It wasn’t the 13-0 aggregate that we were hoping for but advancing passed AS Roma to the Champions League Final is an unbelievable achievement for Liverpool even at 7-6 between the two legs. The match at the Stadio Olimpico was, however, exactly as nerve-wracking as our guts told us it would be. But the Reds held on through the missed chances and the defensive errors to book themselves a flight to Kiev, giving Jürgen Klopp much kudos throughout the world for building this team and bringing them up.
“I have to start, and it’s easy to do so, with a big compliment for Roma,” said Klopp. “What a performance, what a comeback, what a brave football game.
“It was clear they would take the risk they took and we punished it with the first goal in a perfect way. We scored the first goal for them by ourselves. Unlucky, of course, a bit slapstick. We scored the second one.
“As long as we didn’t finish the game with a third goal it was clear they would do it exactly the same way.”
Liverpool were off the boil in Rome. All over the pitch the connections between players seemed weak. Mental fatigue as the match wore on, could have been a cause. But Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were all having trouble linking up from the get-go. Thankfully, none of that matters now and Klopp will have all the time he needs to work out the issues his players had in Rome and prepare the them for Real Madrid.
“There were always little rhythm breaks in the game and we controlled it again,” Klopp said.
“But especially in the high intense moments, we had brilliant counter-attacks but were not patient enough to finish them. Because we didn’t do that it was clear the game stays open and everything can happen.
“The three midfielders were pretty alone. After 1-0, it was not the plan but we gave them a little bit.
“They left four back and we had three up, that was not the plan because the pitch is too big. They can pass, we have to run. They had all these situations in the box and we defended these much too deep. In a game like this they should have been offside 20 times. That’s the story of the game.”
It wasn’t a match to brag about to your friends and family despite the progression to the final. A 4-2 loss doesn’t look too good but over the course of the Champions League season Liverpool have proven that they deserve to be at the business of this competition, fighting for silverware.
Sometimes you score an own goal because your head just happens to be in the wrong spot. Sometimes you get called for a handball in the box with .00001 seconds left on the clock. Sometimes those things don’t matter because you win anyway. Up the lucky Reds.
“It was the first time that we were not really as good as we can be, so we needed luck and that’s what we had. But, over the whole Champions League campaign so far, it is absolutely deserved. As I said before the game, it would have been deserved for Roma.
“For both teams it would have been crazy to play extra-time, two times 15 minutes. I have no clue how that would have happened! That would have been really crazy.
“It was 7-6 on aggregate, which sounds crazy because it is crazy. We came into the competition as a qualifier and are now in the final.
“I’m really, really happy for the boys, really happy for the club, really happy for our fans. It was a fantastic ride so far and now we will go to Kiev, which sounds crazy – but it’s the truth.”