Friday, November 16, 2018

Liverpool 5-2 AS Roma: Stunning Salah scythes down Romans as Reds put one foot in final

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Liverpool put in a stunning showing on Tuesday evening as they beat Roma 5-2 at Anfield in their Champions League semi-final first-leg.

Former Roma midfielder Mo Salah was arguably the man-of-the-match throughout the evening and bagged two stunning goals in the first-half to put Liverpool in control.

The Egyptian turned provider in the second-half as he set-up Sadio Mané for an easy finish ten minutes after the break. He then provided another just after the hour as he crossed to an unmarked Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian netted another with only 20 minutes to go with a header from a corner as Liverpool wracked up a huge score-line.

Edin Džeko and Diego Perotti pulled late goals back for Roma as Liverpool collapsed in the closing minutes but still head to Rome with a big advantage.

Chances galore at Anfield

The game started at a frenetic pace and Kevin Strootman and Mo Salah both had early efforts collected comfortably. Roberto Firmino did well to get in-behind the Roma defence but his cross-come-shot evaded a touch from a Liverpool shirt and rolled harmlessly away from goal.

The Reds took a huge blow within the opening 15 minutes after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went down injured following a challenge with Aleksandar Kolarov. He was replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Kolarov then went close to opening the scoring as he struck a stunning shot from distance. Lorius Karius misjudged the flight of the ball with it taking a deflection off of the stopper and cannoning off of the crossbar.

Mané passes up wonderful opportunity as grow strong

The Reds had two chances to open the scoring but both were passed up by Sadio Mané. The Senegalese was released by great play from Roberto Firmino. He raced away from Federico Fazio but somehow lifted the ball over the crossbar from close range.

The winger then found space in the box as he connected with another pass from Firmino. The ball was scooped up high and wide however.

Salah combined fantastically well to get beyond the Roma defence and looked to place the ball into the far corner but Alisson did well to palm the Egyptian’s low shot away. Anfield soon rose to its feet as Mané tapped home Robertson’s excellent cross but the strike was ruled out offside.

Salah strikes a sumptuous effort to open the scoring

The hosts did not have to wait very long though as Salah hammered home the opener. Following lackadaisical play in the Roma midfield, Firmino again found Salah on the edge of the area. Not closed down, the former Roma winger aimed for the top corner and hammered the ball into the net via the crossbar to send Anfield into raptures.

Dejan Lovren then struck the crossbar from a corner as Liverpool again went close.

Liverpool waltz away with the tie

In a first-half that Liverpool played stunningly well, they rounded it off with another eye-catching goal from their magical Egyptian. Tenacious play from Firmino again saw Salah run free and with a deft finish, lifted the ball over the advancing Alisson.

The match was all-but sewn-up just after the break. Alexander-Arnold picked out Salah with a long pass. The Egyptian took his time on the by-line and crossed towards Mané who had the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into the net.

It was almost as easy as Klopp’s men bagged a fourth. Alexander-Arnold again picked out Salah with a great flick. He skipped down the right-side and rolled the ball across the face of goal where Firmino was waiting to tap home.

Roma earn a chance late on

The rout continued mid-way through the second-half and it was Firmino who bagged again. Leaping high from a corner, the Brazilian headed low into the net to notch Liverpool’s fifth.

Karius had to be alert to save a powerful header from substitute Patrick Schick. He could do nothing though as Džeko pulled a late goal back for the visitors. Capitalising on a misjudged header from Lovren, the Bosnian forward finished coolly from close range.

The referee then gave a penalty to Roma in the closing minutes, adjudging that Milner had handled the ball in the area. Substitute Diego Perotti powered the ball into the top corner to notch another away goal. However, Liverpool did enough to earn a huge advantage as they head to the Stadio Olimpico next week.

Final Thoughts

Liverpool absolutely blew Roma away for the majority of the game. Liverpool, for the most part, were clinical, well-marshalled and hard-working. Their midfield was in excellent form and the three-pronged attack of Salah, Mane and Firmino caused chaos in the visitors’ backline.

However, their concentration has to be doubted as Roma scored two late goals to bring themselves within touching distance. All eyes will now turn to the second-leg next week where an away goal could be enough to secure Liverpool’s place in the final.

Match Report

Liverpool: Karius (6); Robertson (7), van Dijk (7), Lovren (6), Alexander-Arnold (8); Milner (7), Henderson (8), Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A) (Wijnaldum (8), 18′); Mané (8), Firmino (9) (Klavan (N/A), 90+3′), Salah (10) (Ings (6), 75′).

Roma: Alisson (5); Juan Jesus (4) (Perotti (7), 67′), Manolas (5), Fazio (4); Florenzi (5), De Rossi (5) (Gonalons (6), 67′), Strootman (6), Kolarov (6); Ünder (4) (Schick (7), 45′), Nainggolan (6), Džeko (7).

Goals: Salah (36′, 45′), Mane (56′), Firminio (62′, 69′), Džeko (81′), Perotti PEN (85)

Referee: Felix Brych

Yellow Cards: Juan Jesus (26′), Alexander-Arnold (39′), Lovren (74′), Henderson (85′), Fazio (88′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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