LIVERPOOL, England -- Barcelona contrived to throw away a three-goal first-leg lead in the Champions League semifinals for the second season in a row as they were thumped 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Divock Origi's early goal laid the foundation for another famous European night on Merseyside as Liverpool fought back from last week's 3-0 loss at Camp Nou to reach a second consecutive Champions League final. Substitute Georginio Wijnaldum added two more after the break to bring the scores level on aggregate before Origi netted an incredible winner in front of the Kop.
There were none.
Where to start?
Barca said they had learned from last year's humiliating defeat to Roma, but this suggested they have learned nothing. One away goal would have effectively ended the tie, but they couldn't muster that despite having a string of first-half chances. Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez all missed.
There were mistakes all over the pitch. Jordi Alba was punished for two errors. Ivan Rakitic was loose with the ball, Sergio Busquets was a shadow of his former self. The truth is, against a Liverpool side that never stopped pressing, they looked like what they are: a team with an aging spine of players now in their 30s. They also froze.
So, the Treble is gone. There could still be a double -- the second in as many years -- but that won't cover up another debacle in Europe. They only just recovered from last year's loss in Rome. This one is going to be even harder to come back from.
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Manager rating out of 10
2 -- Ernesto Valverde got it wrong again. It doesn't happen often but he has an awful habit of erring when it really matters in Europe. The setup was wrong from the start. Barca's success last week came in a 4-4-2 shape when Nelson Semedo came on at right-back. But he reverted to the 4-3-3, which hadn't offered as much joy in the first leg. By the time Semedo came on here, the game was slipping away. They were also crying out for pace when the tie was open. By the time Malcom came on to offer that, the game was gone.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 -- Made a couple of smart saves, including one from Jordan Henderson that preceded Origi's opener and one from a Virgil van Dijk header in the second half. Was let down by the rabble in front of him.
DF Clement Lenglet, 4 -- Like Pique, failed to deal with Origi, who was brought in from the cold to write his name in Liverpool history.
DF Jordi Alba, 3 -- The left-back's performance was tainted by mistakes that led to Liverpool's first two goals. Still managed to set up a Messi chance and almost scored himself, racing forward to draw a fine save from Alisson, but it's the errors that will be remembered.
MF Sergio Busquets, 4 -- There were moments when he looked composed on the ball, but off the ball he was a mess. Poor positioning cost Barca space in midfield as Liverpool roared at them.
MF Arturo Vidal, 5 -- Was one of Barca's best performers (it wasn't hard) but his fight-for-every-ball attitude may have seen him sent off if he wasn't taken off in the second half.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 5 -- Rallied in the first half after Liverpool's opener but lost his way after the break. Gave the ball away too often as Barca failed to grab control of a mad game.
FW Lionel Messi, 5 -- It could have been so different if Barca took one of their first-half chances. Messi had four of them but none of them was clear cut. Also created openings for Coutinho and Alba.
FW Luis Suarez, 5 -- The pantomime villain on his return to Anfield. Spoke about the respect he had for Liverpool fans before the game but they showed him none. His scrapping, diving and protesting earned him chants of "Cheat" and "F--- off, Suarez" from the supporters that used to adore him. Missed a great chance early in the second half.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 4 -- Hooked after an hour on his return to Anfield. Jeered by the home fans as he left the pitch -- just as he was by his own supporters last week at Camp Nou. That sums up his contribution to this tie.
DF Nelson Semedo, 6 -- Finally offered some pace down the right but couldn't turn the tide of the game.
MF Arthur Melo, 6 -- Like Semedo, asked to do an impossible job too late in the day.
FW Malcom, N/R -- Comically thrown on after Liverpool's fourth to try to salvage something.