May 7, 2019, is a date that will forever be etched on the memory of every Liverpool supporter.
The Reds have produced a handful of extraordinary comebacks over the past 20 years, but their 4-0 victory over Barcelona ranks alongside the most remarkable.
Beaten 3-0 at Camp Nou, Jurgen Klopp’s side faced a mountain to climb in order to reach the 2018-19 Champions League final.
While most expected it *would* be a different story back at Anfield, where big European nights are always incredibly special occasions, very few people envisaged Lionel Messi and co. failing to score.
But Liverpool, spurred on by their supporters on an electric night in Merseyside, managed to thwart the Catalan giants while scoring four goals in the process.
The last of those four goals, scored by Divock Origi, will be remembered as one of the most famous goals in Liverpool’s history.
We’ve all heard the words “Corner taken quickly… Origi!” on countless occasions over the past two years, accompanied by the footage of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s clever set-piece.
Oakley Cannonier – Liverpool’s hero ball boy
However, Alexander-Arnold was able to take his corner quickly thanks to the equally quick-thinking of ball boy Oakley Cannonier.
Aged 14 at the time, Oakley immediately threw another ball to Alexander-Arnold as Liverpool pushed in search of a fourth goal.
Liverpool spotted tactical flaw with Barcelona
It later transpired, per The Independent, that Liverpool’s match analysts had noticed during the first leg that Barcelona’s players moaned and became frustrated whenever they conceded a free-kick or a throw-in.
Even if the decision was correct, the players would still protest.
Klopp subsequently sent a message through the club to Carl Lancaster, a coaching mentor at the club’s Kirkby academy.
Among Lancaster’s responsibilities was the co-ordination of ball boys. He instructed the lads to return the football as quickly as possible during the second leg and the rest, as they say, is history.
Even Jose Mourinho praised him
Oakley earned widespread praise from fans and pundits alike. Even Jose Mourinho said: “You want a quick throw-in, the ball boy needs to know that you want a quick throw-in. The ball needs to arrive fast. The goal-kicks, the tempo of the game, the ball boys can also play a part in a good structure.
“I was a ball boy, a top ball boy… when I was a ball boy, I even knew where the players wanted the ball for a corner, so they didn’t need to touch the ball.
“A real football club, every detail is very, very important. In this game, the kid, very intelligent, very bright.
“I don’t know if he is an academy player or not, but the kid knew what he was going to do.”
What happened to Oakley Cannonier?
The teenager went on to make headlines two months later by scoring his first goal for Liverpool’s Under-18s against Burton Albion.
And in December 2020, a clip showing the former ball boy producing an excellent finish against Burnley received attention on social media.
The lad looks a talent, doesn’t he?
While it’s obviously extremely early days, it seems there’s a chance *that* night against Barcelona isn’t the only thing Oakley Cannonier is eventually remembered for by Liverpool fans.