Joel Matip missed last May’s post-match celebrations after Liverpool’s historic comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League due to a drugs test. But he wasn’t alone.
The Reds defender, who played the full 90 minutes that night, was joined by none other than Lionel Messi in the cubicle after the game.
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona: Five things to know about *that* historic Anfield night…
- Liverpool were 0-3 down after the first leg against Barcelona, mostly thanks to two goals and a all-round masterclass from Lionel Messi.
- Playing without Firmino or Salah due to injuries, Klopp’s men had a mountain to climb.
- But Origi opened the scoring inside 10 minutes before a Gini Wijnaldum brace either side of half-time put them level on aggregate.
- Some quick thinking on a corner by Trent Alexander-Arnold set Origi up for a famous winner with what was his 14th assist of the season.
- Barcelona became the first team in Champions League history to surrender a 3+ goal advantage in a Champions League knockout tie twice.
Liverpool’s comeback against Barcelona was just one many remarkable games in the 2018/19 Champions League season. In fact, it arguably wasn’t even the best comeback in the semi-finals: Spurs scored three times in the second half against Ajax to secure their place in an all English final the following night.
The Reds love a European comeback, though (just ask AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund). But the one against Barcelona is certainly up there with their greatest ever on the continental stage. There were some truly spine-tingling moments throughout the night at Anfield, none more so than the tear-jerking rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ between the players and the fans in front of the Kop.
In fact, Matip highlighted that moment as one of the best of his career. In an interview with 11FREUNDE, he said: “After the game, we lined up arm in arm in front of the Kop and, together with the fans, sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. That was one of the most beautiful moments of my career.”
Of course, Liverpool went on to win the Champions League in Madrid in May with a 2-0 win over Spurs. Matip actually registered an assist in the final, setting up Divock Origi’s late goal which sealed the win.
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Matip’s run-in with Messi
It is common practice for a player from each team to be randomly selected for a drugs test after a game, whether that be in Europe or domestically. Unfortunately for Matip, he was the one chosen to miss out on the wild celebrations after the victory over Barca.
He added: “I didn’t care about anything, singing with the fans was heaven.
“And when I came into the small room, there was a pretty depressed little guy: Lionel Messi. You know each other from the pitch, but you don’t sit around in a small room every day like you’re having a coffee.
“Everyone is celebrating – and I’m sat in a cubicle with Messi.”