Xherdan Shaqiri is targeting Champions League glory after helping Liverpool to the most memorable of comebacks against Barcelona.
The Swiss star made his first start since January as the Reds produced a monumental effort to defeat the Liga champions 4-0 on a remarkable night at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s side progress to next month’s final in Madrid, where they will meet either Ajax or Tottenham.
Shaqiri has won the Champions League before, with Bayern Munich in 2013, and after Tuesday’s game he spoke of his desire to add another medal to his collection.
“I know what it is like to win this title,” he said. “It is the biggest one there is to win. It is the football stage in Europe, everyone watches you – everyone wants the trophy.
“I want to win it a second time. We are there in the final and I want to win it with Liverpool. After what we did against Barcelona, we all want to win it. But there is a long way to go. It is difficult to speak about the final now as we still have one more Premier League game.”
Shaqiri, like his team-mates, struggled to find the words to describe Liverpool’s fightback against Barca. Trailing 3-0 from last week’s first leg at Camp Nou, Klopp’s team tore into the Catalans. Two goals from Gini Wijnaldum, bookmarked by a brace from Divock Origi, made the impossible possible.
“It is so difficult to explain what happened in the game,” smiled Shaqiri. “Unbelievable! Unbelievable performance, unbelievable atmosphere.
“We knew everyone had written us off because of what happened in the first leg. It was an incredible performance. If you believe – if you believe in life – anything and everything can happen. The fans they pushed us to the end. They wouldn’t let us stop.
“Honestly, it is just belief. I say it, always in life you have to believe that you can achieve special things. Sometimes, you will not get there but we believed in life and we got there.
“We got what we deserved. We scored the first one; we got to half-time and then the second one came straight after. We knew that Barcelona were nervous and when you are in Anfield, anything can happen. What an unbelievable night – maybe the best night there has ever been here.”
The scenes which followed the final whistle against Barcelona will live long in the memory, as Liverpool’s players were serenaded by a jubilant Kop.
Shaqiri, grinning from ear to ear as he left the ground, revealed there had been plenty of emotion in the dressing room afterwards too.
“Crazy!” he said. “Everyone was shocked, like they couldn’t believe it. We were celebrating, some of the guys were crying.
“Me? No! I am just so happy, so happy to have helped. We have achieved something special. The manager didn’t change things a lot. He just told us to perform, to keep going. We knew everything could happen and we are really proud of what we have achieved.”