Liverpool see off spirited Roma to reach Champions League final

Liverpool saw off a spirited Roma fightback to reach their first Champions League final since 2007 with a remarkable ...

Posted: May 3, 2018 9:11 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 9:11 AM

Liverpool saw off a spirited Roma fightback to reach their first Champions League final since 2007 with a remarkable 7-6 aggregate victory.

Though Jurgen Klopp's men lost the second leg in Rome 4-2, the Premier League side did enough to progress to their eighth final, where they will face 12-time champions Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26.

Roma 4-2 Liverpool (Aggregate 6-7)

Liverpool qualify for first Champions League final in 11 years

Leading 5-2 after the first leg of the semifinal, goals from Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum should have put the tie to bed but the Italians hit back on both occasions, through Edin Dzeko and a James Milner own goal.

Liverpool weathered an early Roma storm in the second half and were left thanking the referee who missed two clear penalties for the home side.

Two late Radja Nainggolan goals, one a strike from distance and the other a stoppage-time penalty, ensured the closing stages remained interesting but they proved nothing more than consolations in what was the highest scoring semifinal in the competition's history.

READ: Mo Salah -- a day in the life of the 'Egyptian King'

READ: Mo Salah -- 'There's something very special about playing for Liverpool'

"We are all inclusive, sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't need it and after the game I'm fine with it," Liverpool manager Klopp told BT Sport.

"We should start winning (finals), I know that. I said it before the semifinal, everybody will remind me from now on that I lost the last five finals. It was a little bit more exciting than I would have wanted, but now it's over I'm fine.

"It's a final, the boys deserve it. The campaign, the character they've showed, the mentality they've showed, the football they've showed, it's just crazy. 7-6 on aggregate -- it's unbelievable."

Roma needed to make history

Roma, knowing only another historic night at the Stadio Olimpico would see them into the final -- they became the first team to come back from a three-goal deficit in the quarterfinals with a dramatic win over Barcelona -- started the match at blistering pace.

Inside the opening 30 seconds, Virgil van Dijk headed away an awkward cross by Stephan El Shaarawy as Edin Dzeko lurked menacingly behind him.

Liverpool's Dutch center back then did well to intercept a through ball aimed toward Dzeko, while another run in behind the defence by Dzeko had goalkeeper Loris Karius scrambling across his goal. Alessandro Florenzi also went close with a long-range shot.

READ: 'Mohamed Salah? He's like the Sphinx and the Pyramids'

READ: Is Mo Salah the best player in the world?

It was breathless but, unlike the quarterfinal second leg against Manchester City, Liverpool weathered the storm comfortably and, against the run of play, took the lead.

Radja Nainggolan under hit his pass back to Federico Fazio and Roberto Firmino pounced on the loose ball before threading a pass into Mane, who finished under the onrushing Alisson.

The only noise which could now be heard inside the Olimpico was the Liverpool fans repeatedly chanting 'allez, allez, allez.'

However, in the blink of an eye, Roma were gifted the smallest of lifelines.

Another ball into the box was seemingly dealt with by Dejan Lovren, but his clearance smashed into the side of midfielder Milner's head and ricocheted past Karius into the Liverpool goal.

Once again, the Olimpico burst to life; flags were waved and 'allez, allez, allez' was soon replaced by 'Roma, Roma, Roma'.

But their optimism lasted all of 10 minutes. Roma's defense, which had been generous to Liverpool over the two legs, again failed to deal with a cross and Wijnaldum nodded the ball past Alisson to give the visitors a commanding aggregate lead.

Mission impossible

Needing four goals to even take the tie to extra time, Roma to their credit continued to press forward in the hope of finding the goal that could prove to be the catalyst for another memorable comeback.

El Shaarawy, by far Roma's most dangerous player, had a shot which deflected off Milner and hit the post, before having an appeal for a penalty turned down.

Another shout for a penalty in the second half, as Dzeko was brought down by Karius, had Liverpool hearts in mouths, but they were saved by the linesman flagging for offside.

Replays showed the decision was a wrong one, but Roma continued to press forward and were soon rewarded with another goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was unable to intercept Daniele De Rossi's through ball and El Shaarawy cut inside and fired a shot towards goal. Karius was only able to parry the ball into Dzeko's path and the Bosnian striker made no mistake, firing his eighth Champions League goal of the season into the top corner.

To say Roma now believed they could qualify would be an overstatement, but they had at least given their fans a glimmer of hope.

It felt like an important period in the game; wave after wave of Roma shirts descended on Karius' box and the keeper made an important save from substitute Cengiz -nder on the hour mark.

The hosts should have been awarded a penalty, which arguably would have turned the tie on its head, but the referee inexplicably missed a clear handball by Alexander-Arnold as the defender blocked El Shaarawy's goal-bound strike.

Roma's players tired in the closing stages and rarely looked like threatening until, out of seemingly nowhere, Nainggolan scored two consolation strikes which again brought a slumbering Stadio Olimpico to life.

But it was too little, too late and it was Liverpool's 5,000 traveling fans who joyously celebrated as their team set up a meeting with defending champions Real in a repeat of the 1981 final.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather