Last night at Anfield, it was more likely a battle between Egyptian football emperor Salah and the rest of Roman Empire. In which, The Romans got destroyed by Liverpool’s Egyptian king Salah. Roma went home with a massive defeat. More importantly, they have a pair of hope awakening away goal with them.
34 years ago, Liverpool and Roma were in a face to face battle in UEFA Champions League (called European Cup back then) knock out stage for the very last time. Roma lost that final in tie-breaker. Since then, it is their second reached to the semi.
In this whole season, Liverpool was formidable at Anfield. But, after making an impossible comeback against Barca in the quarters, people were expecting an exciting battle from Roma.
The spotlight supposed to be on Liverpool’s Egyptian wonder Mohamed Salah from the very beginning. And it was so. Salah Started to dominate in the scoresheet in the 36th minute of the match, while his astonishing left foot shot took place at the top right corner of Roma’s post. Perhaps, no one from Roma’s defence was expecting that sudden shot from him.
The next one was a Salah-Firmino combined work in an excellent counter-attack from Liverpool in the added time of first half. Firmino received a long ball, which was cleared from their box. Then he passed it to Salah, Salah passed it back to Firmino and took a cross run in between three Roma defenders. Finally, Salah has the ball from Firmino just in front of the keeper at the age of the box and placed it to the left bottom corner of Roma’s post.
His immediate reaction after scoring that two-goal was a remarkable example of amenity towards his ex-club supporters. He raised his both hand in the air as he is apologizing for what he just did. In fact, he didn’t celebrate any of his goals.
In the second half, Salah came out with a role of craftsman for his team. The 3rd and 4th goal was just a story of his capability of assisting. In the 56th minute, Mo Salah ran in into box from left the side and passed and minus the ball from the left post to right, Sadio Mané does the rest to put the ball into Roma’s net.
The scenario of the 4th goal in the 61st minute was almost a copy-paste of the 3rd one, but in this occasion, the scorer was Firmino. Firmino had his 2nd and team’s 5th goal in the 68th minute of the match with an excellent header from a corner kick. Somehow, that corner was taken by Salah, Milner took that instead of him.
What was running inside the heart of Roma fans during that moment? The facial expression of Roma’s all-time great Totti, who was seated at the gallery, would help you to understand that.
The most positive things happened to Roma in the 81st min of the game, when Edin Dzeko scored the first away goal for his team. In 85th min, Roma had a straight penalty when Kolarov’s shot struck Milner’s hand inside Liverpool’s box. Diego Perotti strikes the penalty and scored a very significant second away goal despite of that horrible match.
Why are we calling this so significant? I suppose, their heroic achievement against Barca does not vanish from your memory, inside this shorter period of time. So, the equation is simple for them, they have to beat Liverpool by at least 4-0 at home, or else they have to be satisfied with this journey to the semi-finals. And the way Liverpool is going right now, that requirement sounds almost impossible for Roma. But who knows? What is ahead in the second leg?