Web Desk(April 25, 2015): Liverpool, inspired by two-goal Egyptian Mohamed Salah, took a big step towards the Champions League final with a 5-2 win over AS Roma in their semi-final, first leg at Anfield on Tuesday.
Two late Roma goals, however, will give the Italians, who came back from 4-1 down to beat Barcelona in the previous round, some hope of an upset in the return game next Wednesday.
A pair of superbly taken goals from Salah, against his former club, gave Juergen Klopp’s side a 2-0 lead at halftime and Liverpool simply ripped Roma apart after the break.A Sadio Mane goal and then two Roberto Firmino goals put Liverpool 5-0 up and Klopp felt comfortable enough to take off Salah, who had been outstanding.
Yet Edin Dzeko struck for the visitors in the 81st minute and four minutes later Diego Perotti converted a penalty to generate some tension for the return in Rome.
Liverpool fans left Anfield with some of the shine of a wonderful attacking display removed by the two late goals and they may wonder why Klopp decided to take off Salah and why their team took the foot off the gas.
Just as against Manchester City in the previous round, Liverpool had shown the sheer potency of their attacking trio.
If Roma’s defense struggle half as much at the Stadio Olimpico, Liverpool will surely be heading to Kiev for the final on May 26 to face Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, who meet in the other semi-final on Wednesday.
Roma began brightly, unfazed by the Anfield atmosphere, as they closed down Liverpool and attacked with intent down both flanks.
The mood of the home crowd worsened in the 18th minute when midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was taken off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a serious injury after a sliding tackle on Aleksandar Kolarov.
Liverpool looked edgy and they came close to falling behind when Kolarov unleashed a fierce drive from 30 meters which keeper Loris Karius rather unconvincingly got a hand to as the shot thundered against the crossbar.
That served as a warning for Klopp’s side, who responded in devastating fashion.