On This Day: AS Roma 4 Liverpool 2

After an impressive display at Anfield, Liverpool travelled to Rome to face Roma in the second leg of the Champions League. A place in the final was at stake for both teams. The winner would face either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid who are both European giants in this competition. 

Heading into the game the Reds led 5-2. A masterclass from the front three terrorised the Italian side in the first instalment of the two legs, however, late goals from Edin Džeko and Diego Perotti gave Roma some belief that they still had a chance of reaching the final and winning their first ever UEFA competition. 

The game was incredible – the roaring atmosphere around the Stadio Olympico provided the perfect platform for an exciting game of football. 

Jurgen Klopp’s men took an early lead after Sadio Mané’s thunderous strike made the task for the hosts that bit more difficult. The Reds were now in a demanding position to reach the final. 

As the clock was ticking on, the Liverpool fans were getting more and more excited about reaching the Champions League final – the last time the Reds achieved this was back in 2007. 

However, Roma’s attacking intent was clear and inside 15 minutes they found the equaliser after Lovren’s clearance cannoned off Milner and into the back of the net; a slice of luck for the Italian side. 

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The boos echoed around every time Liverpool had the ball, a hostile reception for the five-time European Champions. Then we witnessed a rarity – Wijnaldum scored away from home for the first time in his Liverpool career. 

Roma were still showing their fighting spirit as they believed they could turn this around. They were hoping to show the same spirit and determination that overcame a three goal deficit to beat Barcelona in the quarter-final stage. 

The game was exhilarating as both teams played with an attacking intent. 

Roma came out to battle in the second half, the 52nd minute saw Džeko fire the Italian side level on the night, however they still trailed 4-7 on aggregate. The hosts would continue to probe but the Reds managed to stop the danger from the attacking Italian side. Karius was called into action on more than one occasion, as well as the defence who managed to repel the monumentous pressure.

Liverpool were edging closer and closer to the final; goalscorer Sadio Mané departed after 83 minutes to be replaced by Ragnar Klavan, this showed that Liverpool were just hoping to hold out. 

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Radja Nainggolan had other thoughts as his rocket of a strike made it 3-2 to Roma on the night and then a harsh penalty given against Liverpool saw the Belgian reduce the deficit to one on aggregate; this led to a very anxious end.

The full time whistle was blown, the Liverpool players fell to their knees in relief and jubilation as the overriding of emotion of joy ran through every person who supports or works for Liverpool.

All of the players applauded the supporters, while the team supported Sean Cox with a banner – this was after he was seriously injured before the first leg outside Anfield. 

Liverpool’s amazing journey to Kiev, started on August 15 in Germany against Hoffenheim, the Reds then excelled through the group stage. Porto and Manchester City were next in the last 16 and the quarter-final at Anfield proved a decisive factor in Klopp’s men passing both these teams to face Roma. 

Liverpool were the first Premier League side to reach the Champions League final since Chelsea won the competition with Roberto Di Matteo against Bayern Munich in 2012. Didier Drogba scored the decisive penalty to win the title back then. 

Klopp’s record in finals wasn’t impressive. He hadn’t won a final in six attempts, this is with Liverpool (2), Borrusia Dortmund (4).

2018 wasn’t to be Liverpool’s year, but we all know what happened 12 months later…

 

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