Jurgen Klopp's heroes put Liverpool closer to a place in the final of the European Champions League with a stunning first-leg 5-2 win Tuesday night over Roma at a noisy Anfield Stadium, Xinhua reports.
The sounds of two great anthems rang out as the players arrived on the pitch, Liverpool singing their famous "You'll Never Walk Alone," with competition the Curva Sud singing "Roma, Roma, Roma".
It seemed to take the home side a good 20 minutes to get into their stride, not helped when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlaind was stretchered off after sustaining a nasty knee injury in a clash with Aleksander Kolarov. Minutes later Kolarov gave Liverpool its first scare, with a shot at goal. Luckily for the home side the woodwork came to the rescue.
That seemed to signal a wake-up call for Liverpool, and after a few near misses, the Reds were rewarded with a goal at 35 minutes by Mo Salah. Ten minutes later, just before the half time whistle Salah did it again. It could have been 3-0 had Sadio Mane's successful shot at goal not been ruled offside. All was forgiven when Mane played a key role in helping Salah score his first.
It gave Liverpool a comfortable two-goal cushion at the start of the second half, with the Kop army willing their team to score a third to give them a head start when they make the journey to Italy for the second leg.
Fears that Roma would make an assault on the Kop end of the ground were soon dispelled when Mane caught a pass from Salah to earn a third for Liverpool just 11 minutes into the second half. Just six minutes later Roberto Firmino scored, helped by a Salah pass. Minutes later Firmino netted his second, giving Liverpool an incredible 5-0 scoreline.
It was clear Roma were not giving up hope of at least gaining a consolation goal, or two. A near miss by Kolarov was a sign of things to come. And just nine minutes from time, Edin Dzeko put Roma on the scoresheet, giving the Italian side a second wind as it became clear they would take on the home side to the final second.
Some teams may have given up all hope with such a mountain to climb, but not Roma. A gift for Roma came when a penalty was awarded after a handball inside the box by James Milner. With great ease Diego Perotti planted the ball in the back of the net.
After trailing 5-0 for a large slice of the game, Roma will be more than consoled that they have bagged two crucial away goals as they prepare to entertain Liverpool for the second leg.
It's 10 years since Liverpool reached the semifinals of the Champions League, and Klopp is hungry for a piece of silverware. First though, his boys have to overcome an equally hungry Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.