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UEFA Champions League: 5 talking points from Liverpool vs Roma

The Reds hung on for dear life to set up a final with Real Madrid

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

Roma left it late, but mustered a mighty comeback that eventually fell just short as Liverpool held on for dear life to reach the finals of the UEFA Champions League.

After the Reds’ 5-2 triumph in the first leg at Anfield last week, they were always favourites to progress to Kiev and quickly took the lead on Wednesday night at the Stadio Olimpico.

The hosts responded and while they tried their level best, the second leg remained deadlocked at 2-2 for the major part before a late surge made it 4-2 on the night.

Time, however, was not on their side and the match referee sounded the full-time whistle, Liverpool went through to the finals on the back of an incredible 7-6 aggregate victory.

Here are the five main talking points from a breathtaking tie in Rome:

Both sides denied clear penalties

Six goals were scored in 90 minutes but one can only wonder how many more would have been registered had match referee Damir Skomina got all key decisions right.

The first contentious incident was when Sadio Mane was clearly pushed by Kostas Manolas inside the box in the opening exchanges.

With Liverpool comfortable at that stage, there weren’t too many appeals from their end but one wonders if the scoreline had been closer then…

Then in the 20th minute, Liverpool were lucky not to concede a spot-kick as Dejan Lovren clearly handled the ball but the match official took the side of the Reds as he felt Patrick Schik had pushed the defender in the build up.

The second-half had a major incident early on, with Edin Dzeko rounding Loris Karius before being brought down by the custodian inside the penalty area. A stonewall penalty, only for the linesman to (incorrectly) signal for offside.

Reds fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold clearly stopped a goal bound shot late in the second-half too, but once again the officials failed to spot it and the Reds lived to fight another day.

In the end, Liverpool did just about scrape by so the aforementioned incidents might just have swung the tide in the favour of the Giallorossi on another day.

Roma can hold heads high after running out of time

With 13 goals scored over the course of two legs, Roma (and Liverpool) gave it their all and boy was it a delight for fans to watch.

The Serie A giants were effectively written off midway into the first-leg but the way they responded to score two goals was commendable, to say the least.

Then, the second leg saw them get off to a stuttering start and the way it ended, Roma were definitely on top as Liverpool hung on for dear life somehow.

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With the final kick of the game, they came within a goal of forcing extra-time but did they give it a real swing and this semi-final was much closer than it had initially made out to be.

Credit to Liverpool for not taking their opponents lightly and it’s good they didn’t, for Roma may well have nicked it otherwise.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren need to up their game ASAP

Much has been made of Real Madrid’s shaky defence after their narrow victory over Bayern Munich in their semi-final, but Liverpool’s backline needs to get shored up on a priority basis.

Since no reinforcements can arrive, with the transfer window being closed, Jurgen Klopp will have to make do with what he has at hand.

Dejan Lovren had briefly started to look like a proper defender again but it seems even Virgil van Dijk can’t save the Croatian from becoming the most lampooned character in the Reds set up.

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And Trent Alexnader-Arnold has had a excellent season for the Reds, but in Rome he had a night to forget and it’s not just down to the fact that he missed routine aerial balls for two of Roma’s goals, but his overall game was just off and a more experienced side like Real Madrid will definitely make Liverpool pay.

Little over two weeks left before the showdown in Kiev and you don’t to be an expert to pinpoint Liverpool’s weaknesses at the moment.

Liverpool don’t let off-field issues distract

Had Roma completed an improbable comeback, the headlines would have been blaming Jurgen Klopp’s right-hand man’s abrupt exit just before a crucial clash as the reason behind their loss.

Whether or not the former assistant becomes the Arsenal manager, as he is being touted by some outlets, and if he really has taken a break for ‘personal reasons’, there were plenty of rumours doing the rounds.

Thankfully, for Klopp especially, Liverpool just about did enough to get over the line.

Yes, they did lose their unbeaten record, but Klopp will take it as he eyes his first UEFA Champions League title.

Real Madrid vs Liverpool promises to be a rollercoaster of a final

Real Madrid have a host of top stars, not least a certain Portuguese but Liverpool’s fab three have been outstanding this season and they will be backing themselves to go all the way.

Los Blancos, after dominating the continental competition for the past four seasons, are very much the favourites but somehow you feel Liverpool will relish the underdog tag.

Both sides have plenty going for them and considering their rich history in Europe, neither will settle for a runners up medal.

Good luck trying to predict the outcome, but goals, goals and more goals are guaranteed.

Forget about tactical finals of the past, this time it will be ‘rock and roll football’f rom the off so you best fasten your seatbelts ahead of the May 26 showdown at the National Sports Complex in Kiev.