As Mohamed Salah latched onto the perfectly weighted pass laid into his path by Roberto Firmino, Anfield paused for a moment, as the Egyptian dinked the ball over Alisson, sending the crowd into ruptures. Jurgen Klopp, who was reserved in his celebrations for the first goal, joined in the party as Liverpool’s front three tore a hapless Roma.
The Champions League nights, the intimidating atmosphere at Anfield, the mighty Kop and above all, scintillating display of attacking football. This was the Liverpool of old, built by the legendary Bill Shankly and unassuming Bob Paisley. Fueled by passion and fearlessness which has seen them overcome the likes of City and put them on the brink of the final, Jurgen Klopp has them believing again.
At the beginning of the season, Liverpool fans could have only dreamt of this as Philippe Coutinho’s departure midway through the season threatened to curtail their season. But after an initial blip in form, the team put in an impressive run of form, with performances elevated on the European stage. The odd mistakes and frailties still lie, but this is team drilled with belief, which is why we have seen them blitz past City and Roma.
The first eighty minutes and the rest of the match represented two sides of Liverpool we have seen again and again since Klopp took charge of the club. The confident and unstoppable unit we saw initially is very much the kind of team which can put together a serious title challenge, while the complacent and nervous ten minutes towards the end is the perfect way to foil their ambitions. Brilliance aided by consistency will put them in the driver’s seat. Klopp knows this very well, with much work to do on the latter part.
The second leg in Rome was where Messi and co. lost the plot and Di Francesco’s men were a goal away from taking the game to extra time. Liverpool’s opponents in the final, Real Madrid will not give them second chances. There will no Kop and for the first time they will be facing seasoned opponents, who will not make mistakes such as leaving Mohamed Salah to roam free and give him dream one v one situations against defenders.
But Salah’s magic, Mane’s ability to stretch defences, Firmino’s industry are the weapons the German will rely on as we wait and find out who comes out on top in the showpiece in Kiev.