On Wednesday night, Liverpool suffered a 4-2 defeat at Roma in the Champions League semi-final second leg but won the tie 7-6 on aggregate due to their first leg 5-2 win at Anfield.
The visitors enjoyed a dream start taking the lead in just nine minutes. Radja Nainggolan played a short pass that Roberto Firmino latched onto before finding Sadio Mane, who advanced on goal and fired into the far corner of the net.
The lead on the night did not last long, as the Giallorossi were level on 15 minutes. Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren’s attempted clearance hit James Milner on the head and the ball rebounded past Loris Karius in the Reds goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side was back in front on the night, as Georginio Wijnaldum was played onside by slack Roma defending and the Dutch international headed home past Allison. Roma winger Stephan El Shaarawy saw a shot on goal deflect off the post before Firmino had an effort blocked at the other end of the pitch.
The Giallorossi equalised on the night on 52 minutes. Karius spilt El Shaarawy’s effort allowing Edin Dzeko a simple finish. Soon afterwards the home side saw a penalty claim turned down. Dzeko went through on goal and Karius brought the Bosnian striker down in the area. However, the referee’s assistant flagged for offside. Replays showed that the former Manchester City striker was in fact level with his marker. The moment was pivotal in the tie, as Karius would have also seen red for the challenge.
The home side was then denied another penalty, as El Shaarawy’s effort looked to have hot Reds youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold on the arm. Liverpool’s defence went deeper and Dzeko fired over Karius bar in quick succession.
The home side did take the lead on the night with just six minutes remaining. Nainggolan picked up the ball 25 yards out from goal and hot a low effort that hit a post and gave Karius in the Reds goal no chance of making a save. Roma still needed two goals to force extra-time. Eusebio Di Francesco’s side did get a fourth goal with virtual the last kick of the game. Ragnar Klavan was adjudged to have handball in the box and Nainggolan smashed the spot-kick past Karius.
However, there was not enough time for the home side to score a vital goal to take the tie into extra-time. Liverpool have set a new record in the Champions League this season. The Reds front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have scored 29 goals this season in Europe’s elite competition, beating the previous tally of 28 set by Real Madrid trio Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in season 2013/14.
Liverpool underdogs to lift the trophy
Liverpool will now meet European champions Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26th in Kiev. Despite their impressive campaign in Europe this season, the Reds are underdogs to lift the trophy. With both teams dangerous going forward and vulnerable in defence, the final could be a highly entertaining encounter between to very good players.
Did Liverpool deserve to make it to the Champions League final?