality — an X factor.
It is a hoary old cliche but Liverpool just wanted it more. They wanted it so much it hurt. For by the end, from the effort alone, it must have hurt.
Why? Because Liverpool didn’t beat fools or flukes or mugs. For long periods Dortmund demonstrated a level of ability that would probably win our Premier League. Their first-half display was close to a masterclass. So wearing them down was an extraordinary task. 3330492000000578-0-image-a-82_1460661572291Henrikh Mkhitaryan converted from close range to give Dortmund a perfect start after only five minutes of the match at Anfield33304b5400000578-0-image-a-84_1460661751650Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel turns to celebrate in the direction of the club’s away support after taking the lead against Liverpool 3330535300000578-0-image-a-86_1460662163195Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang fired ruthlessly beyond Mignolet in the ninth minute as Dortmund produced an early blitz against Liverpool 33305ba100000578-0-striker_aubameyang_celebrated_his_goal_which_cemented_dortmund_s-a-95_1460662696077Striker Aubameyang celebrated his goal, which cemented Dortmund’s advantage in the tie, with his trademark acrobatics 3330929a00000578-3540569-image-a-154_1460669739533A stunned Emre Can reflects on Liverpool falling behind so quickly as the Dortmund fans behind him celebrate wildly

MATCH FACTS FROM ANFIELD

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Lallana (Allen, 62), Milner, Can (Lucas, 81), Coutinho, Firmino (Sturridge, 62), Origi.

Subs not used: Ward, Skrtel, Smith, Ojo.

Goals: Origi 48, Coutinho 66, Sakho, 77, Lovren, 91.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Papastathopoulos, Hummels, Schmelzer, Mkhitaryan, Castro (Ramos, 82), Weigl, Reus (Gundogan, 82), Kagawa, Aubameyang.

Subs not used: Burki, Bender, Sahin, Pulisic, Ginter.

Goals: Mkhitaryan 5, Aubameyang 9, Reus 57.

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir

It is hard to imagine Liverpool will play better in Klopp’s first year in charge. Indeed, it is hard to imagine any English team will hit a similar height this season. There hasn’t been a comeback like this in years: coming up to 11 of them, to be precise.

The opening nine minutes puts Liverpool’s achievement into relief. At the end of that brief spell, they were so far adrift the contest looked as good as over.
Liverpool created chances and missed them, had lots of possession and failed to capitalise on it, threatened without ever convincing they could level the scores.
Dortmund, by contrast, were hugely impressive. They played the game Klopp’s Liverpool achieve in their dreams. Fast, high-pressing, but with real, technical excellence.
If the plan of coach Thomas Tuchel was to surprise Liverpool with the ferocity of attack, it worked. Liverpool seemed stunned, this being the traditional gameplan of the underdogs.
Instead, it was Dortmund who seized the initiative. They are a true counter-attacking team and Liverpool played into their hands.
Philippe Coutinho was at fault, giving the ball away on the left flank. Dortmund came back instantly through Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
He sped down the flank and found Shinji Kagawa, who played the ball to Gonzalo Castro. His chip picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose shot was well stopped by Simon Mignolet only to fly out to Mkhitaryan, who had continued his run into the box. He finished smartly. Now Liverpool had to score.
The message would have gone out, don’t concede a second. Oh my. Marco Reus hustled in midfield, won the ball, played a wonderful pass into the box and Aubameyang did the rest.
His shot left Mignolet utterly defeated. Anfield stood, stunned. There had been super-human efforts in European competition before, but Steven Gerrard is an ocean away now. At that point, Dortmund were rampant. The scoreline really could have been anything from there. 333056e600000578-0-image-a-89_1460662481963Liverpool boss Klopp tries desperately to cajole his side into a reaction after Dortmund’s blistering start stunned Anfield3330572e00000578-0-image-a-92_1460662517065Divock Origi, starting in attack ahead of Daniel Sturridge, had an effort deflected away as he tired to haul Liverpool back into the tie33307dd200000578-3540569-image-a-96_1460664614563Liverpool’s dejected players trudge off the pitch at half-time, knowing three goals are needed to advance in the Europa League

Origi (right) gave Liverpool hope with a composed finish early in the second half, threading the ball under goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller 

33308e4600000578-3540569-image-a-101_1460665170855

Origi’s fourth goal in three games galvanised the support from the home fans in Anfield as Liverpool looked to get back in the tie 333098bc00000578-3540569-image-m-158_1460669820902

Origi grabbed the ball out of the night and encouraged more noise from the Liverpool fans after scoring in the second half33308e1600000578-3540569-image-a-102_1460665228537

EUOPA LEAGUE SEMI-FINALISTS

Liverpool
Sevilla
Shakhtar Donetsk
Villarreal

The draw will take place in Nyon at 11.30

So it is to Liverpool’s credit that they kept the hope alive. They had chances, through Divock Origi, Robert Firmino and Coutinho.
And then, almost immediately after half-time, a real glimmer of hope. Milner and Emre Can combined to put Origi away, and the man who is increasingly becoming Klopp’s first pick as striker took his chance perfectly, accelerating from a chasing pack before finishing smartly past goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Marco Reus  quietened the atmosphere by rifling brilliantly past Mignolet 11 minutes after Origi struck Liverpool’s firs
Nine minutes later, Dortmund delivered what looked to be the coup de grace. It was captain Mats Hummels who set it up with a beautifully weighted ball to Reus, helpfully played onside by Mamadou Sakho, who was slow to spot the danger again.
Mignolet came haring out but the damage was done, Reus tucking the ball away and, with it, Liverpool’s hopes. They were back to needing three. It was mission impossible.
That they refused to give up even then was as much testament to the Kop as to Klopp. With the anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy hours away, emotion was high at Anfield. The atmosphere before the game was immense, intense yet also quite beautiful. 333091e800000578-3540569-image-m-106_1460665983055Marco Reus (right) quietened the atmosphere by rifling brilliantly past Mignolet 11 minutes after Origi struck Liverpool’s first3330a0dc00000578-3540569-image-a-107_1460666123053

Reus and Aubameyang celebrate as the momentum fell back to Dortmund following a merciless finish from the German international 33309e0800000578-3540569-image-a-109_1460666202899
Coutinho once again tries to get Liverpool fans to make more noise as the side chase another two goals to advancePrint
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And Mamadou Sakho headed in after 77 minutes to leave Liverpool only a goal away from going ahead in the quarter-final tie3330b02a00000578-3540569-image-a-114_1460666859257

It was the longest rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone that many had heard, Gerry and the Pacemakers slowly fading out, to allow the stadium to take over.
By the time the Kop had finished singing, the lady from the German radio station in the seat next to me was in tears. It was truly moving, truly powerful. And that mood continued throughout. They didn’t give up for them; and they wouldn’t give up on this team either.
Anfield’s determination to believe knows no bounds on nights like this, and Klopp is a perfect leader. Together they lit flames of incredible resistance. It was Coutinho who scored the second of the night, capitalising on a clever one-two and finishing with a curling shot as sweetly targeted as Kevin De Bruyne’s winner against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
Still, the gap was two goals. Incredibly, with 12 minutes remaining, Liverpool levelled the match. While Can went down for treatment, Hummels took the opportunity to deliver a ship-steadying team talk to his Dortmund team-mates.
He must have a touch of the David Brents, though, because from the restart Liverpool scored. Daniel Sturridge flicked on the corner at the near post, Sakho planted his header from four yards at the far post. Klopp, on the touchline, went doolally. He should have saved himself for the final wonder, 13 minutes later.
When it happened, when the Kop somehow sucked the fourth of the night in with their mighty lungs, the noise was incredible, almost dizzying. It felt surreal, like a vision, or a dream. It wasn’t a dream. They did it. They really did it.
And when everyone returns to earth they will make the pragmatic realisation they are now three games off the Champions League, too. Are you watching, Manchester? Of course they are; we all are. In wonder and, yes, disbelief.3330eb9300000578-3540569-image-a-164_1460670066898Central defender Lovren (centre) had the last say, heading in strongly at the back post to send Liverpool into the last four3330411a00000578-0-image-a-79_1460661028886The Kop pays tribute to the 96 supporters who died at Hillsbrough on the eve of the 27th anniversary of the disaster33303a1900000578-0-image-a-75_1460660787987The Dortmund supporters were in fine voice before kick-off against Liverpool at Anfield in the second leg of the Europa League clash333033d600000578-0-image-a-73_1460660680351The Liverpool team bus inches its way between crowds of supporters as the atmosphere intensified as kick-off approahced33301b2000000578-0-image-a-78_1460660837225Flares were lit, banners were held aloft and songs were sung by supporters as the Liverpool team arrived at Anfield for the quarter-final

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