XtraTime Web Desk: Another dramatic game of football, another dramatic result. And yes, Liverpool are now officially through to the final of the Champions League, for the first time since 2005 after a thrilling semi final against AS Roma.
Way back in August when Liverpool was sweating its way through the playoffs just to qualify for the Champions League group phase, going all the way to the final wasn’t even on the Reds radar.
Not after a season in which Liverpool didn’t even play in Europe.
Not when no one could have imagined that Mohamed Salah would develop into a scorer to rival Lionel Messi. Or that Liverpool would score a Champions League-record 46 goals — surpassing the mark set by Barcelona in 1999-2000.
Yet 10 months later, Liverpool is going to face two-time defending champion Real Madrid for the most coveted trophy in club football.
Liverpool advanced to its first Champions League final in more than a decade despite a 4-2 loss at Roma on Wednesday.
The Reds scored two early goals and that was all they needed to advance 7-6 on aggregate after a 5-2 win in the first leg of the semifinals.
“We came in as a qualifier and now we’re in the final,” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said. “Now we will go to Kiev, which sounds crazy but is the truth. We will go to Kiev.”
Sadio Mane took advantage of a misplaced Roma pass to put Liverpool ahead nine minutes in and Georginio Wijnaldum restored the advantage with a header after Milner’s own goal.
Edin Dzeko equalized for Roma early in the second half and Radja Nainggolan scored two late goals for the hosts as the Giallorossi narrowly missed out on another miracle after their stunning 3-0 second-leg victory over Barcelona in the quarterfinals.
“Tonight was all about getting the job done,” said Liverpool midfielder James Milner, who scored an own goal.
Madrid beat Bayern Munich 4-3 on aggregate in the other semifinal.
“These fans deserve to be in the final, and they’ll have a great time in Kiev regardless of the result,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said. “We ended up losing tonight, but they threw everything at us.”
Roma was left feeling aggrieved about two penalty decisions that weren’t given.