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Liverpool 5, Roma 2: First Thoughts

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The Reds have a nearly perfect night, but two late capitulations could leave the door open for Roma on the return leg.

Liverpool v A.S. Roma - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool 5: Salah 35’ 45+1, Mane 56’, Firmino 62’ 69’
Roma 2: Dzeko 81’, Perotti 85’ (pen)

  • Pre-match Thought: Ho boy, it’s finally here. Literally zero surprises from Liverpool. Roma, however, look like they will trot out three at the back as they did to great effect against Barcelona in the second leg in the quarterfinals. It’s a bold move against our front three, one that will either prove genius or suicidal. Let’s hope for the latter.
  • You’ll Never Walk Alone. CHILLS.
  • The assistant referee is having some major early struggles with his flag, going so far as to wave around a flagless stick at one point. Get your shit together UEFA, this is a Champions League semifinal for Fowler’s sake.
  • Roberto Firmino has the first big chance of the night, firing a low effort across the face of goal from a tight angle. More of that please
  • Oh fuck. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on the ground within 15 minutes, with an apparent knee injury after getting caught up in a tackle. It does not look good, and Georginio Wijnaldum is already warming up on the side line. The medic calls for the swap to be made, and Liverpool must play short handed for a couple of minutes.
  • Close! Loris Karius manages to get just enough on a swerving Kolarov effort from range to tip it onto the bar. Karius will not be happy with that save, but it was a save in the end.
  • Meanwhile, Ox, who has been immobile on the sideline, was carried off in a stretcher, and a feeling of nervousness has crept into the Anfield faithful from the eventful past five minutes or so.
  • NO! Mane misses a huge chance to square the ball for a Mohamed Salah tap-in. Instead he fires it well over the bar. Moments later he follows it up with another wild shot. We’ll need to do better than that!
  • Half an hour gone and Liverpool are starting to assert their authority on the game, creating several BIG chances in the past few minutes. Gotta start making ‘em count though.
  • Mane finally makes the net bulge, but is miles offside, and the goal is correctly chalked off.
  • GOAL! IT HAD TO BE THE ONE AND ONLY SALAH! The Egyptian King has his 42nd goal of the season. Roberto Firmino plays Salah into the box, who takes a touch, and fires a curling left-footed effort perfectly into the far corner, off the underside of the bar.
  • GOAL!! MAKE IT 43! Salah and Firmino combine again on a quick counter, and Salah chips the on rushing Alisson to gently roll home his second of the match. GET IN.
  • Halftime Thought: A nervy and unfortunate first half an hour turns into a Red Riot in the last fifteen. However, the loss is a big one. Obviously it’s too early to know the extent of Ox’s injury, but it does not look good. At best he’ll likely be out the rest of the season. At worst? Yikes. Gini looked good since coming on, but the injury leaves us with exactly three fit senior midfielders.
  • Liverpool start the first ten minutes of the second half like they ended the first...and...
  • GOAL!!! The third has been coming, and Salah turned provider this time. Trent Alexander-Arnold played Salah through down the flank, and he picked out Mane, who found the target this time!
  • GOAL!!!! The Reds are in dreamland, and playing their visitors off the park all over the pitch. Again, TAA plays Salah through down the flank, and again, Salah picks out his teammate, this time Firmino with a perfectly timed run to the back post for the tap-in.
  • GOAL! I’ve run out of exclamation points. Liverpool win a corner and Bobby Firmino rises to nod it home. And Milner bags an assist, making him the all-time single-season leader for assists in the Champions League. What. A. Night. Let’s finish this off with a clean sheet, please.
  • Klopp brings Salah off in favor of Danny Ings in the 75th mintue. Two goals and two assists against his former club in the Champions League semifinals. There aren’t words.
  • Goal. Welp, there goes the clean sheet. Lovren whiffs badly on a header, and Dzeko is able to control the ball and slot it near post past an on-rushing Karius.
  • Penalty. Fuck. Double fuck. A shot from outside the box catches Milner’s hand, and the ref pointsto the spot. It’s a bit soft, but hard to argue with it in real time.
  • Goal. Diego Perotti steps to the spot and sends Karius the wrong way.
  • Klopp makes his final sub in stoppage time, taking Firmino—also with two goals and two assists—off for Ragnar Klavan. Not sure that actually helps us defensively.
  • Final Whistle Thought: I think we all would have taken a three-goal win prior to the match, but the two away goals and the loss of Ox stings. Still, we’re in the driver’s seat for next week. Let’s hope they can’t duplicate their comeback against Barcelona.

We’ll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today’s game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven’t already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we’ll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.