Commentary

Liverpool magic: Shades of Istanbul

It was only the Europa League and only the quarterfinals, but Liverpool's comeback from a three-goal deficit in the second half of its second leg against Borussia Dortmund was reminiscent of the Reds' comeback against AC Milan in the final of the 2005 Champions League in Istanbul.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool's first-year manager, was well aware what happened when Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at the have to tie Milan, 3-3, and eventually win on penalty kicks and talked about Istanbul at halftime.

Down 2-0 at home to Dortmund after a 1-1 tie in Germany, the Reds needed to win by three goals to advance. They later trailed 3-1 on the night before winning 4-3 to move into the semifinals. Dejan Lovren's injury-time header clinched the comeback and cap an evening that had included a minute of silence on the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed.

Two goals in the first nine minutes from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seemingly ended the series in Dortmund's favor.

"Very often in football the game is over [at 2-0] but not here, not with this Liverpool team," said Klopp. "That is great to be part of. In the first half of the game, we created a lot of chances, we didn't score and then it was really, really difficult to stay in the game because we are all human beings -- we tried everything but nothing really worked."

Klopp showed his managerial cool, giving his players confidence.

"At halftime, there was a good atmosphere, to be honest," he said, "because I was satisfied with the game -- not with the goals, but with the game in general. "I told the lads, 'I was not there but a few Liverpool players who are a little bit older and work now as experts for television, they were 3-0 down at halftime but won a Champions League final. So even when it's not really likely, it is for sure possible and we should try it.' They did it and made it 2-1. I think even before 2-1, we had a chance and two or three really good moments but didn't score. Then we scored and then everyone could see something happen in the stadium. You could feel it, you could hear, you could smell it."

But soon after Divock Origi reduced the deficit, Marco Reus restored Dortmund's two-goal lead -- and three-goal aggregate advantage thanks to the three away goals.

"Then that was the moment in football -- and in life -- when you have to show character," Klopp said. "That's what the lads did and it was pretty cool to watch."

In succession, Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Lovren scored to set off delirious scenes at Anfield and make Klopp the new king of the Kop.

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