Liverpool may have form when it comes to miraculous comebacks, but nobody, Jurgen Klopp included, seemed to believe they had a chance against Barcelona after being taught a football lesson in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown.
But to the delight of neutrals and Liverpool supporters – and to the dismay of Manchester United fans and anyone who sits near a Liverpool fan at work – the Reds climbed the mountain and sent Barca packing.
There are thousands of cliches dedicated to the importance of keeping on going when you’re getting your arse kicked, but it’s very rare that it’s actually worth bothering to do so – so rare that these great escapes live long in the memory.
So, apart from taming Lionel Messi and Co. at Anfield, what are the greatest examples of defying the odds?
Liverpool v AC Milan – Football
It’s not a round-up of great comebacks without mention of a certain night in Istanbul in 2005, so let’s get this one out of the way.
Liverpool’s players were famously pepped up at half-time by the sound of Milan’s players singing celebratory songs having raced into a 3-0 lead.
But Gerrard, Smicer and Alonso levelled the tie in a six-minute rampage before Liverpool saw off the shell-shocked Rossoneri on penalties.
As if losing a three-goal lead in a final wasn’t bad enough, Jerzy Dudek’s impression of Bruce Grobbelaar’s spaghetti legs reduced the Milan penalty takers to empty husks of men and by the time Andriy Shevchenko took the final spot-kick he had visibly aged 30 years.
Neutral fans across the country united in admiring Liverpool’s achievement and in solidarity with each other as they prepared to never hear the end of it. That is, until now.
Dennis Taylor-Steve Davis – Snooker
Snooker can be a brutal sport to lose at. Nothing quite matches the agony of having to sit dressed like a waiter at a wedding while your opponent takes an age to punish you for one slight lapse of concentration.
So you can only imagine that losing the first eight frames of the World Snooker Championship final in 1985 to steady (slow) Steve Davis must have been miserable for Dennis Taylor, who was looking to upset the odds and win his first title.
However, the game turned as Davis made an uncharacteristic slip when he should’ve made it 9-0 and Taylor clawed his way back.
As any movie would tell you, it went to a deciding frame and a black ball finish after an eye-watering 14 hours of play and that final frame alone lasted 68 minutes – longer than you’d book a table for at Riley’s.
Davis seemed to have regained the upper hand and was in prime position to clip the black in but misjudged it, leading to the unforgettable, minimalist commentary, ‘No!’, from the great Ted Lowe who couldn’t contain his shock.
Taylor held his nerve and celebrated by with a famous finger wagging celebration that must have made even the placid Davis want to smash him over the head with his cue.
Europe v US – Ryder Cup – Golf
For many casual golf fans, the Ryder Cup is the closest the sport gets to something they can get into thanks to its petty rivalries, subtle attempts to distract opponents and open America bashing.
And the so-called Miracle of Medinah will live long in the memories of people who like to see smug Americans get their comeuppance.
US teams are rarely short of confidence and when they found themselves 10-6 up, they were reaching seismic levels of smugness. But Europe battled back, making the course look like a Crazy Golf round on a stag-do, capped off by Martin Kaymer’s final hole putt to beat Steve Stricker.
Tiger Woods took a lot of the flak in the US press, while some media outlets in America chose not to even feature the Ryder Cup at all, not that Americans are bad losers or anything like that.
New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons – American Football
The New England Patriots are the Ferguson-era Manchester United of the NFL – you either support them or despise them, so their heroic comeback in Super Bowl 51 was completely unbelievable but also absolutely typical.
During the third quarter, New England were 25 points behind but managed to fight back to tie the game 28-28 and win it in overtime thanks to a masterclass from quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.
Belichick insists he did nothing out of the ordinary in his half-time team talk, so we have to assume that it was something Lady Gaga said during the half-time show that inspired the Patriots.
Social media was a no-go zone for Falcons fans for some time after the confetti stopped falling with rivals New Orleans Saints delivering an exhibition of Schadenfreude at the start of the next season with banners referencing the 28-3 lead that the Falcons had blown and even a plane (probably on loan from Arsenal fans) flying around the stadium displaying the score.
Tara Moore-Jessika Ponchet – Tennis
The International Tennis Federation World Tour event in Sunderland last April wasn’t exactly front page news, even in the local newspapers, but one match did manage to make worldwide headlines.
World number 479 Tara Moore was trailing 0-6, 0-5 and faced match point at 30-40 before staging an incredible comeback to beat third seed Jessika Ponchet 0-6, 7-6, 6-3.
As if that in itself wasn’t enough, at match point down Moore’s smash clipped the net and looked to be heading out before catching the line just as Ponchet was getting ready to offer an apologetic handshake.
Moore produced the legendary response on Twitter of ‘Never in doubt’ while we can only assume that Ponchet has has nightmares about it ever since.
We can assume that both players also were paid a friendly visit by tennis’ anti-match fixing unit pretty soon after the match ended, but who on earth would stage something that stupid?