Liverpool's Comeback

May 8, 2019 • #

I didn’t get to watch the match live yesterday, but Liverpool’s 4-0 trouncing of Barcelona at Anfield in the second leg of the Champions League semi might be the biggest (most improbable) win I’ve seen. Goals from Origi at 7’ and 79’, Wijnaldum at 54’ and 56’, and a nerve-rattling final 10 minutes put the Reds over the top:

Coincidentally I ran across this piece from Ryan O’Hanlon earlier in the day that broke down Liverpool’s odds of a win thusly:

Liverpool, almost definitely, will not be playing in the Champions League final. Sure, they might beat Barcelona today. In fact, they probably will. FiveThirtyEight gives them a 49-percent chance of winning, while the implied betting odds on a win for the Reds are 41 percent. Liverpool are one of the best teams in the world, they’re playing at home, and so they’re favorites – even with Lionel Messi on the other side.

Messi’s, of course, the reason why a Liverpool win will get washed away by the aggregate scoreline. After Barcelona’s 3-0 win in Spain last week, Liverpool’s odds of advancing are five percent by the models and eight percent by the betting markets. The former is not even taking into account the fact Liverpool will be without Naby Keita, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah against Barca. They need to score at least three goals to have a chance of advancing … and they’ll be without two of their top three attackers and their most proficient midfielder on the attacking end. Oh, and they have to score all of those goals without conceding any. One Barcelona goal, and they’ll need five; two, and they’ll need six.

5% odds of advancing to the final, and they did it. All that would’ve had to happen was a single Messi or Suárez dagger in the final seconds to finish them, but they powered through.