The way Liverpool ripped Roma apart at Anfield was unlike any football I have ever known.
the way Manchester City is playing in this Premier League at this time of the season, they are playing so good that to many it does not seem real.
Liverpool have put on some affort in the Champions League before now in 2017-18, that When they went 5-0 up. I was left thinking ‘is this really happening?’
It was just so easy for Liverpool for them to play through the Italian side and it was totally contrary to what we are used to seeing in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
With my school of thinking – and I have won the European Cup – that normally doesn’t happen at this stage of the competition. It shouldn’t do.
though Roma’s two late goals have shifted the momentum slightly, because the game ended on a high note for them, not the Reds.
It also adds a question mark for the second leg at Stadio Olimpico on 2 May.
Despite their recent improvement at the back we are still not absolutely sure about Liverpool defensively and maybe there is a small element of doubt about what happens next.
At the same time, I am thinking that, if they get an away goal, it is all over. And you have to fancy Klopp’s side to score in Rome, you really do.
Not only are the Reds the highest scorers in this year’s Champions League, with 44 goals in 11 games, they will be up against a Roma team that has to push on and come at them.
It is very difficult playing a game where you know you need three goals but an away goal will kill you, especially against a team like Liverpool, whose strength is scoring.
How do Roma set themselves up, needing goals, but knowing what Liverpool’s attack can do to them? It is a huge ask for them.
Mohamed Salah’s story is Roy of the Rovers stuff. He is having an absolutely outstanding season and it keeps getting better for him.
He has been in spectacular form for months now, then finds himself in the semi-final of the Champions League and playing against his old club.
I just thought Roma would have him absolutely shackled, but obviously they didn’t. His two goals and two assists were proof of that.
He is part of a front three that is fit and fast and in, his case, in the form of their lives – in fact, Salah is basically on another planet.
|How Salah compares with the world’s best|
|Player||Games played||Goals||Assists||Shot conversion rate||Chances created||Shots on target|
I know some people felt Kevin De Bruyne should have won the Player of the Year award but you cannot really argue with the result after seeing Salah put in performances like this one.
The goals keep coming and, with 43 for the season, he is closing in on Ian Rush’s record of 47 goals in all competitions in 1983-84, the year I won the European Cup with Liverpool.
Playing with Rushie, it felt like he was going to score every time he got a sight of goal – like Salah is now.
Firmino was outstanding on Tuesday night too. Since Coutinho went, he has been unbelievable. He has been obviously been in the shadows of Salah, but what a player he has been.
Some fans have been moaning abut Mane’s form, saying he is not doing this or that – but he only looks ordinary in comparison to the other two, and the standards they are setting.
Put that trio together, and I cannot think of a better front three I have seen in British football.
‘Roma’s record means fans are unsure’
Tuesday’s game was a little bit Klopp-ish with the way Liverpool left everyone breathless with a burst of attacks and scored five goals in less than 40 minutes, before they had a couple of wobbles.
Then everyone was suddenly thinking about getting through the second leg rather than enjoying how special this display was.
But if you had offered Liverpool the chance to win by three clear goals before the game, everyone would have said what a fantastic result. I am sure Bayern Munich would take that outcome against Real Madrid in Wednesday’s semi-final.
It is just because of the way the Liverpool-Roma game, and the goals, went that leaves people thinking ‘hold on, I’m not sure’.
Roma’s record plays a part too. They beat Barcelona 3-0 at home to overturn a 4-1 deficit in the quarter-finals and you could argue it would be one of the biggest results in the history of European football if they did it again against Liverpool too.
It would be a disaster if Liverpool went out now but if I was part of this Reds team, and heading for Rome with a 5-2 aggregate lead, I would be confident of making progress.
I can understand if Liverpool fans are a little bit apprehensive because they conceded so early on in the second leg against City, who should have been 2-0 up by half-time of that game.
Will Roma get chances? Absolutely. Are they as good as City? No.
But that does not mean Liverpool can take anything for granted about getting through the second leg and reaching the final on 26 May
I was expecting Roma to be a lot better defensively at Anfield but they still gave Liverpool a scare before the Reds took control of the tie.
With the score at 0-0, Loris Karius let Aleksandar Kolarov’s shot through his hands and on to the bar – if that goes in, it is a real game-changer – the whole night is very different.
As a player, when you are in big games and think you have got away with something like Liverpool did there, you start thinking that you are going to win.
I don’t think belief is much of a problem for this Liverpool side anyway, though, because Klopp is like their 12th man – he gives them this absolute total belief that they can do anything.
He also has them playing 100% the way he wants – with the gegenpress and their runs in behind the opposition defence, they are searching for a weak link all of the time. Every team has one, and at the moment Liverpool seem to be able to find it.
Would I say that Real or Bayern are brilliant defensively? No.
In the games where Liverpool have scored lots of goals, they have also totally dominated the ball.
Bayern and Real are used to doing that every week so, looking forward, possession will be the key if Klopp’s team make it to Kiev – they should do from here.