Anfield’s special atmosphere is simply unmatchable

Five things we learned last night

Anfield is special

Not that we didn’t know it, but Anfield is a special place on European nights. And this was up there with the best of them as emotion and passion dripped round the old place before kick-off.

With a mutual admiration shared by the supporters, camaraderie had built throughout the day in the city as two like-minded clubs bonded by the managerial figure of Jurgen Klopp came together for an occasion that would not have looked out of place in the last eight of the Champions League.

Rarely can ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ have been sung with such passion before kick-off as supporters at both ends stood in unison.

And with a minute’s silence perfectly observed, bar a welcome burst of spontaneous applause from the Dortmund fans just before its conclusion, to remember the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy on the night before its 27th anniversary, the occasion can hardly have been more poignant.

Incredible victory

Dortmund are a class act — which makes Liverpool’s victory even more incredible.

Last season’s blip in the Bundesliga saw them make it only into the Europa League but right up to the dying minutes last night, they looked a good bet to go on and win it.

Below-par in the drawn first leg, Dortmund looked as though they put this tie out of Liverpool’s reach with two goals inside the first 10 minutes.

Perfectly set up to play on the counter-attack, Liverpool didn’t know what had hit them. Losing the ball so far up the pitch may not have seemed too dangerous but the speed of Dortmund’s attack gave Liverpool no time to get players back as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored to give Liverpool an almost impossible job.

Having comfortably beaten Tottenham, albeit one with its focus on the Premier League title, in the last round, this looked like it would be another case of German superiority with the Premier League still Europe’s poor relations.

But where Liverpool were blown away in the opening minutes, Dortmund couldn’t cope with what hit them in the most memorable of finishes.

Origi looks the real deal

As in Dortmund, the young striker got the nod to start ahead of Daniel Sturridge and justified his selection.

The Belgium international had a tough start to his Anfield career after signing from Lille for £10m in 2014.

He struggled to get much of look-in at the start of the current campaign but Klopp has given him a chance.

And the 20-year-old has grown in confidence as a result. His pace, strength and movement gave Dortmund’s defence a severe examination.

He led Liverpool’s front line impressively and showed the composure to coolly slot home his ninth goal of the season and fourth in three games to launch Liverpool’s remarkable second-half fightback.

Divock Origi, along with Philippe Coutinho, may be one of the players Klopp looks to build his future team around.

Lovren is an Anfield hero — and so is Klopp

Anfield’s special atmosphere is simply unmatchable

Dejan Lovren had a tough time in his first season at Anfield after signing from Southampton for £20m in 2014.

The Croatia international admitted he wasn’t quite aware of what it meant to play for the Anfield club. He does now. His performances have improved to the extent that he is now a first pick at centre-back for the big nights.

He and Mamdous Sakho had their hands full at times last night but both scored. And Lovren’s injury-time winner has guaranteed him as place in Liverpool folklore.

The same can be said of Klopp, lauded by the Anfield faithful at the end and, sportingly, applauded by the Dortmund fans on a night that was near perfect.

Europe at its best

Despite lacking the cache of the Champions League, this was European football at its best.

With second place assured in the Bundesliga, Dortmund were desperate to win the Europa League, while the sub-plot pitted Klopp against his successor Thomas Tuchel.

And against all odds it was Klopp who came out on top against a team he largely built.

Aubameyang has blossomed into one of Europe’s finest strikers, while Klopp would doubtless love to bring Marco Reus over to join him on Merseyside.

Captain Mats Hummels and a couple of others could probably be added to that list, while Manchester United’s supporters must wonder why they let Shinji Kagawa go when he can play like this.

But for all Dortmund’s finesse, the spirit of Klopp’s side was breath-taking and their attempt to retrieve a seemingly hopeless position, from 2-0 and 3-1 down, ultimately made it a glorious night.

Those that saw Liverpool’s Champions League triumph in 2005 thought they had witnessed the greatest fightback of them all. This, thanks to Dejan Lovren’s late winner, and a rocking Anfield pushed it close.

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