The precious front three –Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino– along with Virgil van Dijk netted as Liverpool FC went past Porto to qualify for the semi-final of UEFA Champions League.
Around 14 months ago, Liverpool enjoyed a 5-0 rout at Estádio do Dragão. Even though it was not a repeat of the same, Juergen Klopp's side progressed further without any fuss on an aggregate of 6-1.
In the first half of the second leg on Wednesday night, Mane scored in the 26th minute but for the rest of the half, Porto managed to keep the Reds at the bay.
However, once the second half's whistle blew, Klopp's men got on with the job. Salah scored Liverpool's second from an excellent counter-attack before Brazilian defender Eder Militao pulled one back for Porto. Liverpool regained the lead via headers from Firmino (77th minute) and van Dijk (84th minute).
A victory in the quarter-final meant, Liverpool has set-up a semi-final against Lionel Messi's FC Barcelona, a clash that promises fireworks. Going back to their history, Barca and Liverpool first came face to face on the international platform when they were not big names in European football.
Their maiden meeting took place at Nou Camp, 43 years ago in the first leg of UEFA Cup's semi-final. More than four decades have passed, both the sides have made a mark for themselves in the European tournament, having won five Champions League trophies each.
Over the years, Barca and Liverpool have locked horns only eight times and interestingly, the Reds have edged these Spanish giants three times, drew thrice and lost twice to the Spanish outfit.
The last time Liverpool and Barca played each other, the Catalans still had the likes of Ronaldhino and Deco, while Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard were teammates at the Reds.
However, there is just one player from that game who will feature in the upcoming clash at Nou Camp on May 1, Lionel Messi.
In Barca's second leg of quarters against Manchester United, Messi yet again ruled the pitch as he netted a brace before Barca blew away the tourists 4-0 on the aggregate. Even Klopp has admitted that he realises what Messi was capable of doing if not stopped.
The German manager, who has never played Barcelona in a proper match, said he is looking forward to the game and also joked about Messi.
"Thank God I have a few more nights to think about it, because I think everybody tried it so far [stopping Messi] and nobody can do it," said Klopp in a press conference.
Ahead of the big night at Nou Camp next month, let's look at five thrilling contests Liverpool and Barcelona have been part of:
UEFA Cup 2001: Barcelona vs Liverpool (SF, Leg 1)
Coming face to face in the European tournament after as many as 25 years, Liverpool visited Nou Camp for the first leg of the semi-final. Barca, comprising of Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Patrick Kluivert and Rivaldo, was held 0-0 by the Reds.
The team that produced the closest chance for a goal was Liverpool when Robbie Fowler attempted a header over from Steven Gerrard's back-post cross. Gerard Houllier's side displayed some exceptional and organised defensive play in that leg.
UEFA Cup 2001: Liverpool vs Barcelona (SF, Leg 2)
After a clinical and disciplined performance in Barcelona, the Reds hosted their opponents at Anfield for the crucial second leg on April 19. Liverpool rode on Gary McAllister's first-half penalty before Houllier's boys held on with the lead until the final whistle.
With a narrow 1-0 win over Barcelona, Liverpool sealed their place in the final, which was played in Dortmund.
The Reds clinched their third UEFA Cup title as they defeated Alaves 5-4 at the Westfalenstadion in a dramatic finale.
Champions League 2001: Liverpool vs Barcelona (Group stage)
Following Liverpool's victory over these opponents in the UEFA Cup, the two sides later in the year met again and this time it was in the second phase of the group stages in the Champions League's following season 2001-02.
The result was nowhere close to what had happened in their previous meeting because this time around, Barca outplayed the hosts in every possible way. They clinched a superb 3-1 victory on November 20.
The hosts started off well, as Michael Owen gave them the lead, but Kluivert and Fabio Rochemback's excellent goals put Barcelona ahead before Marc Overmars added a late third.
Champions League 2002: Barcelona vs Liverpool (Group stage)
Liverpool kept their hopes alive of progressing to the knockout stages when they held their Group leaders Barca at 0-0 draw in the second group stage.
With Galatasaray drawing with Roma in the other Group B game, Liverpool could reach the last eight if they beat the Italian champions at Anfield by two clear goals.
At Nou Camp, Liverpool curbed Barcelona's passing strategy and rarely allowed their strikers to have the ball. The Reds themselves had a few chances but they severely missed injured, Michael Owen.
In fact, during the final stages, the home side began to play their A-game and Liverpool turned out to be lucky that the shots from Philippe Christanval and the rebound from Phillip Cocu did not go into the net.
Champions League 2007: Liverpool vs Barcelona (R16)
Rafa Benitez's Liverpool supremely dominated when they visited Nou Camp in the first leg of Round of 16. When the first whistle went off, it was Deco who put hosts Barca 1-0 up after 14 minutes.
Just before the break, an error from Victor Valdes gifted Liverpool an equaliser, courtesy of Crag Bellamy before the Welshman assisted the winner off John Arne Riise's feet. A relieved Liverpool returned home with two away goals.
Prior to the second left in the Merseyside, the talk of the town was then teenage genius Messi, who was going to making his maiden appearance at Anfield.
However, the memory from that game was the way Benitez's men had ensured Barca's array of attackers – Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi – were hardly involved.
As Barca players were forced to keep quiet for much of the contest, the first half ended goal-less. Seven minutes after the break, Ronaldhino charged up, escaped three defenders and Anfield held their nerves. Unfortunate for the away players, he ended up hitting the goal post.
However, Eidur Gudjohnsen’s late strike in the 75th minute followed with a nervy finish to the match, which Barca won 1-0. However, on the cruel away-goal rule, Liverpool progressed to the quarter-finals.
The two teams will meet next on May 2nd and 8th in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
(Featured Image: FB)
About the Author
More than a sport, sportspersons have kept her engaged in work. She is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy". She tweets @sakshi2929.