Liverpool stun Dortmund with miraculous Anfield comeback
Jurgen Klopp's side twice recover from two goals down on another famous European night at Anfield
Liverpool 4 Borussia Dortmund 3 (Liverpool win 5-4 on aggregate)
Three goals in 25 crazy minutes capped an incredible night at Anfield as Liverpool staged a famous comeback to qualify for the semi-finals of the Europa League at the expense of a shellshocked Dortmund.
It was a performance to rank alongside the 'Miracle of Istanbul' and cements Jurgen Klopp's status as a hero of the Kop, just a few months into his reign.
The Germans had appeared to be cruising into the last four at half-time, thanks to two goals in the opening ten minutes from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That gave the visitors a 3-1 aggregate lead going into the break, although Divock Origi offered the Kop hope three minutes after the restart as he toe-poked the ball through the keeper's legs to make it 2-1 on the night.
But Marco Reus looked to have secured Dortmund's passage when he latched on to a Mats Hummels through ball and drove a low angled shot past Simon Mignolet on 57 minutes. But instead of crushing the Reds it proved the catalyst for their most stunning comeback since they they stole the Champions League from AC Milan in 2005.
"When we scored the first goal we felt it was going to be a special moment," exclaimed a breathless Origi after the final whistle. "We can tell our children and grandchildren."
They will be able to recount how Philippe Coutinho got the first of the three goals they required to overhaul the Germans on 66 minutes, the Brazilian playing a one-two before curling a wonderful shot into the bottom corner.
Dortmund were dismayed but not alarmed. But then on 77 minutes Liverpool levelled on the night when Mamadou Sakho bent low and headed Daniel Sturridge's pass past Roman Weidenfeller.
With 13 minutes to go, Dortmund were suddenly anxious. The force was with Liverpool, and the Kop was roaring them on, but could the Germans hold out for the 90 minutes of normal time?
That they managed, but the four minutes of stoppage time was too much. Just one minute into the additional time Dejan Lovren rose above the Dortmund defence and headed home James Milner's cross and Anfield erupted. There was mayhem in the stands as fans, the players and above all Jurgen Klopp, the manager who six months ago left Dortmund for Liverpool, celebrated an astonishing victory.
"It's an amazing feeling," gasped matchwinner Lovren. "We never stopped believing in ourselves. It is a great effort from everyone."
For once the normally erudite Klopp was lost for words, grinning as he told the TV cameras that "my right arm hurts, I don't know why or who hit me".
Asked to account for the magnificent turnaround, the German couldn't. "It is difficult to explain," he said "At half-time it's difficult to stay brave but we agreed that the we had to go the hard way... when we brought Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen on we gave them the message, 'we have to show character.' I don't care if we lose, we have to show them and we did even more. This is European football at its best. It's hard to believe. Congratulations to all of the lads."
But perhaps Klopp best captured the moment when he said simply: "We fought back like devils and it is deserved."