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UEFA Champions League: 5 talking points for Liverpool vs Roma

Seven goals were scored on an unforgettable European night at Anfield.

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

Those watching Liverpool vs Roma were left breathless for seven goals were scored as the Reds emerged triumphant 5-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final at Anfield on Tuesday night.

After a slow start, Liverpool started to put the Italian side to the sword with former Roma man Mohamed Salah running riot, but there was to be a twist in the tale.

As is often the case with Jurgen Klopp’s side, they were unable to hold on to a massive lead as the Wolves came roaring back in the closing stages to score two crucial away goals.

Here are The Statesman’s 5 major talking points from a breathtaking encounter in Liverpool:

Mohamed Salah for Ballon d’Or?

Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Liverpool F.C., UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Liverpool vs Roma, A.S. Roma
Salah (R) continues to shatter record after record! (Photo: AFP)

 

In all probability, the biggest individual prize in world football will be decided between a certain duo but Mohamed Salah, at the very least, deserves to make the podium.

The Egyptian’s made his €42 million (rising to €50 million) price tag look like a bargain with his goalscoring exploits and on Tuesday, his former side were the latest victims as he fired in a first-half brace and he followed it up with two assists on the other side of the interval.

Without any disrespect to Cristiano Ronaldo, there’s another thing scoring a plethora of goals and completely another thing singlehandedly dragging your team across the finish line.

Yes, the likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are in the midst of their best-ever seasons till date, but the way the reigning PFA Player of the Year waltzes past defenders before finding the back of the net with a golazo is a sight to behold.

Regardless of whether Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League, this man (who’s now got 43 goals in all competitions) deserves to be a serious contender when the world’s elite gather in Zurich next year.

Attacking verve or calamitous defending? Take your pick…

Daniele De Rossi, Edin Dzeko, Liverpool F.C., UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Liverpool vs Roma, A.S. Roma
Roma didn’t know what hit them! (Photo: AFP)

 

Considering Liverpool’s terrific attack triumvirate, conceding five goals against them is not the worst possible outcome.

But it’s not how many you concede, but how you concede (sometimes both, actually).

Apart from Liverpool’s first two, both of which were classy goals from former Roma man Salah, all the other strikes were avoidable.

Salah was arguably offside for the third goal, but where the man-marking on the Egyptian for Mane’s strike?

A similar question was being asked when Salah set up Firmino for the fourth.

The kind of naïveté that the visitors showed while pressing forward was inexcusable and had it not been for the profligacy of Mane, Liverpool could well have been nearing double digits before the hour-mark.

And the less said about Firmino’s second and Liverpool’s fourth, the better.

How a 5’11 forward is allowed to head home unmarked from a corner is anybody’s guess and you couldn’t have said that the visitors were an Italian side, judging by their defensive inadequacies.

Unintentional by James Milner but still a penalty

Liverpool Fans, Liverpool F.C., UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Liverpool vs Roma, A.S. Roma
The Liverpool fans were out in full force! (Photo: AFP)

 

James Milner didn’t intend to stop the ball with his hands, but he did stop a goal bound shot illegally and hence, referee Felix Brych was correct in awarding the visitors a late penalty.

Diego Perrotti stepped up and cooly sent Loris Karius the wrong way, giving Roma hope that the tie wasn’t done yet.

How crucial will this decision prove to when the second leg comes around in a week’s time?

Liverpool still are in the ascendancy, but Milner’s ‘mistake’ may well prove to be decisive over the course of two legs.

Roma pressed for a third and while it didn’t come in the end, two away goals are better than one and the Italians will go home the happier of the two sides, one feels.

Liverpool looked like a different side in final 10 minutes

Jurgen Klopp, Loris Karius, Liverpool F.C., UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Liverpool vs Roma, A.S. Roma
No prizes for guessing what Klopp’s (R) trying to say! (Photo: AFP)

 

If Roma’s defenders were all over the place for large swathes of the tie, Dejan Lovren and Co. returned the favour in the final 10 minutes to allow the Italians a glimmer of hope.

The Croatian has never truly looked comfortable in a Liverpool jersey, that’s not a secret but after Virgil van Dijk’s arrival, Liverpool’s defence had looked in far better shape of late.

At 5-0, there was no way back for Roma. Right? Wrong!

For this is Liverpool and just when you thought that they were home and dry, the Merseysiders shot themselves in the foot.

Yes, they still hold a considerable advantage, but conceding two goals at home when you should have shut out your opponents made Jurgen Klopp a very, very unhappy man indeed.

One would have thought after letting a two-goal lead slip against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, they had learnt their lesson but apparently not.

No wonder the Liverpool players looked ‘defeated’ in their post-match interviews.

Tie very much in the balance despite Reds’ considerable lead

Sadio Mane, Liverpool F.C., UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Liverpool vs Roma, A.S. Roma
Will Liverpool come to rue Mane’s misses? (Photo: AFP)

 

After Roma’s heroics against Barcelona in the last-eight, anything is possible.

A three goal deficit is no longer insurmountable in the UEFA Champions League, we know that by now after having seen Juventus claw

The return leg in Rome will be an interesting one for you can bet the Giallorossi will seek to mirror their strong start in the first leg next week.

Jurgen Klopp’s teams are a delight to watch from a neutral’s perspective but ask any Reds fan and they will tell you that sometimes you can finish your nails as games come to a close.

They need to be able to see out games and it cant be put down to a one-off, this is becoming a trend and Klopp will need to sort out the issues before the return leg.