Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed how Liverpool's pre-match analysis of AS Roma helped lay the tactical foundations for a 5-2 Champions League semi-final first-leg win on Tuesday.
Initially named on the substitutes' bench, the Dutchman was thrown into the action with just 18 minutes gone at Anfield, replacing the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And, despite his early introduction coming unexpectedly, Wijnaldum had no doubts about what was required of him thanks to the hosts' thorough preparations.
As he explained to Liverpoolfc.com at full-time: "We analysed them before and we knew they had a lot of space behind their backline.
"It is a strength of mine to come in behind the backline, which is what I tried to do. It worked.
"But it was not only me, it was everyone who made a run behind their line.
"It was dangerous for them and we created a lot of chances with the runs. It went well."
Two late goals have given Roma a glimmer of hope that they might stage a repeat of their come-from-behind, away-goals win over Barcelona at the quarter-final stage when the two teams meet again at the Stadio Olimpico next week.
Wijnaldum admits he and his teammates were perhaps 'too comfortable' in the closing stages at Anfield, though he insists they were left pleased with the overall result.
He added: "[It was] a good evening. We scored good goals and played well – until the last 10 minutes.
"We gave them a little bit of confidence and they did well with the chances they got.
"We were a little bit too comfortable with the result at that moment, which is why we gave two goals away.
"We can be happy with the result; it's only that we gave two chances away in the last 10 minutes.
"But if someone said before the game, 'Would you be happy with a 5-2 result?' everybody would be happy. So we have to take the positives from it and keep on going."
The 27-year-old also hailed the contributions of Liverpool's fans, who put on another remarkable display of support to roar their team over the line.
He continued: "Even in the moments that we didn't play well, they support us to do better. That's always what you need.
"The supporters can always help you to do even better, or when it's going bad they can help to give the team confidence. It was great again.
"Champions League evenings are special."
Liverpool ran riot at Anfield, putting five past Roma before a couple of late goals for the visitors took the gloss off a brilliant and explosive European night, and gave the Italian side half a chance of reaching Kiev. Here are the key stats.Magnificent Mo Leads The Charge
In an attacking sense, this was an absolutely perfect Liverpool performance, spearheaded by a majestic Mo Salah, but admirably supported by the brilliant Bobby Firmino. Both players now have ten goals in the Champions League proper, more than everyone except Ronaldo, and both notched five key passes on the night to go with their goals. Mo Salah is now on 41 goals in PL and Europe, ahead of Ronaldo on 39 for the two. Top of the European pile right now.
Mo became the first player ever to score twice and assist twice in a UCL semi-final. A few minutes later, Bobby became the second. Liverpool created an xG of 3.8 on the night, with five big chances, three of which were scored.
But, this isn’t the first time the Reds have run riot at Anfield this season. That now means the Reds have scored 44 goals in 11 games in this season’s UCL (including Hoffenheim). With Mané also on eight, this is the first time in UCL history that a team has had three players score at least eight goals in the UCL. Madness. And here are two more absolutely mad stats to finish on, courtesy of Andrew Beasley.
Liverpool have scored five-or-more goals 24 times in their 376 match European history.
20 times in the first 367 matches.
Four times in the last nine matches.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) April 24, 2018
27% of the European Cup/Champions League semi final goals ever scored at Anfield occurred tonight.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) April 24, 2018Can Roma Comeback Again?
I guess this is the big question. What are Roma’s chances of getting back into it? Again, Beasley has the answer: not very likely.
CL semi-final first legs from the past 14 years where the home side has won but conceded an away goal(s). pic.twitter.com/uTzq9JZrka
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) April 24, 2018
Looking back at Liverpool’s UCL semi-final history, there’s plenty of good news there. Liverpool have won seven of their nine UCL semi-finals, and you have to go back to 1965, Liverpool’s very first European Cup semi-final to see them win the first leg at Anfield (3-1 against Inter Milan), only to lose the tie 4-3, with a 3-0 defeat at the San Siro. Okay so maybe that example wasn’t as helpful as it could have been, but hey: seven UCL wins out of nine, and they’re six out of seven when winning at Anfield. Unfortunately, four of those wins were with Anfield as the second leg.Win The Battles, Lose The War?
Roma struggled to dominate the game, despite having more possession (51% of the ball), dribbling better (13 dribbles to seven, only Bobby and Mo completed a single dribble for Liverpool), winning more tackles (19 to 15), with a better passing percentage (76% compared to 74%) and winning nearly two-thirds of the aerial battles (64%).
And yet Liverpool dominated where it mattered, registering more shots (21 to 14), more shots on target (11 to 6), a higher xG (3.8 to 1.2 plus a pen) and of course, on the scoresheet, with five of their chances going past Alisson. In many respects, this was a tactical game, but it was a tactical game where Roma for the majority of it simply had no answer.James Milner, Corner-Taker Supreme
Milly loves a corner, doesn’t he? No player has secured as many as his nine assists in a UCL campaign before, with plenty of those coming from set-pieces (and to be fair plenty of them not). Milner has a good history of notching key assists in big European games and it’s good to see him doing it again this season.
Last Updated: 25/04/18 11:30pmMohamed Salah is among the favourites to win the Ballon d'Or
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren believes Mohamed Salah has elevated himself into the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo this season.
The Egypt international took his tally in an incredible debut season for Jurgen Klopp's side to 43 with two goals - as well as two assists - in the 5-2 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Roma at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Salah is now being mentioned as a serious contender for this year's Ballon d'Or, alongside Real Madrid's five-time winner of the award Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.Jurgen Klopp insists if one of his Liverpool players doesn’t believe Roma can come back from a 5-2 deficit, they will not play in the Champions League semi-final second leg Jurgen Klopp insists if one of his Liverpool players doesn’t believe Roma can come back from a 5-2 deficit, they will not play in the Champions League semi-final second leg
"He is the one. He is becoming the superstar. It looks easy what he does but it is very difficult," Lovren said of Salah.
"If he continues like that - I don't know if this is the right time to put pressure on him - but I believe he should be regarded as one of the best three in the world at the end of the year.
"He deserves to be mentioned for the Ballon d'Or - when people talk about Messi and Ronaldo they should also talk about Salah. He deserves the credit but I think he deserves even more to be honest."Dejan Lovren is confident they can reach the Champions League final, despite conceding two late goals against Roma
Salah played a key role in helping Liverpool take the upper hands against Roma but there were numerous other top-class performances with Roberto Firmino, who also scored twice to take his tally to 27, and captain Jordan Henderson also hugely influential.
Klopp's side scored five goals in a 33-minute spell either side of half-time and although their Italian opponents scored twice in the final 10 minutes, the Reds are still favourites to progress to the final, where they will face either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
Croatia international Lovren admits it was a game the players themselves enjoyed as much as the fans.Liverpool vs Stoke
April 28, 2018, 11:30am
"To be honest you feel powerful, you feel strong when you look around and see the players next to you," he added.
"We have big names, we don't maybe have lots of 'superstars' but it is not about the name, it is how we perform on the pitch.
"You know how we will react when we don't have the ball and then we will not be afraid of anything else.Highlights: West Brom 2-2 Liverpool Highlights: West Brom 2-2 Liverpool
"You can see the system working, definitely. Every training session, every game we feel we are more comfortable and more confident.
"We just need to learn from our previous mistakes, we have to be more controlling of the game, that is where we need to improve, but I am pretty confident for the next leg."Fantasy Six-a-Side
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The Egypt international took his tally in an incredible debut season for the Reds to 43 with two goals – as well as two assists – from his best performance of the campaign in the 5-2 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Roma.
Many bookmakers have now made Salah the joint-favourite to win the Ballon d’Or alongside Real Madrid’s five-time winner of the award Cristiano Ronaldo – and Lovren agrees.
“He is the one. He is becoming the superstar. It looks easy what he does but it is very difficult,” said the Croatia international.
“If he continues like that – I don’t know if this is the right time to put pressure on him – but I believe he should be regarded as one of the best three in the world at the end of the year.
“He deserves to be mentioned for the Ballon d’Or – when people talk about Messi and Ronaldo they should also talk about Salah.
“He deserves the credit but I think he deserves even more to be honest. Forty-three goals guys, f*****g hell.”
Salah was central to an exhilarating display on another famous European night but there were numerous other top-class performances with Roberto Firmino, who also scored twice to take his tally to 27, and captain Jordan Henderson also hugely influential.
Anfield was shaken to its foundations by a brilliant 33-minute spell either side of half-time when the rampant Reds scored five goals and Roma looked down and out until two late goals gave them a glimmer of hope for the second leg.
Lovren admits it was a game the players themselves enjoyed as much as the fans.
“To be honest you feel powerful, you feel strong when you look around and see the players next to you,” he added.
“We have big names, we don’t maybe have lots of ‘superstars’ but it is not about the name, it is how we perform on the pitch.
“You know how we will react when we don’t have the ball and then we will not be afraid of anything else.
“You can see the system working, definitely. Every training session, every game we feel we are more comfortable and more confident.
“We just need to learn from our previous mistakes, we have to be more controlling of the game, that is where we need to improve, but I am pretty confident for the next leg.”
Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold admitted he had not played in a more enjoyable game, up to the point when Roma scored.
“It was just free-flowing, there was not a lot of thought going into it and it was natural and that was the main thing for the team. It was unbelievable,” he said.
The 19-year-old was at a loss, however, to put into words the quality of Salah’s two goals.
“He’s a credit to himself. He works hard in training and we see it on a daily basis in training so we’re getting used to it,” he added.
“It is world-class stuff from him and the whole team to be honest.
“That last finish I think he’s done three times in the last few weeks now so maybe keepers are getting on to it but to have that composure in front of goal – he was outside the box when he hit it and running at speed – was an unbelievable finish.”
Soak up the passion and elation of Liverpool's Champions League victory against AS Roma all over again with our special montage from inside the stadium.
The Reds contested their first European Cup semi-final in a decade on Tuesday night – and rose to the occasion as Mohamed Salah’s double, one from Sadio Mane and a Roberto Firmino brace inspired a 5-2 win.
From every corner of the ground to the players on the pitch to the LFCTV gantry, the joy was palpable as Jürgen Klopp’s side took control of the tie.
Our cameras were stationed in prime positions at Anfield to capture the reactions, the tension and the outpouring of emotion on a memorable evening under the floodlights.
See how supporters erupted as Firmino, Mane and Salah surged through their opponents. Watch John Aldridge abandon commentary duties to celebrate. Live the occasion once more.
It’s all in our brilliant compilation above.
Did you know you can listen to free live commentary on every Liverpool game? Simply visit this page on a matchday to hear the action as it happens.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pledged to 'give everything' to recover quickly from the knee ligament injury that has ended his season and ruled him out of the World Cup.
The Liverpool midfielder sustained the issue while attempting a sliding challenge in the early stages of the 5-2 victory over AS Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Having been assessed by the Reds’ medical staff at Melwood, it was confirmed that Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the remainder of the club campaign and not travel to the World Cup with England this summer.
“Absolutely devastated to have picked up this injury at such a crucial time in the season,” the 24-year-old wrote on his social media accounts.
“Gutted I won’t be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England.
“But now it’s all about supporting the boys and getting behind them. I know we have what it takes to do something special in this tournament.
“I’m going to give everything I have to make sure I’m back as quickly as possible.
“However, this all pales in comparison to how the family of the Liverpool fan badly hurt before last night’s game must be feeling. My thoughts are with him and his loved ones.
“Thank you for all your kind words, messages and support. I’ll see you soon. #YNWA.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out for the rest of the season, Liverpool FC have confirmed on Wednesday.
The midfielder was withdrawn after 15 minutes of the Reds’ Champions League semi-final against Roma on Tuesday night, having fallen after challenging Aleksandar Kolarov.
Jurgen Klopp said post-match that the injury was “really bad” and that it had soured the evening for him and the rest of the squad.
It’s a massive blow for the player, who has hit form in recent weeks and become a key player in Liverpool’s midfield.
With eight assists and five goals, the 24-year-old was enjoying his most productive season as a player and therefore looked set to be part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.
The club confirmed the knee ligament injury, saying that “no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.”
Injuries of this nature can vary depending on how a player recovers, but it will likely be at least three months, meaning he could miss pre-season too. The worst-case scenario would be nine months out.
Klopp has said he will have to be “creative” with the next few games in response to the injury issues he has in midfield.
One option is to play a 3-4-3 formation against Stoke, meaning one of his midfielders can be rested, while another is to bring in youngster Ben Woodburn who has played in midfield for the Reds’ under-23s this season.
Last Updated: 25/04/18 11:10pmLiverpool say Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the World Cup after he suffered a knee ligament injury against Roma Liverpool say Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the World Cup after he suffered a knee ligament injury against Roma
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the World Cup after he suffered a knee ligament injury against Roma, Liverpool have confirmed.
The England midfielder had a scan on Wednesday after going down injured in the first half of the 5-2 win over Roma at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Liverpool say that his season, both domestically and internationally, is over, with no timeframe for his recovery currently known.
"Liverpool FC can confirm Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 2017-18 season is over for both club and country due to a knee ligament injury sustained against AS Roma on Tuesday evening," read a statement on the club's official website.
"The midfielder was forced from the field after 18 minutes of the Reds' 5-2 victory in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield after picking up the issue during an attempted challenge.
"The extent of the injury means Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss the remainder of the campaign for Liverpool, as well as the World Cup finals in Russia with England.
"The 24-year-old was assessed by the club's medical team at Melwood on Wednesday morning and no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.Sky Sports' Alan Smith says England will miss the quality of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the World Cup. Sky Sports' Alan Smith says England will miss the quality of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the World Cup.
"However, Oxlade-Chamberlain will now begin a rehabilitation programme to enable him to reach full fitness again as soon as possible, returning to action next season."
The player himself has tweeted his disappointment at the news, although he was keen to downplay the matter after a Liverpool supporter was seriously injured after being attacked before the game.
"Absolutely devastated to have picked up that injury at such a crucial time in the season," said Oxlade-Chamberlain.
"Gutted I won't be able to play any further part now in our Champions League run for Liverpool, and also the World Cup with England.
"However, this all pales in comparison to how the family of the Liverpool fan badly hurt before last night's game must be feeling.
"My thoughts are with him and his loved ones."Fantasy Six-a-Side
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Liverpool FC can confirm Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 2017-18 season is over for both club and country due to a knee ligament injury sustained against AS Roma on Tuesday evening.
The midfielder was forced from the field after 18 minutes of the Reds’ 5-2 victory in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield after picking up the issue during an attempted challenge.
The extent of the injury means Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss the remainder of the campaign for Liverpool, as well as the World Cup finals in Russia with England.
The 24-year-old was assessed by the club’s medical team at Melwood on Wednesday morning and no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.
However, Oxlade-Chamberlain will now begin a rehabilitation programme to enable him to reach full fitness again as soon as possible, returning to action next season.
The eyes of the footballing world were on Anfield on Tuesday night as Mohamed Salah inspired the Reds to a 5-2 victory in a remarkable semi-final first leg against his former club Roma.
Braces from the Egyptian and Roberto Firmino bookended a Sadio Mane goal on a memorable evening for Liverpool, even if late efforts from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti gave the hosts hope ahead of the return leg next Wednesday.
The Kiev finale is tantalisingly close but Klopp only cares about the threat posed this weekend by relegation-threatened Stoke as Liverpool’s Premier League continues to wind down.
“We will fight with all we have for that result again,” the German said of the second leg in Rome.
“It’s much better than I could have expected before the game, but now in the moment of course I feel the two goals we conceded still.
“But I am already, to be 100 per cent honest, in the Stoke game.
“I am much more interested about the Stoke game in the moment than the second leg against Rome.
“The atmosphere (against Roma) was absolutely outstanding, what you can expect if you are 5-0 in the lead, the people really enjoyed it.
“So, I say to everybody who has a ticket, I expect exactly the same atmosphere on Saturday at 12:30 because we need it.
“That’s a massive game for us and we need to be ready for that, and we try everything to be ready for that.”
Liverpool are third in the Premier League standings, on 71 points, ahead of Stoke’s visit to Anfield.
The unprovoked attack on a Liverpool supporter 10 minutes before Tuesday night’s match has soured an incredible evening at Anfield, and shown the hypocrisy of the British media.
53-year-old Sean Cox, from Dunboyne in Ireland, was at Anfield with his brother when he was, according to all reports, attacked by a group of Italian hooligans outside the Albert pub.
The Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Northcroft witnessed the incident pre-match and wrote on Twitter:
“Roma fans have just attacked Liverpool supporters with belts, outside the Albert. About 20. One guy down getting treatment.
“The Roma group came out of Venmore St, and attack was sudden. Picked an older Liverpool fan and attacked him. A lot of police around but they were slow on the scene. Poor guy is still down. Horrible stuff.”
BBC reporter David Ornstein wrote similarly:
“Pre-match trouble outside Anfield started when group of Roma fans arrived via Venmore St, burst on to Walton Breck Rd & attacked, many using belts. LFC fan knocked to floor & received lengthy medical treatment. Skirmishes, projectiles, at least 1 hammer in hand, police arrived.”
Pre-match trouble outside Anfield started when group of Roma fans arrived via Venmore St, burst on to Walton Breck Rd & attacked, many using belts. #LFC fan knocked to floor & received lengthy medical treatment. Skirmishes, projectiles, at least 1 hammer in hand, police arrived pic.twitter.com/Yaby4q5f0Y
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) April 24, 2018
He’s now being treated for his injuries at Walton Neurological Centre, where his condition is described as critical, according to Merseyside Police.Media Reporting
It should be made clear that this was a completely unprovoked and organised attack, with at least one hooligan carrying a hammer as a weapon.
And yet, several media – including the BBC – reported the news on Wednesday morning as ‘skirmishes’ or ‘clashes’. There was no skirmish or clash, it was an organised attack. Two men from Rome have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
When has an attempted murder ever been described as a ‘skirmish’ or a ‘clash’?
Hi @SkySportsNews – you ran the video of the attack from Roma fans outside Anfield yet?
Just wondering as you ran the coach ‘attack’ video for 3 days on the bounce.
— Steven (@Ste_Halliwell11) April 25, 2018
Interesting too that the likes of Sky Sports haven’t made this headline news, whereas the throwing of a few bottles or cans by the odd idiotic supporter pre-Man City was covered extensively and turned into a whole debate.
Are Sky, BBC and other media saying that the throwing of a bottle is more newsworthy than attempted murder?
What this highlights is the hypocrisy of the British media. Liverpool is claimed to be ‘the self-pity city’ by certain sections of the UK, and we hear ‘always the victim’ regularly sung at us.
And yet, compare the coverage of the last game for Liverpool’s Main Stand with that of the last game at Upton Park. “Liverpool fans seen stealing seats from Anfield” read the headline in the Daily Mail. “Souvenir time! West Ham fans pose with seats, signs and hoardings ripped from Upton Park” they wrote gleefully.
UEFA released a statement on Wednesday morning saying they were “deeply shocked by the vile attack that occurred ahead of Liverpool FC v AS Roma and our thoughts are with the victim and his family.”
How, exactly, can they be “shocked and appalled” by yet another cowardly attack by Roma hooligans?
In 2001, six Liverpool fans were stabbed before the Reds’ UEFA Cup tie in Rome.
In 2006, three Middlesbrough fans were stabbed.
In 2009, five Man United fans were stabbed.
Seems odd that UEFA is “deeply shocked” at Roma violence at Anfield last night, given their fans stabbed 6 Liverpool supporters in 2001, & then targeted Middlesbrough’s fans in 2006, Manchester United’s in 2007, Arsenal’s in 2009 & Chelsea’s last year…when will they act?! https://t.co/YiJBeP4xdz
— Dan Roan (@danroan) April 25, 2018
Last year, Chelsea fans drinking in an Irish bar were attacked by masked Roma fans with metal bars.
Well said. As someone who went to Rome with Utd, my advice is simple. DONT GO, the police won’t protect you. Watch at home and save your cash for the final.
— Arky (@MUFC_ST76) April 25, 2018
Any English supporter who has been to Rome knows the problems, and that the authorities are unlikely to be of much help. How come UEFA don’t know about this if they’re so shocked?
UEFA say they are “waiting to receive full reports before deciding on potential disciplinary charges” – don’t expect much to happen.
Mohamed Salah continues to rewrite the record books in a sensational season with Liverpool.
After the Egypt forward scored two more goals in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma, Press Association Sport takes a look at the landmarks he has set and those he can still chase.Liverpool Records
Salah has 43 goals in all competitions for the Reds, the most in a debut season for the club—comfortably beating the mark of 33 set by Fernando Torres in 2007/08.
Another four will see him match Ian Rush’s all-time record of 47 in a Liverpool season, set in 1983/84. Salah has at least four games left to achieve the feat, five if Liverpool hold off Roma in the second leg to reach the Champions League final.
His 31 league goals have seen him match Luis Suarez, in 2013/14, for the most in a Premier League season for Liverpool. With three games left, he seems sure to surpass the Uruguayan.
Salah and team-mate Roberto Firmino are the first Liverpool players to hit double figures in a Champions League campaign—they now have 10 apiece in the competition proper this term and each added one in the play-off second leg against Hoffenheim.Premier League Records
That tally of 31 also matches the record for a 38-game Premier League season shared by Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08 and Alan Shearer in 1995/96.
He is only three behind the outright Premier League record of 34, set by Andy Cole and Shearer in 42-game seasons in 1993-94 and 1994-95 respectively.
Salah is the first African player to score 30 goals in a Premier League season. The feat has now been achieved 10 times in all by eight players, including Shearer three times.
With nine assists as well, he is only the fifth player with 40 or more goals and assists combined in a Premier League season, following Cole and Shearer in their 34-goal seasons, Thierry Henry for Arsenal in 2002/03 and Suarez in 2013/14.
Shearer and Cole’s tallies of 47 are the highest ever, with Henry’s 44 the record for a 38-game campaign.
Salah is the first person to be named the Premier League’s Player of the Month three times in one season, scooping the prize in November, February and March.
He has scored in 23 separate Premier League games this season, also a record.
Liverpool Football Club will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities to establish an understanding of the facts, following a serious and disturbing incident at Anfield last night which has left a 53-year-old supporter in a critical condition in hospital.
The club’s first priority is the safety of all fans attending matches.
Supporters attending a game should never be subjected to an environment of violence or attack.
Liverpool would like to thank the emergency services and members of its own supporter base who offered care and treatment to the stricken victim in the immediate aftermath.
The club would again remind anyone who has relevant information that will assist Merseyside Police to make contact via the channels identified by the constabulary. Click here for more information.
Liverpool coasted to a famous 5-2 victory against Roma in the Champions League semi final first leg, and BT Sport’s behind-the-scenes footage of the game has expertly captured the night.
It was another famous European evening for the Reds, as they made themselves firm favourites to reach the Champions League final in Kiev on May 26.
Two late goals for the visitors were an undoubted blow, but it was still a special performance, and one that should be talked about for years to come.
The above BT Sport ‘No Filter UCL’, gives a great look at what went on throughout the night at Anfield, with behind-the-scenes shots galore.
Beginning with stunning scenes outside the ground, the supporters are in great voice, with “Allez! Allez! Allez!” being sung with great passion.
Steven Gerrard, on punditry duties, jokes with Frank Lampard about Luis Garcia’s infamous ‘Ghost Goal’ from the 2005 semi-final against Chelsea, saying, “well over the line that, in my opinion”.
Jurgen Klopp conducts his pre-match media duties, before a stirring rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” takes place before kick-off.
Mohamed Salah‘s stunning first goal sees Gerrard celebrating wildly in the studio, with co-commentator Steve McManaman also raising his arms in disbelief.
The ‘Egyptian King’s’ second of the night is equally delightful, leading to scenes of unbridled joy in the stands, with supporters embracing with one another.
After the game, Gerrard admits concern about the two conceded goals, but calls Salah, “the best player on the planet right now”.
Meanwhile, Klopp rues some of his side’s missed chances in his post-match interview, although the German is quick to label the performance as “brilliant”.
It is a great watch for any Reds fan, as this unforgettable season continues.
A scintillating Liverpool sealed a 5-2 win over Roma in their Champions League semi-final first leg, but there is still room for improvement.
After it was stressed that the hosts should not take their Serie A opposition lightly, Jurgen Klopp‘s side blew Roma out of the water with a fierce display of attacking quality.
But with Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti striking late to give Roma hope for the second leg, it was far from perfect for Liverpool, with Dejan Lovren‘s late collapse particularly worrying.
So what did journalists and statisticians make of Liverpool’s 5-2 victory?
It would be remiss to not laud Salah for his faultless performance, and this outing was reflected in a phenomenal rating (9.8) boosted by seven 10-out-of-10 marks.
Only the Echo and Sky Sports failed to award the Egyptian King a perfect score, with The Anfield Wrap’s Ben Johnson describing him as “genuinely stunning.”
Firmino is deservedly not far behind (9.3), for it was the Brazilian’s industry, strength and creativity that allowed Liverpool to carve open Roma throughout.
In the biggest night of his career as captain, Henderson (8.4) produced an excellent, mature display, with no publication rating the 27-year-old as lower than an eight out of 10.
Alexander-Arnold (7.7) and Andy Robertson (7.9) also impressed, while it was a mixed night for Mane (7.3), who missed two golden opportunities in the first half but then scored after the break.
Lovren (6.9) received varied ratings across publications, from six-out-of-10s from Sky Sports and Anfield Index to eight-out-of-10s from The Anfield Wrap and The Redmen TV.
This proved a rare occasion that statistical ratings were as emphatic as those of journalists as WhoScored awarded both Salah and Firmino a 10 out of 10.
Interestingly, however, Mane was the only other player to been deemed higher than a seven out of 10, with Loris Karius the closest despite having the lowest average rating of any player (6.4).
Alexander-Arnold’s numbers clearly didn’t match up to the eye test as the 19-year-old has endured a big swing in his ratings from WhoScored and his overall average.
In this case, given the magnitude of the result, it is safe to say that the stats don’t paint an accurate picture.
Liverpool still have a job to do in Rome, but their 5-2 first-leg win in the Champions League semi-finals should provide focus for next Wednesday.
You can see for miles from the upper tier of the new Main Stand.
From my seat, to the right I get to see a good chunk of the Liverpool skyline, inclusive of the two cathedrals. In the opposite direction to the left I get to peer into Stanley Park, where you get a close view of the matchday car park.
On days when Liverpool labour, you can even people-watch as they take their dogs for a walk through the park.
Against Roma, you could make out the flashing lights of countless cars as their alarms went off, each and every time Liverpool scored, due to the noise created inside Anfield.
It was an impressive sight to see, as you bounced up and down, locked in a bear-hug with somebody you’ve never met before.Two Late Away Goals & The Loss of Oxlade-Chamberlain
Let’s get the downside out of the way: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a huge loss.
He’s been a phenomenal surprise since he signed to the sound of a collective sigh from the Liverpool congregation back in August.
Early noises are he won’t return until next season. We could have done without that.
Thankfully, Gini Wijnaldum rose magnificently to the challenge of replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain.
We can’t be losing any more players from hereon in.
The two away goals were massively careless, but they can provide the focus we’ll need to display in Rome next week.
I know which stat I’d back to be broken of the two at Stadio Olimpico. We own Roma. We always have and we always will.A Cavalry Charge Down Walton Breck Road
Unsavory scenes before the game and a Liverpool fan left in a very bad way.
Liverpool’s troubles with Roma fans go back to 1984.
A week from now the team need to come back with a place in the Champions League final, while the fans who travel need to make it home safely.Bobby Firmino the Invisible Man
Bobby Firmino edges toward the 30-goal mark, and yet the wider community of football still fails to notice him. Long may that continue.
The more he is underestimated the more dangerous he becomes, while those who do realise the threat he poses can do little about it.
Imagine Naby Keita supplying this Liverpool front line? It won’t be long until you need imagine it no longer.
Firmino could win Brazil the World Cup this summer if the CBF woke up to themselves.
Mane had a mixed night. Missing good opportunities, but still finding the net eventually.
Salah got the party rolling. 5-0 up when he departed the scene, 5-2 in his absence.
We might well have conceded those goals had he been on the pitch or not, but Roma’s players were petrified of him. I doubt they would have got as brave as they did towards the end if they had still needed to keep an eye on Salah.The 2nd Leg
What to expect?
Those of a nervous disposition will point to the way Roma overturned Barcelona in the quarter-finals and, yes, they are a threat going forward. They might just score goals next week.
After a hardworking first 27 minutes, where they were definitely proving to be troublesome, Roma went ‘rabbit in the headlights’. At times the Roma players struck the images of road cones to be passed around.
At stages of the second leg Roma will undoubtedly strike the image of startled road cones once again, and it will be down to us to punish them when they do.
Score one goal and Roma will need to score four. Score two goals and Roma will need five.
The lightning which struck against Barcelona won’t strike a second time.
See how Barcelona themselves failed to replicate their stunning fightback against Paris Saint-Germain last season, when they tumbled out of the tournament in the very next round under similar first-leg circumstances against Juventus.
This isn’t arrogance, this isn’t being blase, this is about having enough belief in the capabilities of this Liverpool team to cope with a hostile and testing environment a week from now.
It won’t be easy, but this Liverpool can finish the job. Put your trust in it.In the Meantime
Stoke City come to Anfield on Saturday.
Fast running out of players, it could be a very strange lineup which takes to the field.
Maybe Trent Alexander-Arnold could be worth a go in midfield.
How about a couple of debuts for those promising, up-and-coming kids who get to warm the bench now and again?
Either way, given what’s to come, it’s going to be hard to take it one game at a time over the course of the next few days.