Origi earns Liverpool a share of the spoils in El Kloppico
Brace selection from Reds boss pays off as Liverpool earn a draw with his former club Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund 1 Liverpool 1
A first-half goal from Divock Origi allowed Liverpool to leave Dortmund with a share of the spoils in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.
The sides reconvene at Anfield next Thursday and the Reds will fancy their chances of reaching the last four thanks to the crucial away goal.
Matt Hummels levelled for Dortmund three minutes into the second-half, the Germany international heading home Henrikh Mkhitaryan's corner, but there was no doubt which side finished the night the happier.
"I'm pretty sure a lot of people thought we would lose two, three or 4-0," said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. "Dortmund is a pretty good side and everyone could see that, but we had our moments and we could have won the game."
It was an emotional night for Klopp, who was returning to the club he left at the end of last season, after seven years in charge. He returned to management with Liverpool in October and since then, he's guided the Reds to a League Cup final and the last eight of the Europa League - not a bad return for a side that started the season so poorly.
One of Klopp's strengths is his willingness to spring a surprise in his team selection and he did just that on Thursday, starting with Origi up front instead of Daniel Sturridge.
The England forward has been playing himself back into form since his return from injury, scoring three times in nine matches, but Klopp went with Origi, despite the fact the 20-year-old last found the net on 14 February. His faith was duly rewarded when Origi put Liverpool ahead on 36 minutes, the youngster controlling Jordan Henderson's pass and then sending a low shot past Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal.
Weidenfeller denied Origi a second shortly before the break and he also saved well from Philippe Coutinho in the second-half, although the visitors were forced to soak up a lot of pressure as Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tried their hardest to find the hosts a winner.
"At a big club, you have responsibilities," said Origi. "Everybody tried to help me so I am happy to score. It is a huge boost for us to produce a performance like this. It is promising for the next game."
The only downside for Liverpool, who not only remain unbeaten in the Europa League this season, but have not conceded more than once in any of their matches, was a knee injury to captain Jordan Henderson. "It's really bad news," said Klopp. "He will have a scan tomorrow."
But despite the injury, it was a night the manager won't forget in a hurry. Billed as "El Kloppico", both teams emerged from the tunnel to the strains of You'll Never Walk Alone and Klopp was given a warm ovation by the home fans he had got to know so well during his time in charge.
"It was nice," he said of his reception at the Westfalenstadion. "A lot of people spoke about it but when I came onto the pitch, it was respectful applause and that's nice. That's how it should be."