Liverpool put in a performance for the ages on Tuesday, overwhelming Barcelona on route to a four to nil victory and a place in the Champions League final just two days after a tough and draining victory over Newcastle that in turn came just two days after the first leg.
For the players, at the end of it, there was well earned jubilation; an earned catharsis. And more than a little physical pain to go with it. It’s been a long, gruelling season, and this past week especially so. Now, at the very least, there is a spot in the final to show for it all.
“I was struggling a little bit,” admitted Jordan Henderson after a match that had seen the captain, like many of his teammates, put in what might have been his best performance in a Liverpool shirt—while playing through a knee injury that required painkilling injections.
“I got a whack on the knee,” he said of a first half incident that almost forced his removal. “It was dead. The doctor said just keep it moving. I managed to get to half time and I had a bit of treatment, took painkillers, all that stuff. There was a jab and tablets. Both. Everything.
“I said, ‘Just give us everything.’ So I managed to get through it and the crowd helped as well and helped to keep us all going. It was unbelievable. From start to finish I thought the lads were all amazing. The atmosphere was amazing. It was just unbelievable.”
Amazing. Unbelievable. Historic, even. And well and truly earned, by Henderson and every one of his Liverpool teammates and everyone in the Anfield crowd on Tuesday evening who all did their small bit to help propel the team to their almost unimaginable comeback.
“I think we proved quite a few people wrong tonight,” Henderson added. “We showed that if you never give up and you keep trying you can produce special things. No matter what happens, you keep fighting right until the end until the final whistle goes.”