Win is the only way out of a hopeless situation.
Liverpool’s task seemed unthinkable: pierce the Barcelona defense four times, keep the ball out of its own net and do it all without one of the world’s preeminent goal scorers, Mohamed Salah.
And then it happened. The Reds played 90 minutes of unimaginably polished soccer in front of a frenzied home crowd. They shut out Barcelona and Lionel Messi, 4-0, winning the Champions League semifinal matchup, 4-3 on aggregate. Their offense was intense. Their defense was laudable. And now they will play for a European title against either Tottenham or Ajax.
Barcelona led, 3-0, after the first leg at Camp Nou, with Messi scoring twice, including once on a majestic, bending free kick. On Tuesday, he made a few dangerous runs through swarms of defenders, but was not able to lift his side this time.
“Unbelievable. I don’t think many people gave us a chance,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. “Before the game we knew that it would be difficult, but it was still possible, of course. It’s amazing. We knew that at Anfield we could do something special.”
I’ve always though the fake spike was poor sportsmanship because defenses don’t contest the spike as it is to stop the clock. A defense that plays at full intensity on a spike is liable to hurt an offensive lineman who has also relaxed.
The ball for the corner kick was ready to be in play. In fact, Trent AA was ready to take it quickly, but the defense was ready. So he started to step away to let someone else take it, but he realized the defense had wandered off so stepped back to take it.
It was more like what has happened in basketball games where a team makes a last second shot and assumes the other team will take a time out only to be surprised when no time out is called and give up a layup to a quick inbounds pass and sprinting the length of the floor in a few seconds.