In the words of Jurgen Klopp it is “all-inclusive football”, or can we say it was a night when Anfield witnessed the demolition of Roma followed by what they hope would not be a chilling sequel, that being the start of another momentous comeback when these two clubs reconvene for the second leg next Wednesday.
Tonight was such a remarkable one, the champions league semi-final really took a new turn, these were “hot” teams and so it was really a tough one. How Roma picked up during the second half was amazing to watch because at five goals to none you would feel it was a terrible night for Roma because one man kept putting them in check and this man is on his way to becoming an outstanding player in this champion league season and even in times to come.
Salah bewitched Roma with two hot goals one at the 35th minute and the other one at the 45th minute, at this point Roma knew Liverpool was not here to joke, it was a serious something. At the end of the first half the Eusebio Di Francesco boys knew they had to work hard but it felt they were not yet ready to defeat Liverpool because at the 56th minute Sadio Mane scored a very nice goal and that made 3 goals.
Roberto Firmino blew our minds by scoring two goals at the 61st and 68th minute respectively at that point I felt all hope was lost for Roma. Salah walked off the pitch at 75 minutes, having acknowledged his own contribution with the humility of a man who clearly felt that he had wrought more than enough pain on former friends without ostentatious goal celebrations. Perhaps he took with him the aura of Liverpool’s invincibility or perhaps Klopp’s team were always destined to tire at the end of a tie that they controlled on 75 minutes.
The ball that Radja Nainggolan clipped over the head of Dejan Lovren for Edin Dzeko to chest down and score was, Klopp said, one of those things that can happen on nights like these in spite of what he regarded as a brilliant performance from his Croatian. The penalty that referee Felix Brych awarded for James Milner’s handball was the wrong decision, Klopp said, but the substitute Diego Perotti buried his penalty with rather more confidence.
Neither of the two teams who have previously scored five in a Champions League semi-final first leg in the history of this competition have failed to progress to the final. Roma’s two goals came later with Salah off the pitch, and while they changed the mood in Anfield at the final whistle, the belief seems to prevail that when Salah is on the pitch then anything is possible.
The man of the match? Don’t go too far, it is Mo’Salah.