Liverpool see off spirited Roma to reach Champions League final

Liverpool saw off a spirited Roma fightback to reach their first Champions League final since 2007 with a remarkable ...

Posted: May 3, 2018 10:11 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 10:11 AM

Liverpool saw off a spirited Roma fightback to reach their first Champions League final since 2007 with a remarkable 7-6 aggregate victory.

Though Jurgen Klopp's men lost the second leg in Rome 4-2, the Premier League side did enough to progress to their eighth final, where they will face 12-time champions Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26.

Roma 4-2 Liverpool (Aggregate 6-7)

Liverpool qualify for first Champions League final in 11 years

Leading 5-2 after the first leg of the semifinal, goals from Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum should have put the tie to bed but the Italians hit back on both occasions, through Edin Dzeko and a James Milner own goal.

Liverpool weathered an early Roma storm in the second half and were left thanking the referee who missed two clear penalties for the home side.

Two late Radja Nainggolan goals, one a strike from distance and the other a stoppage-time penalty, ensured the closing stages remained interesting but they proved nothing more than consolations in what was the highest scoring semifinal in the competition's history.

READ: Mo Salah -- a day in the life of the 'Egyptian King'

READ: Mo Salah -- 'There's something very special about playing for Liverpool'

"We are all inclusive, sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't need it and after the game I'm fine with it," Liverpool manager Klopp told BT Sport.

"We should start winning (finals), I know that. I said it before the semifinal, everybody will remind me from now on that I lost the last five finals. It was a little bit more exciting than I would have wanted, but now it's over I'm fine.

"It's a final, the boys deserve it. The campaign, the character they've showed, the mentality they've showed, the football they've showed, it's just crazy. 7-6 on aggregate -- it's unbelievable."

Roma needed to make history

Roma, knowing only another historic night at the Stadio Olimpico would see them into the final -- they became the first team to come back from a three-goal deficit in the quarterfinals with a dramatic win over Barcelona -- started the match at blistering pace.

Inside the opening 30 seconds, Virgil van Dijk headed away an awkward cross by Stephan El Shaarawy as Edin Dzeko lurked menacingly behind him.

Liverpool's Dutch center back then did well to intercept a through ball aimed toward Dzeko, while another run in behind the defence by Dzeko had goalkeeper Loris Karius scrambling across his goal. Alessandro Florenzi also went close with a long-range shot.

READ: 'Mohamed Salah? He's like the Sphinx and the Pyramids'

READ: Is Mo Salah the best player in the world?

It was breathless but, unlike the quarterfinal second leg against Manchester City, Liverpool weathered the storm comfortably and, against the run of play, took the lead.

Radja Nainggolan under hit his pass back to Federico Fazio and Roberto Firmino pounced on the loose ball before threading a pass into Mane, who finished under the onrushing Alisson.

The only noise which could now be heard inside the Olimpico was the Liverpool fans repeatedly chanting 'allez, allez, allez.'

However, in the blink of an eye, Roma were gifted the smallest of lifelines.

Another ball into the box was seemingly dealt with by Dejan Lovren, but his clearance smashed into the side of midfielder Milner's head and ricocheted past Karius into the Liverpool goal.

Once again, the Olimpico burst to life; flags were waved and 'allez, allez, allez' was soon replaced by 'Roma, Roma, Roma'.

But their optimism lasted all of 10 minutes. Roma's defense, which had been generous to Liverpool over the two legs, again failed to deal with a cross and Wijnaldum nodded the ball past Alisson to give the visitors a commanding aggregate lead.

Mission impossible

Needing four goals to even take the tie to extra time, Roma to their credit continued to press forward in the hope of finding the goal that could prove to be the catalyst for another memorable comeback.

El Shaarawy, by far Roma's most dangerous player, had a shot which deflected off Milner and hit the post, before having an appeal for a penalty turned down.

Another shout for a penalty in the second half, as Dzeko was brought down by Karius, had Liverpool hearts in mouths, but they were saved by the linesman flagging for offside.

Replays showed the decision was a wrong one, but Roma continued to press forward and were soon rewarded with another goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was unable to intercept Daniele De Rossi's through ball and El Shaarawy cut inside and fired a shot towards goal. Karius was only able to parry the ball into Dzeko's path and the Bosnian striker made no mistake, firing his eighth Champions League goal of the season into the top corner.

To say Roma now believed they could qualify would be an overstatement, but they had at least given their fans a glimmer of hope.

It felt like an important period in the game; wave after wave of Roma shirts descended on Karius' box and the keeper made an important save from substitute Cengiz -nder on the hour mark.

The hosts should have been awarded a penalty, which arguably would have turned the tie on its head, but the referee inexplicably missed a clear handball by Alexander-Arnold as the defender blocked El Shaarawy's goal-bound strike.

Roma's players tired in the closing stages and rarely looked like threatening until, out of seemingly nowhere, Nainggolan scored two consolation strikes which again brought a slumbering Stadio Olimpico to life.

But it was too little, too late and it was Liverpool's 5,000 traveling fans who joyously celebrated as their team set up a meeting with defending champions Real in a repeat of the 1981 final.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 766351

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1052671804
Lake568691028
Allen42858698
St. Joseph37286568
Hamilton37260426
Elkhart29729470
Tippecanoe23441230
Vanderburgh23153404
Porter19568327
Johnson18807391
Hendricks18059321
Madison13518345
Clark13502198
Vigo12817255
LaPorte12558224
Monroe12529178
Delaware11124198
Howard10654237
Kosciusko9751123
Hancock8734149
Bartholomew8256157
Warrick8053157
Floyd8005181
Grant7349181
Wayne7234201
Boone7173105
Morgan6904142
Marshall6329116
Dubois6270118
Cass6085111
Dearborn600078
Noble597890
Henry5944111
Jackson515677
Shelby509897
Lawrence4914127
Gibson461596
Montgomery457592
Clinton454555
DeKalb453685
Harrison452476
Whitley415345
Huntington414081
Steuben410260
Miami405073
Jasper400455
Knox388091
Putnam384662
Wabash368783
Adams352256
Ripley351071
Jefferson341586
White339354
Daviess3089100
Wells302781
Greene292985
Decatur291693
Fayette285864
Posey280935
Scott278758
LaGrange277172
Clay273148
Washington253537
Randolph247583
Jennings238649
Spencer237931
Fountain234850
Starke229959
Owen222259
Sullivan219543
Fulton207845
Jay202832
Carroll197122
Orange190956
Perry189739
Vermillion180044
Rush177327
Tipton172347
Franklin171935
Parke154816
Pike141434
Blackford137832
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109615
Brown105943
Crawford105516
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8328
Union73510
Ohio58311
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1122647

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1302911493
Cuyahoga1171502259
Hamilton823481259
Montgomery534491059
Summit488581014
Lucas43734832
Butler39936614
Stark33800937
Lorain25996509
Warren24896312
Mahoning22685612
Lake21457396
Clermont20368260
Delaware19120138
Licking16842227
Trumbull16786491
Fairfield16762207
Medina15832276
Greene15499254
Clark14339308
Portage13417218
Wood13338201
Allen12043245
Richland11726213
Miami10998228
Wayne9251227
Columbiana9196236
Muskingum9119137
Pickaway8738123
Tuscarawas8714254
Marion8703140
Erie8126166
Ashtabula7272179
Hancock7044134
Ross7012165
Geauga6948153
Scioto6679108
Belmont6210179
Lawrence5917104
Union590449
Jefferson5723162
Huron5630122
Sandusky5482130
Darke5436130
Seneca5376128
Washington5362111
Athens526560
Auglaize507087
Mercer490685
Shelby481297
Knox4609112
Madison447266
Ashland443198
Defiance438499
Fulton435775
Putnam4351104
Crawford4110111
Brown409662
Preble3946107
Logan391679
Clinton389266
Ottawa375581
Highland365068
Williams356478
Champaign348360
Guernsey330254
Jackson321254
Perry298350
Morrow294643
Fayette288250
Hardin279165
Henry276967
Coshocton272561
Holmes2725102
Van Wert251665
Adams249258
Gallia249250
Pike244637
Wyandot235257
Hocking222663
Carroll201249
Paulding179442
Meigs151040
Noble137739
Monroe137545
Harrison115238
Morgan111524
Vinton87217
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 71°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
It's a steamy Wednesday with scattered showers and thunderstorms arriving Wednesday night.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events