Liverpool’s astonishing comeback against Barcelona was partly inspired by a pre-match drilling of the club’s unsung heroes, the ball-boys from the Anfield academy due to Barcelona’s sluggish means of preparing for dead-ball situations which ultimately proved to be the main root of their downfall.
The results were spectacular, with the quick thinking of 14-year-old Oakley Cannonier on the touchline pivotal as Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered the corner for Divock Origi’s winning goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s first-team analysts gave youngsters from the junior ranks a video presentation on the eve of the second leg, helping maximise the chances of pulling off their historic victory.
Oakley Cannonier did not forget and with eleven minutes to go, he fed Alexander-Arnold while Barcelona’s defence fidgeted amongst themselves 20-yards away.
Such attention to detail was critical to Liverpool’s success as they went on to ultimately win the match which took them to the Champions League Final where they eventually bagged their 6th crown with a 2 nil victory over Tottenham Hotspurs in the final.
The ball boy who helped Reds complete a Champions League victory over mighty Barcelona will remember his role in arguably the most remarkable victory in the club’s entire history
In another Champions League match played in England at the New White Hart Lane last week, a ball boy named Callum Hynes threw the ball back to home team player Serge Aurier who resultantly launched a quick attack which resulted in a goal for Harry Kane.
After the ball left the field of play, the quick-thinking ball boy quickly passed it back to Spurs defender Serge Aurier, whose throw-in found Lucas Moura. The Brazilian duly crossed for Harry Kane to tap in the equalizer.
Tottenham Hotspurs eventually fought back from two goals down to win 4-2 on Tuesday and qualify for the last-16 of the Champions League.
“I love intelligent ball boys like I was. I was a brilliant ball boy as a kid,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“And this kid today was brilliant. He reads the game, understands the game and made an important assist.
“He’s not there just to look to the stands, lights or scarves. He’s living the game and playing it very well.”
Callum Hynes’s heroics have led to Tottenham boss creating a new tradition, where before all home games a ball boy/girl will be invited to have a pre-match meal with the squad.
By Gerald Dandah