LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the 4-0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday was “unbelievable” and paid tribute to the belief his players had shown to secure the shock 4-3 aggregate win and a place in the Champions League final.
The German was clearly swept up in the emotion at the end of the game as a delirious Anfield crowd sang the club’s anthem “You’ll never walk alone” with the players lined up in front of the Kop.
“When I saw the boys after the game and saw the tears in their eyes, that’s football and they are professionals and it’s still like this,” said Klopp.
“This club touches you like crazy, it’s like you feel much more than others in these moments. It’s really great, I love it.
“It’s a special night, very special. Winning against Barcelona is obviously one of the most difficult things in the world of football. Winning against Barcelona when you are actually 3-0 down makes it not easier.
“We had to score four goals and (were) not allowed to concede. That made it, again, more difficult. So we didn’t really think about it, to be 100 per cent honest.
“We tried to build on the performance at Barcelona, all the good things we did there, and tried to win the game step by step.
“We have the ball, we attack with whatever we have — they have the ball, we defend with whatever we have. And that made it a really special game. It was really difficult to play against us tonight.”
Liverpool took a seventh minute lead through Divock Origi and then struck twice after the break courtesy of substitute Georginio Wijnaldum before Origi got the crucial fourth goal.
Throughout the match, Liverpool played with pulsating energy and gritty determination, while still being able to carve open a trembling Barcelona defence.
“What the boys did — this mix, again, of big heart and football skills — is unbelievable,” Klopp added.
“But ... we didn’t learn it in the first game, we knew it before already.
“I said to the boys before the game, ‘I don’t think it’s possible but because it’s you I think we have a chance’ — is because they are really mentality giants.
“It’s unbelievable after the season we played, the games we had, the injuries we have now in this moment.”
The German said few would have believed his team could get the result the needed to reach the final, where they will play Ajax Amsterdam or Tottenham Hotspur.
“If you go out there and ask who bet a penny on us, I don’t think you’ll find a lot of people. And then going out there and putting (in) a performance like this on the pitch is unbelievable,” he said.
“I’m really proud to be the manager of this team. What they did tonight is so special and I will remember it forever. I don’t know if it happened before and I don’t know if it can happen again. The boys did it and it was brilliant.”
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Nick Mulvenney