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Roma 4, Liverpool 2 (Agg. 6-7): First Thoughts

Liverpool will face Real Madrid in the Champions League Final!!!

A.S. Roma v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg
I want to live in the universe where Jordan Henderson lifts #6.
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma 4: Milner (OG) 15’, Dzeko 52’, Nainggolan 86’ 90+4 (pen)
Liverpool 2: Mane 9’, Wijnaldum 25’

  • Pre-match Thought: The calm before the storm. I’m actually not as nervous as I was before either the second leg against City, or the first leg against Roma. Weird. Anyway, the nerves are slowly building. Roma are not making the mistake of sending out three in the back as they did first time around, instead reverting to a 4-3-3. Hopefully Liverpool learn from their mistake in the last round, and not fucking concede in the first two minutes. That would be great.
  • Roma nearly get in behind twice in the first minute, but thankfully poor touches from the home side see the half chances go wanting. Nerves? OK, I have them now.
  • Florenzi goes close with a speculative effort from distance, but it flashes just wide of the far post. Liverpool can hardly get a touch as the early assault continues in the first five or so minutes.
  • GOAL! Sadio Mane puts the Reds up on their first attack of the night. Firmino picks up the ball in the middle of the park on a quick counter, and he plays in the Senegalese star, who finishes with a strong left-footed effort.
  • Goal. Roma pull one back on the flukiest of own goals. Dejan Lovren clears a dangerous ball in the box, but can only clear it as far as James Milner’s face, and the ball richochets back past a helpless Loris Karius.
  • GOAL!! And it’s an away goal for Gini Wijnaldum! Virgil van Dijk cannot cleanly connect on a header off a corner, but his international teammate is first to react, nodding it home for Liverpool’s second on the night. Even more importantly, Liverpool have now negated Roma’s away goal advantage!
  • Close! James Milner was very nearly unlucky yet again. El Shaarawy took on a shot from outside the box, and Milner’s deflection nearly helps the Roma attacker beat Karius, but instead it clanged off the woodwork and safely away.
  • Dejan Lovren goes into the book for a pretty soft foul just outside the box. Please be careful Degsy, we really need you available for the final.
  • Halftime Thought: Three goals, all of them scored by Liverpool players. It was a great first half, own goal notwithstanding. Karius has come up big several times, catching and punching away dangerous crosses through traffic, and Mane has been damned near unplayable down the left flank. If Liverpool can manage to not concede four second half goals, we’ll be joining Real Madrid in Kiev for the Champions League final. Holy Shit.
  • Lucky, lucky! Karius appeared to take down Dzeko for a pen (and maybe worse ), but was incorrectly flagged for offside.
  • Goal. Dzeko sort of makes up for the wrong call a moment ago. Karius makes a save, but can only palm it into the path of Dzeko, who slots it easily.
  • And now Liverpool have a penalty shout waved away after the ball clearly bounces up and hits the hand of a Roma defender. So. At least it’s even?
  • Liverpool doing their best to make this interesting. A dangerous cross falls to Alexander-Arnold, who clears it straight into a Roma player, and then the young fullback appears to block the ensuing shot out behind (with his hand). Good times.
  • And while we’re calling out TAA, he just played Dzeko onside, who thankfully did not punish Liverpool this time. It’s going to be a long 25 minutes at this rate.
  • Entering the last 10 minutes of regular time, and Liverpool still clinging to that 3-goal lead. A goal for the Reds would well and truly seel it (though, truth be told, we’re probably fine...I type as Karius has to make a fingertip save).
  • Klopp makes his first sub of the night, Ragnar Klavan on for Sadio Mane. It’s a move that never seems to help us defensively, and certainly hurts us going forward, and yet Kloppo keeps making it. So it goes.
  • Andy Robertson gets a well-deserved yellow after tossing a Roma player into the running track surrounding the pitch. Never change Robbo.
  • Goal. Nothing Liverpool could really do about that one. Nainggolan blasts a long range effort off the far post and in. Hopefully it’s too little too late, from Roma.
  • Meanwhile, Dominic Solanke comes on for Roberto Firmino.
  • And the final sub, Nathaniel Clyne replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.
  • Penalty. In the last minute of stoppage time the ball bounces up and hits Klavan’s hand.
  • Goal. Right down the middle.
  • Thankfully the whistle blows almost immediately after the restart.
  • Final Whistle Thought: We’re playing for club football’s biggest prize! We lost our undefeated record, but won the war. Barely. ON TO KIEV TO FACE REAL MADRID!

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.

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