Joel Matip has revealed the inspirational words that roused Liverpool to perhaps their greatest performance in Anfield history.
As the anniversary approaches of that famous night when mighty Barcelona were vanquished in the Champions League semi final a year ago, Joel Matip remembered one sentence from manager Jurgen Klopp that made his team believe.
Klopp insisted they could write a glorious chapter their grandchildren would one day read about.
“He told us we really had a chance, that we really could create something that we could tell our kids about in the future,” Matip recalled.
“We believed. The atmosphere was already crazy when we came into the stadium, even though everybody knew the first-leg result and who we were coming up against.
“The mood was good and it became better and better. It was just crazy. It was like a whole machine working there together – everyone, the players, the fans.”
Klopp’s word produced an energy from the start Matip explained, but it was the crowd that charged the players throughout a miraculous 90 minutes that have gone down in legend.
Few argue it was the greatest ever performance from the Reds – given the power of the opponents and their seemingly impregnable lead – and Matip agrees.
“We were getting more and more speed with the game. With every goal, everybody became greedier – the whole stands, the players on the bench, the players on the pitch, it was crazy. Everyone became quicker, did everything better.
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“On the pitch, it was really, really loud – you had to shout louder on the pitch, but in these kind of moments it wasn’t the worst problem to try to get over!
“Every goal was so important, but to score so early gave us more hope. If they’d kept a clean sheet for a long time, it would be a kind of mood killer, but with this goal we already gained more self-confidence and began to think we could get something.”
Even then, the defender who silenced Suarez and muted Messi admitted he thought victory on the night was possible…but not progress to the final.
“We thought, ‘Let’s win this game’ but we never could have imagined how it would turn out in the end. We knew if we could keep a clean sheet it would be important. But even so, it wasn’t a big opportunity.
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