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Champions League semi-finals update

Liverpool v Roma, Bayern Munich v Real Madrid in Champions League Semis

Liverpool 5-2 AS Roma

Premier League giant Big Six club Liverpool soundly defeated Italy Serie A titans AS Roma in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Semi-final tie. “The boys did fantastically well, and we go there and try to win again” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp about the Reds upcoming second leg in Rome. “For a long time it was a perfect performance, for 80 minutes or so. We made defensively one mistake, and Dzeko can use the situation. That can happen. We knew they had quality. We could avoid most of that over the game, but in that position not,” continued Klopp. “Then I think we agree the penalty is not a penalty, not even a handball, and now it’s 5-2. I would be much more happy of course if we’d won 5-0 or 5-1, but it’s still a fantastic result, I couldn’t even imagine that it’s possible. The boys did fantastically well, and we go there and try to win again. You start the game, you always need to learn from the game. I thought how we played them, all these runs in behind, just brilliant. In the end, it changed the game completely. We scored these goals, we could have scored more. We missed a lot of chances. That’s all positive. In the moment it feels not that positive because they scored two goals. But it was brilliant, come on. We obviously have to go the hard way, no problem with that. At the end it’s hard. Oxlade-Chamberlain, it’s probably a really bad injury, if we can say that already. That means a massive blow for us. We have still a few massive games to go, and the squad doesn’t get bigger. We need to be creative in the next few games. It’s absolutely better than I thought before the game.”

Roma has come back from a major deficit before when they overcame a 4-1 first-leg deficit in the Stadio Olimpico against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals. So Klopp was shocked by his team’s carelessness giving up a solid 5-0 lead to take into the second tie. The goals occurred after Klopp withdrew mighty Mo Salah, who had scored twice and set up two of the three others. Roma soon scored two goals when Salah departed and Liverpool had to endure a tense finish against their reinvigorated opponents. Serie A’s third-placed Roma side were not in control and Liverpool attacked from every angle. The Red’s fans went wild with every goal. On the fifth goal Roberto Firmino headed in James Milner’s corner. At that stage, with 69 minutes gone, Liverpool was in a position to better the seven goals that Manchester United scored past Roma in the 2007 quarter-finals. However there was an unexpected end to the amazing evening as Roma finished with two of their own. There has never been a semi-final in the Champions League where more goals were scored – and there could have been more.

Salah scored his 42nd and 43rd goals of the season, while Sadio Mané added one and Roberto Firmino scored two of his own. Together, those three have accumulated a stellar 87 goals this Campaign. Manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma side were outclassed. The victory against Roma was a triumph for Liverpool who gave a scintillating performance to the delight of their fans and Klopp. Klopp’s team will travel to Italy for the return leg in a position of strength. Liverpool have inflicted grievous damage and should be confident about scoring more goals when the sides battle again on next week in Rome. Salah, the little guy with magic in his feet, held up his palms in front of the away end as if to apologize for his first-half goals. Salah scored 34 times in 83 appearances for Roma but this performance was perhaps his best ever. His first goal was a brilliant curling, diagonal shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar, followed by a strong second goal. Firmino slipped the pass through the middle and as Salah reached the ball with a touch to steady himself, a quick look up and then Mo chipped over Alisson, the Roma goalkeeper. Next Mo Salah slipped past Roma’s Juan Jesus before setting up Roberto Firmino for Liverpool’s fourth goal.

When current Premier League champions Manchester City played the Reds in the Champions League quarter-finals, Liverpool inflicted major damage by scoring three goals before half-time. Salah’s double came in the first half against Roma, and it seems that when the Reds are in a winning position, they go looking for more goals. Liverpool proceeded to attack from every angle, with Salah at the hub in the second half. But it is hard to find fault with their performance when they had scored five. However in a setback, Jesus, Roma’s left-sided centre-half, had to be substituted midway through the second half and Aleksandar Kolarov, the former Manchester City defender, did not have the speed or agility to keep up with the newly crowned Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year Mo Salah who gave an exceptional performance which made it surprising that Klopp removed him in the 75th minute. As a result, Liverpool lost their momentum and Lovren’s mistake let Edin Dzeko score before sub Diego Perotti added another from the penalty spot.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s World Cup dream is in the balance after suffering a knee injury in a challenge with Kolarov in the first half. The midfielder was taken off on a stretcher with his season hanging in the balance. Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed so badly hurt there are serious concerns he will be out for a while. Roma manager Di Francesco talked about his side’s loss. “We started well, but we lost too many duels in defense and then we lost our heads. We were in trouble, and we lost our unity. We kept a good attitude until the end.” Going into the game Jürgen Klopp spoke about his strategy. “First of all a good game, and then a result which we could work with. But we cannot get a result without a good game. That’s it. It’s a strong Roma side. Playing the same system like they played against Barcelona. So, big honor. It’s all good, and really exciting. It’s an open game. If you go through their line-up, it’s a mix-up of youth, experience, skills. If you go through our line-up it’s the same thing. You never go into the game and think about conceding goals. We always play our football. We don’t want to concede but we want to score, never at the cost of a leaking defense. It’s April, we worked together since July. We know how we have to play the game. But in the end, there’s a ball, 11 players on the other side, and you have to have answers for all the things. You need to learn from the game. It would be nice not to concede. We don’t think about a result at the moment, we think about the performance we have to do.”

Squads

Liverpool: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mané. Subs: Mignolet, Clyne, Wijnaldum, Klavan, Moreno, Ings, Solanke.
Roma: Alisson, Fazio, Manolas, Juan Jesus, Florenzi, De Rossi, Strootman, Kolarov, Under, Nainggolan, Dzeko. Subs: Skorupski, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Perotti, Schick, Gonalons, Bruno Peres, El Shaarawy.

Referee: Felix Brych

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

German giant club Bayern Munich face Spanish giants Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie at the Allianz Arena today, in a repeat of last season's quarterfinal clash. Jupp Heynckes's Bayern booked their place in the semifinals after beating Sevilla 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side defeated Juve 3-0 in the first leg in Turin. A turnaround in the return leg saw Real Madrid back three goals. The tie looked to be heading into extra time until Real were awarded a controversial last minute penalty by Cristiano Ronaldo that secured a 4-3 aggregate victory. Today’s game will be key in determining who advances to the Champions League final.These two European giants have met 24 times in the Champions League. The head-to-head record is even at 11-11-2, with Real Madrid barely edging Bayern in total goals during that span 37-36. Bayern Munich just won its sixth consecutive German Bundesliga title, has scored five or more goals in four of its past six games at home. Robert Lewandowski has led the attack for the Bundesliga giants, scoring 39 goals in 43 games in 2017-18.

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Buy legal, Champions League tickets including last-minute Champions League Final tickets securely online from the world’s top football tickets marketplace – LiveFootballTickets.com! Champions League tickets for Liverpool, AS Roma, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid. Tickets for today’s match in Munich are still available.

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