In the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Roma pulled off a miracle, overcoming a three-goal deficit in the second leg and knocking favourites Barcelona out. Now, they have a three-goal deficit heading into the second leg of the semi-finals against Liverpool.
The thing about miracles, though, is that they’re rare; hard to come by. Otherwise, they would hardly be miracles. And Liverpool, unlike Roma’s last opponents, will be heading into their second leg with thoughts of Barcelona’s defeat to help keep them on their toes.
“I think those two goals have given them encouragement because in their last result against Barcelona it was 4-1 and they scored three goals at home,” noted midfielder Gini Wijnaldum. “That will give them confidence [but] we also know what happened there.
“Now we have to be aware so that it doesn’t happen to us [but] it was a great result. Of course the last 10 minutes we didn’t do it well but if someone had said before the game, ‘Would you be happy with a 5-2?’ everyone would have been happy with the result.”
Conceding a pair of goals late means it’s natural to feel a little deflated, yet that Liverpool scored five of their own before then and completely dominated the match for most of the night as they drew Roma out and then punished them for it can’t be overlooked.
And, with visions of Barcelona’s defeat last round fresh in everyone’s memory, there’s no chance now of Liverpool sitting back to defend their first leg lead—the mistake Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde made that in the end cost them the tie against Roma.
Not that, Barcelona defeat or not, there was ever much chance this Liverpool would be complacent. Roma will have to attack, and that will give the Reds chances to get their own away goals. There’s still work to do, but Liverpool have earned a commanding lead.
“We know we still have 90 minutes to go so we have to remain concentrated,” Wijnaldum added. “But we have to be happy we scored five goals. The last game against City was 3-0 and we were all satisfied and it is the same situation we are all in now.”