Dejan Lovren's stoppage time strike helps Liverpool into history
Defender Dejan Lovren's stoppage time strike ensures German manager Jurgen's Liverpool rally to 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund and enter Europa League semis for the first time since 2010
Liverpool: Dejan Lovren scored a heart-stopping stoppage-time header as Liverpool completed an astonishing comeback to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on Thursday and reach the Europa League semi-finals.
Dortmund scored twice in nine minutes through Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to take a firm grip on the tie.
91st minute: Liverpool’s Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (third from left) rises above the rest to head in the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund during their UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg clash at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on Thursday. Pic/AFP
After Divock Origi had given Liverpool a foothold, Marco Reus struck again for the visitors, but goals from Philippe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho levelled the tie before Lovren headed home in the 91st minute to give former Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp the biggest win of his Anfield tenure.
'Tough to explain'
“It's difficult to explain. A wonderful night at Anfield and to be honest the game was strange. Congratulations to all the lads. It's a game that all fans — even not of Liverpool or Dortmund — can say, 'OK, football is a nice game',” Klopp told BT Sport. The win took Liverpool into a continental semi-final for the first time since 2010 and kept Klopp on course for a trophy in his first season. His successor at Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel, could only look on in disbelief at the final whistle as the 5-4 aggregate scoreline condemned his side to defeat. “I can't explain. I could explain something logical. That wasn't logical,” said Tuchel
Kick-off was preceded by a a minute's silence to mark the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
An early Aubameyang effort that curled wide gave Klopp's side a warning and when the ball next found its way into the hosts' box, after a Liverpool attack broke down high on the left flank, there was no reprieve. Gonzalo Castro's cross picked out Aubameyang and although his close-range volley was alertly parried by Simon Mignolet, Mkhitaryan tucked in the rebound.
Sakho had played both Dortmund attackers on-side and he was also at fault for the second goal as Aubameyang ran in behind him to collect Reus' delicate pass and slam a shot into the top-right corner.
Liverpool needed an early goal in the second half and got it in the 48th minute. Emre Can exchanged passes with first James Milner and then Firmino before releasing Origi to prod his fourth goal in three games. But Dortmund accelerated again, Mats Hummels taking Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne out of the game with an exquisite pass and Reus nervelessly beating Mignolet. Coutinho reduced the arrears again with a low strike into the bottom-right corner before Sakho atoned for his earlier misdemeanours by bludgeoning a header off Coutinho's corner.
It set up a breathless climax that culminated in Croatian centre-back Lovren climbing at the back post to nod in Milner's cross from the right and seal an unforgettable Anfield night.
Meanwhile, Sevilla beat Athletic Bilbao on penalties to join to join Liverpool, Shakhtar Donetsk and Villarreal in the semi-finals to be played on April 28 and May 5, with the final on May 18.