Reds sink Dortmund in dramatic comeback

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Dejan Lovren heads in the winner for Liverpool in their 4-3 Europa League victory over Borussia Dortmund. Pic © David Rawcliffe / Propaganda Photo

Dejan Lovren heads in the winner for Liverpool in their 4-3 Europa League victory over Borussia Dortmund. Pic © David Rawcliffe / Propaganda Photo

On a famous Anfield night that will be talked about for decades, Liverpool completed an incredible comeback with a stoppage time winner to triumph 4-3 against Jurgen Klopp’s former club, Borussia Dortmund, and reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Dejan Lovren’s 91st-minute decisive header sent the home crowd euphoric, after Liverpool looked like they had lost the tie when trailing 2-0 at half-time and then 3-1 later on, following strikes for the visitors by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus.

However, second half goals from Divock Origi, Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Lovren were enough to send the pre-tournament favourites, Dortmund, out of the competition and keep the Reds’ season alive, with dreams of further European glory still possible.

Knowing a 0-0 draw would be enough for Liverpool, the German visitors unsurprisingly came straight out the blocks, with Aubameyang creating the first chance of the game less than two minutes in, but the Gabon striker’s effort went just wide.

Dortmund didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring when their early pressure was rewarded after some intricate play left Mkhitaryan with an open net following Simon Mignolet’s parry. The Reds’ defence appealed frantically for offside, but the goal stood and the early omens were not good.

Four minutes later and most of Anfield was silenced, except the yellow army of fans from Dortmund. A poked through-ball by Reus evaded the lunge of Sakho and Aubameyang was in waiting to fire his shot high into the top right corner of the net to make a bad start turn disastrous for the men in red.

The teams line up for Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. Pic by Matt Crosby © JMU Journalism

The teams line up for Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. Pic by Matt Crosby © JMU Journalism

The early stages of the game continued to pass Liverpool by, with Dortmund in another gear from the start, controlling the tempo and looking fully in control, despite being the away side.

Thomas Tuchel’s team should have had the game dead and buried in the 35th minute, when Reus was again allowed to dissect the Liverpool defence with ease before dragging the ball back to Aubameyang, but he could not direct his outstretched effort on target.

While the Reds offered plenty of hope that they would be able to score in a wide open encounter, the same could be said of Dortmund, who looked comfortable enough at the interval.

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was belted out for the majority of the break, as the Kop faithful tried desperately to spur on their players to yet another – but unlikely – European fairytale story.

The plea was answered by the players, as within two minutes Liverpool had a goal back. Emre Can played in Origi, who made up for earlier misses by coolly slotting the ball under Roman Weidenfeller’s legs, sending the decibel levels at Anfield through the roof.

Liverpool’s immediate joy turned into despair in the 56th minute, though. Mats Hummels found Reus free in space and he took a touch before releasing a pin-point shot past the outstretched Mignolet into the bottom right corner of the net to make it 3-1.

Liverpool players celebrate after their 4-3 Europa League victory over Borussia Dortmund. Pic © David Rawcliffe / Propaganda Photo

Liverpool players celebrate after their 4-3 Europa League victory over Borussia Dortmund. Pic © David Rawcliffe / Propaganda Photo

The Reds refused to give in, however, pulling another goal back through Coutinho in the 65th minute as the Brazilian unleashed a trademark edge of the area shot low into the net to keep this quarter-final second leg still in the balance.

With 77 minutes gone, Liverpool dared to dream again when James Milner’s corner evaded a number of bodies before Sakho headed home to make it 3-3 on the night, with Klopp’s men needing one more goal to go through.

The clock was running down in the first of four added minutes when the sensational winner finally arrived at the Kop end. Lovren nodded in James Milner’s hanging cross to put the seal on another remarkable European fightback for Liverpool, booking their place in Friday’s semi-final draw in the process with a 5-4 aggregate scoreline.

About Matt Crosby, JMU Journalism