As Gini Wijnaldum’s header squeezed beneath the arms of Roma goalkeeper Alisson to take Liverpool to an astonishing seven goals on aggregate in the Champions League semifinal, refrains of Allez Allez Allez from the pocket of 5,000 traveling Merseysiders could be heard echoing around the otherwise silent Stadio Olimpico.
The Dutch international’s first away strike for an English club would ultimately be the deciding goal as the Reds booked their place in the final on the back of a 7-6 aggregate win. While Jürgen Klopp’s squad never appeared overawed by the occasion as their opponents had in the Anfield first leg shellacking, Liverpool were still made to work for the result.
Roma, only a few weeks removed from a historic comeback against Barcelona in the previous round, gave it a belated go in scoring four goals on their home ground to make it interesting at the end. Fortunately, a relieved Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson was able to commend his side’s resilience to weather the storm:
”We never do it the easy way unfortunately,” the 27-year-old said after the game. “It was an amazing effort. In the first half we did well and scored some good goals.
”We knew it was important to score and get one early on. We were unlucky with their first goal but overall we have to be happy with what we have done over the two legs. We could have done better in this game but we’ve made it through to the final.”
Full back, Andrew Robertson, only a year removed from being relegated with Hull City, was also unable to contain his excitement at reaching his first European final:
”What a thing to be involved in,” the defender said speaking to BT Sport. “Credit to all the lads, we’ve come through every challenge we’ve been set. We’ll have a great day in Kiev whatever the result.
”First and foremost, you need to remember you’re defending the lead and if you do you’re in the final. They threw everything at us and we’ve done brilliant.
”We’ll enjoy this tonight and think about that game another day. We’ll go in as underdogs but sometimes that can be a good thing.”
The Champions League finalists won’t have too much of a break with a league clash away to Chelsea coming up at the weekend laden with top four implications. For tonight however, James Milner acknowledged that the team will permit themselves a glass of celebratory Italian red wine, albeit, true to form with a caveat:
“Maybe for a few of the boys although I might stretch myself out for some Ribena or something.”