Cape Town – Jurgen Klopp’s gamble to start Divock Origi upon his return to Dortmund paid off as the 20-year old scored a vital first-leg away goal in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at the Signal Iduna Park.
The home side surprisingly started the tie with some patient build-up play while Jurgen Klopp upon his return to his beloved Borussia Dortmund set the Reds up to contain his former side and break swiftly on the counter.
Belgian forward Divock Origi, who was handed a surprise start by the German, almost took advantage of Dortmund’s high-line in the early stages when Philippe Coutinho set him through but goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller was on hand to clear the danger.
In the 15th minute, Marco Reus had a glorious opportunity to put his side ahead but after James Milner’s poor attempt to clear a Gonzalo Castro freekick landed at the feet of the forward – he failed to capitalise on the chance by shooting wide of Simon Mignolet’s goal.
After a patient period of play from the home side, a quick move opened the Reds defence up. Julian Wiegl quickly found Marcel Schmelzer running down the flank and his low cross looked to have set up Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a certain goal until Mamadou Sakho dived in to block the shot.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was largely anonymous in the opening half hour but sprung into life when his powerful free-kick deflected just wide of the post.
The away side struggled to get their foot on the ball as Die Rotten’s crisp passing and swift movement left them chasing shadows but, totally against the run of play, Origi provided the all important away goal for his side.
Jordan Henderson hoofed a hopeful ball forward as Origi made the very most of it by controlling, taking a touch into the box and firing a low shot across Roman Weidenfeller, as Jurgen Klopp punched the air in delight at his side taking the lead.
Suddenly the away side were full of confidence when Adam Lallana, James Milner and Dejan Lovren all had chanced to double their advantage before the break.
The second half barely started as Matts Hummels drew the home side level with a towering header.
It was a terrible goal for Liverpool to concede as Dortmund took a short corner before Henrikh Mkhitaryan whipped in an inch perfect cross for the central defender, who rose above his marker – who for some reason was Adam Lallana – to power a header home.
Five minutes later the brick wall that is Weidenfeller saved his side again as Liverpool began to take a hold of the game. Coutinho had two bites of the cherry in the box and his second opportunity – a clear cut chance from 15 yards – was saved with one hand by the German international.
While Dortmund started to dominate possession again they weren’t allowed to test Simon Mignolet as much as they would’ve liked to because of the organisation and work-rate of Klopp’s men, but in the 83rd minute there was a moment of panic in the Liverpool box as Marcel Schmelzer’s low cross deflected into space off a Reds defender, though they were able to react quickest to hammer the ball clear.
Both sets of fans sang You’ll Never Walk Alone before kick-off but at the end of the tie it was only those in red singing – in a very disciplined, professional display the unlikely hero Origi gave Klopp and Liverpool the advantage to take to Anfield next week.
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