Irrepressible Mohamed Salah fires five-star Liverpool until late Roma double raises old doubts

Sam Wallace
Mohamed Salah celebrates his first goal for Liverpool against his former club Roma discreetly - REUTERS

Jurgen Klopp called it “all-inclusive football”, or in other words a night when Anfield witnessed the demolition of Roma followed by what they hope was not a chilling sequel, that being the start of another momentous comeback when these two clubs reconvene for the second leg next Wednesday.

This is already a remarkable Champions League semi-final and quite how Roma still have a faint chance for the second leg is hard to understand when Eusebio Di Francesco’s players mostly looked a team with the wrong tactics, against the wrong opponents on the wrong night. At five goals down they had been cut to pieces by one man in particular, the footballer who may yet turn out to be the outstanding individual in this Champions League season and many more to come.

Mohamed Salah bewitched Roma with two goals and two assists, and for the bits that even he might consider impossible, there was an away defence willing to wave the 43-goal attacker through the gaps. Others have defended Salah with their lives, because that is the only way to play against him, but his former club left him under the responsibility of the Brazilian defender Juan Jesus who by the end needed saving from himself.

By the time Salah was substituted, Liverpool had long since smelled blood and been clinical with the chances they had created - two further goals for Roberto Firmino and one for Sadio Mane, and a place in the final in Kiev on May 26 looked inevitable. Kevin Strootman approached his bench and seemed to be asking Di Francesco in bald terms what the hell his manager thought he was doing and given that Roma were trying to stop Salah with Jesus and a prayer that seemed a fair question.

liverpool roma grid

JJ • 27 mins

Salah walked off the pitch at 75 minutes, having acknowledged his own contribution with the humility of a man who clearly felt that he had wrought more than enough pain on former friends without ostentatious goal celebrations. Perhaps he took with him the aura of Liverpool’s invincibility or perhaps Klopp’s team were always destined to tire at the end of a tie that they controlled on 75 minutes.

Mohamed Salah celebrates his first goal for Liverpool against his former club Roma discreetly Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

The ball that Radja Nainggolan clipped over the head of Dejan Lovren for Edin Dzeko to chest down and score was, Klopp said, one of those things that can happen on nights like these in spite of what he regarded as a brilliant performance from his Croatian. The penalty that referee Felix Brych awarded for James Milner’s handball was the wrong decision, Klopp said, but the substitute Diego Perotti buried his penalty with rather more confidence than those Roma players of in the 1984 final.

Liverpool vs Roma player ratings

Klopp said that he found it hard to let his mood fly too high although that was nothing to do with Roma’s two goals, and rather more to do with the fact that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was carried off on a stretcher in the first half with what is expected to be a serious injury to his right knee. It seems not a question of whether he will be at the World Cup finals but whether he will even be back in time for next season.

A cruel blow for the young Englishman who has done so well to establish himself in Gareth Southgate’s plans, not to mention this great ending that Liverpool’s season is promising. The second leg alone is set up to be one of the classics with Roma trailing Liverpool by three goals, the same margin from which they reeled in Barcelona in the previous round. Klopp pointed out that this Liverpool team are not Barcelona, “who won it all” and was eager to emphasise that the appetite not to mess this up burns stronger than usual.

Roberto Firmino, left, and Mohamed Salah scored two each as Liverpool raced to a five-goal lead Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It was a commanding result but it could have been so much better after a first half which Roma started positively, clearly in a mind to score a goal and coming very close to doing so. Later their manager Di Francesco would seek to blame the lapses in the second half on his players failing “to win their duels” as if mindful that his own tactics were likely to be identified as the chief reason why they were so out of their depth.

They had the first major chance, a shot from the former Manchester City man Aleksandar Kolarov who struck a left-footed drive on 18 minutes that Loris Karius seemed to lose mid-flight and only managed to push onto his own bar – and then at last Salah took over.

Roma v Liverpool

Mane had three sights of goal in the first half, from which he missed the first two and then scored the third, having strayed offside in the build-up. The first two came within a minute of one another and when the second was also dispatched over the bar there was chastisement in the groan from the home fans which Klopp immediately picked up on. He turned to them and demanded they encourage the team.

At the centre of those two chances was the excellent Firmino with that magnetic touch of his and he would be key in setting up Salah’s second. In the 36th minute, Salah was inside the box on the right side again with enough space to pick his spot, striking such a good shot that goalkeeper Alisson was nowhere near it. For his second, Salah guided the ball into the path of Firmino, the Brazilian holding off Kostas Manolas and freeing his team-mate Salah to run clear and lift a shot over Alisson that bounced delicately into the Roma goal.

Firmino is given his first goal on a gilded plate by Salah Credit: Marc Atkins/Offside/Getty Images

If the end of the first half had been decided by the brilliance of Salah then the start of the second was something much worse for Roma, the proverbial bloodbath. The third and fourth goals of the night were created by Salah, both times released down the right wing and carefully picking his pass for chances that Mane and then Firmino could not miss. Roma conceded the fifth direct from James Milner’s corner which Firmino nodded past Alisson.

Neither of the two teams who have previously scored five in a Champions League semi-final first leg in the history of this competition have failed to progress to the final. Roma’s two goals came later with Salah off the pitch, and while they changed the mood in Anfield at the final whistle, the belief seems to prevail that when Salah is on the pitch then anything is possible.

10:05PM

Jurgen Klopp speaks

A long time a perfect performance. Eighty minutes were up. Defensively we make one mistake and Dzeko is good enough. We agree the penalty is not a penalty and now it's 5-2. I would be more happy if we won 5-0 or 5-1 but i could not imagine [before] 5-2. We go there and we try to win. How we played them, all these runs behind, it was brilliant. e scored these goals, we could have scored more. that sound's crazy in a Champions League semi-final. It's all positive. We are Liverpool, it's all-inclusive football, we have to go the hard way. Oxlade is probably a really bad injury, a massive blow, of course. The crowd was magnificent, we need that on Saturday. Nothing less will do. 

9:49PM

Jordan Henderson speaks

We're disappointed with the goals, you cannot do that in the Champions League. It'll be a tough challenge but we've got to take confidence from the performance. We didn't play enough football in the last 20 minutes but we still made chances. We gave them the Dzeko goal and then the nerves set in. I didn't think it was a penalty, it looked harsh. Some of the balls we played in, I'm disappointed we didn't score more. Going there will be a challenge.  

9:40PM

Full time

What an extraordinary match - Roma played well for the first 20 minutes and the last 10 but were absolutely mullered for an hour as Liverpool, full of swagger, pace, intelligent movement and confidence shredded their poorly set-up defence. Salah was outstanding, a genuine Player of the Year performance but without the understanding between him and Firmino and Mane and their contributions, he wouldn't be so effective. Roma, proud to the last, grabbed a couple back to stop the door slamming completely shut and will take solace that where but the Eternal City does hope spring, erm, eternal. 

9:36PM

90+3 min

Liverpool switch to a back three but will face one final attack by conceding a free-kick deep in the Roma half. Ings, playing wide right. Heads out the intended long pass up the flank. 

9:34PM

90+2 min

Liverpool substitution: Firmino off for Klavan. 

9:34PM

90+1 min

Liverpool fans whistle with concerted ferocity. Florenzi shoots at Karius. 

9:33PM

90 min

Nainggolan's shot from 18 yards is deflected wide for a corner which Roma waste. There'll be four minutes added on. 

9:32PM

88 min

Schick makes a great run across field and plays in Perotti cutting into the box from the left but he scuffs his shot.

 

9:30PM

87 min

Hell's teeth - Liverpool decide to have a kip. Dzeko chips Karius from 25 yards and he scrambles back s it trims the top of the bar. The atmosphere punctures like a popped balloon as Dzeko beats Alexander-Arnold down the right and crosses to the near post. Perotti cannot turn it in from the near post. 

9:29PM

86 min

Brilliant penalty, chipped insouciantly into the top right corner. 

 

9:27PM

Goal!

Liverpool 5-2 Roma (Perotti, pen)

roma penalty

JJ • Now

 

9:27PM

Roma penalty

Nainggolan shoots that hist Milner's leg and arm.  

9:26PM

83 min

Now Dzeko shoots from 18 yards, but drags it. This time Henderson's missed tackle creates the opening. 

9:25PM

81 min

Daft mistake from Lovren who never concentrates for the whole game. He mistimes his leap to clear Nainggolan's ball over the top that sails over him. Dzeko traps it and finishes coolly. Class act. 

 

9:23PM

Goal!

Liverpool 5-1 Roma (Dzeko)

dzeko goal 1

 

9:23PM

79 min

And here's Liverpool's fifth:

Firmino beats Fazio to score Liverpool's fifth Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

 Roma's players continue to bicker with their manager. 

9:21PM

77 min

I genuinely haven't seen such a dreadful defensive performance during a supposedly elite game since Brazil's in the 2014 semi-final. Liverpool are happy to take their time now as Allez x3 echoes round the stadium. 

9:18PM

75 min

Mohamed Salah is substituted. On comes Danny Ings. 

Firmino turns in Liverpool's fourth Credit: Dave Thompson/AP

 

9:16PM

74 min

Lovren goes into the book for a hack at Strootman. 

9:16PM

73 min

Kolarov and Strootman combine down the left and the Dutchman clips an outswinger towards the back post that Schick meets and heads low, but too close to Karius. 

9:14PM

72 min

Roma players keep consulting their manager Eusebio Di Francesco as if they're utterly bereft of ideas or trying to persuade him to change something.  His defensive tactics have been naive beyond belief. Has he seen Liverpool play? 

9:12PM

70 min

Francesco Totti, picked out in the crowd, has a face like thunder. And no wonder as Firmino gets up to meet a corner and heads it in under so little pressure that it was as if Roma have run up the white flag. 

 

9:10PM

Goal!

Liverpool 5-0 Roma (Firmino)

goal 5 liverpool

JJ • Now

 

9:10PM

66 min

Roma substitutions - De Rossi off for Gonalons. Perotti replaces Juan Jesus. 

Sadio Mane makes it three Credit: Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

 

9:08PM

64 min

Strootman and Milner fly into a tackle and the former comes up wincing, the latter smiling. 

9:07PM

62 min

Salah adds his second assist to his two goals by exploiting Kolarov's loss of the ball, Salah again shuttles inside, skins the hapless Juan Jesus and tees up Firmino for a far-post tap-in. Roma are being trounced.

 

9:04PM

Goal!

Liverpool 4-0 Roma (Firmino)

This is the most one-sided semi since Brazil vs Germany.

Firmino goal

 

9:03PM

60 min

Robertson weaves through the box and is block-tackled as he tries to stab a shot in from about eight yards. This is ridiculously relentless from Liverpool. A proper thrashing. 

9:02PM

59 min

Kolarov makes encouraging progress up the left, picks out Schick who has to lean back to reach it and scrapes a shot over the bar. 

9:00PM

56 min

Alexander-Arnold bends a long ball up the right to Salah who was, I think, just offside. No flag so he glides into the box and from a range of options, picks out Mane for a simple tap-in.

 

8:58PM

Goal!

Liverpool 3-0 Roma (Mane)A hot knife through butter. 

Liverpool goal 3

 

8:57PM

54 min

Goodness. Manolas makes a terrible error, trying to dribble out and can't deal with the high press, panics and loses the ball to Firmino who taps it up to Mane who was needlessly offside. 

8:56PM

53 min

Lovely touch from Salah through the middle threatens to put him one-on-one with Alisson but Fazio, more by accident than design, intercepts. 

8:55PM

52 min

Every challenge on a red shirt is claimed as a foul by the crowd for a spell. Lovely turn from Wijnaldum with a deft flick of his right foot before he spins and chips a 40-yard pass out to Salah on the right. His cross hits Jesus on the chest - the crowd wants a penalty but the referee does not yield. 

8:53PM

51 min

One-two between Firmino and Salah almost opens up the inside-right channel for the latter striker, but Manolas gets round the back to knock it behind. 

8:51PM

49 min

Roma are trying to take the sting out of this. Kolarov dinks it up to Schick who fouls Lovren as they challenge for it though not as painfully as Lovren makes it out to be. 

8:50PM

47 min

Milner tries to control the ball on his knee 30 yards out, doesn't quite and it catches Strootman on the arm. The crowd bellows 'hand ball' and the ref gives the free-kick that is pumped straight into the wall. 

8:48PM

46 min

Roma have made a substitution, bringing Patrik Schik on for Cengiz Under and changing to 3-5-2. 

8:41PM

And here's his second

The run to twist Juan Jesus' blood, turning him out to the left before cutting inside, was majestic and a touch sadistic.  

Mohamed Salah scores Liverpool's second Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

8:38PM

Mohamed Salah

 Has been irrepressible for 20 minutes. 

Mohamed Salah scores his second against his former club Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

8:36PM

Half time

Liverpool struggled for 20 minutes and then it was as if the fog dissipated, they could see clearly and knew exactly what they needed to do. Subsequently they have bombarded the Roma goal, run the opposition ragged, bypassed their classy midfield and turned it into a game of angles and pace to expose the gaps between keeper and defence, defence and midfield.   

8:33PM

45 min

Dzeko's cross from the left is cut out by Van Dijk and Liverpool break like lightning. The whacked clearance is won by Salah who stuns it in his own half, lays it off to Firmino who spurts forward with Salah beside him. At the right moment he releases it to Salah who feigns to go out, but instead tacks straight and chips Alisson as the keeper raced out in desperation, trying to make himself big. What a finish. What a player. 

 

8:30PM

Goal!

Liverpool 2-0 Roma (Salah)

liverpool goal 1

 

8:29PM

44 min

Lovren makes a run round the back, untracked, and has a free header from the corner, steering it harmlessly close to Alisson. 

8:28PM

43 min

Salah skates in from the right and passes to Firmino. Wijnaldum makes a clever run to distract Juan Jesus and opens the space for Firmino to shoot but his shot strikes Manolas and goes behind for a corner.  

8:27PM

41 min

Robertson launches a 60-yard ball over the top for Wijnaldum who had made a clever run and the substitute whacks a low daisy-cutter with his left that the excellent Alisson saves low to his right. Here's Salah's finish:

Salah (not pictured) puts Liverpool ahead Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

 

8:25PM

39 min

Should have had a second. Lovren wins an aerial challenge at a corner, towering over his marker, meets it perfectly on the meat of his brow and steers it on to the top of the bar. Roma are reeling and rocking. Di Francesco is screaming at them to tighten up. 

8:23PM

37 min

Henderson wins the ball in midfield from a hesitant Dzeko, moves it up to Firmino who brings it forward and passes to Salah, now back on the right. He glides across the 18-yard line then arcs a glorious shot with his left foot up and over Alisson so that it kisses the underside of the bar en route to the back of the net. Delightful finish. What a player he is. 

 

8:20PM

Goal!!

Liverpool 1-0 Roma (Salah)And it's a peach. 

liverpool goal 1

 

8:20PM

34 min

Liverpool put the ball into the net - Mane - from a Robertson cross crafted by Milner's pass. But mane was offside when Milner passed, never mind when Robertson centred. Liverpool have read the manual and grasped how to pull this defence apart now. 

8:18PM

33 min

The BT Sport analysts - Hoddle and McManaman - think Salah has lost his confidence because Fazio has managed to tackle him. 

8:17PM

32 min

Liverpool get behind the back three again without seemingly breaking sweat and this time Salah is the man with the chance but he smarts Alisson's palms diving to his right with his shot rather than firing it towards the left side of the keeper. From the corner Roma look all at sea until De Rossi wins a towering header. 

8:15PM

31 min

And now he's missed another opportunity after Liverpool exploit a high line to free Firmino down the inside-right channel and he shifts it inside for Mane to shoot but he slips and slices it miles over. 

8:15PM

30 min

Oh! Mane is played in behind by a great Firmino pass and has a 40-yard run to goal with the ungainly Fazio in pursuit. He gets to the edge of the box, Alisson comes out and Mane spanks it with his left 2ft over the bar. 

 

8:13PM

28 min

Milner curls it into the box, aimed towards the right but Juan Jesus leaps up to meet it and knock it clear. Roma hold their shape and give Liverpool no space between the vertical and horizontal lines when they move it gradually away from danger. 

8:11PM

26 min

Alexander-Arnold sends in a right-foot cross from the touchline, intended for Mane's late run across Fazio, but it;s too close to Alisson. A minute later Juan Jesus uses his strength illegally to fell Sane. Liverpool free-kick 30 yards out, dead straight. 

8:10PM

24 min

Juan Jesus is quick and strong, holding off Salah as the winger chases a flighted diagonal clipped from left to right and Roma clear their lines.  

Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers a match-ending knee injury Credit: Dave Thompson/AP

 

8:07PM

21 min

Dejan Lovren makes a rash challenge on Cengiz Under as he runs into the box. He steps across him and catches his foot but the attacking midfielder didn't go down. Anfield gasps. Very bright start from Roma. Dzeko's touch has been immaculate so far. 

8:06PM

19 min

From the corner, Liverpool head it out and Kolarov spanks a 25-yarder that swerves and dips. Karius makes a right Horlicks of it, moving too far to his left then scrambles to push it with his right hand on to the cross bar. Good recovery. Oxlade-Chamberlain leaves on a stretcher.

 

8:03PM

17 min

He can't continue - Wijnaldum replaces Oxlade-Chamberlain as Roma take a corner earned by Dzeko's astute turn around the corner for Florenzi that Lovren had to knock behind. 

8:02PM

15 min

A length delay while Oxlade-Chamberlain injures himself in a tackle with Edin Dzeko. He landed awkwardly and seems to have twisted his right knee when Dzeko fell on him. After treatment he gets up on to his haunches then collapses, his leg buckling. They take him off for further treatment. Wijnaldum goes for a jog up the touchline. 

7:59PM

13 min

Salah is played in up the right by Alexander-Arnold's long pass up the line but it skirts the whitewash and bobbles out as the winger tries to control it. From the throw, Dzeko holds it up brilliantly, shifts it to Kolarov and bombs into the box for the left-wing cross that instead sails down Karius' throat.

The flags are out on the Kop Credit: AP Photo/Dave Thompson

 

7:57PM

11 min

Florenzi gets in behind Robertson but De Rossi's long, diagonal skips off the wet turf on its first bounce and skids behind for a goalkick. Good run by Florenzi, though, and the right idea from the World Cup winning midfielder. 

7:56PM

9 min

Nainggolan goes down when Van Dijk stands on his foot. The Dutch defender protests but he did catch him. Lovren heads the free-kick from the centre-circle clear and up to Salah who is brought down by Juan Jesus, inadvertently slipping on the slick grass. The referee ignores it. 

7:54PM

7 min

Now Oxlade-Chamblerlain has a dig from 25 yards and scuds a low shot at Alisson. Nainggolan goes up the other end and screws a shot from the right wide of the far post and halfway to the corner flag. This is so open.

Running repairs required Credit: BT SPORT

 

7:52PM

5 min 

Salah picks the lock by winning the ball with his chest, turning to slip through a pass down the inside right channel. Firmino looks offside but he isn't flagged - and there's another reason for that, too, his flag is broken. Firmnio scoots towards the right post, goes too far and his shot skitters across goal and out towards the corner flag.

 

7:49PM

4 min

Salah cuts in from the right, exposing Roma's phenomenally high line, and steers a left foot shot into Alisson's hands. He was aiming for the far post. Loads of space behind Roma's back three. 

 

7:48PM

2 min

De Rossi wins a challenge with Milner, shifts the ball left to Dzeko to hold up and and Roma pick out Strootman in the middle, 20 yards out. He shoots, whipping a crisp shot that bends into the arms of Karius. 

 

7:46PM

1 min

Roma kick off and attack from left to right, playing it back to Alisson who pumps it long for Dzeko. He wins the header on the left and pops it off to Nainggolan whose ball up the line is shepherded out for a Liverpool throw. 

7:42PM

BT Sport

Has just shown the Kop singing YNWA. All three of their pundits - Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard thibnk Liverpool will win. Out come the teams. 

7:40PM

One Liverpool fan reportedly injured outside Anfield

 

7:35PM

A scuffle outside Anfield

An isolated incident by most accounts but not very edifying for all concerned:

 

7:31PM

Jurgen Klopp speaks - what are your aims? 

A good game and a result we can work with. We cannot get a result without a good game. it's a strong side, obviously. They pay the same system they played against Barceloan so it's a big honour. It's exciting - they have a mix of experience, youth, threat; if you go through our line-up it's the same. We always play our football, we don't want to concede but we want to score as well. We want to see a performance before we talk about a result. 

7:23PM

Ay up - it's cultural appropriation time

But done very well ... 

 

7:17PM

From Sam Dean outside Anfield

Genuinely phenomenal atmosphere on the streets of Anfield as the Liverpool fans waited for the team bus. The chants of "Allez! Allez! Allez!" bounced off the houses, while the smell of flares filled the nostrils and stung the eyes. The relentless rain made it feel more real, more raw. Hoods down, shoulders back, volume up. The only problem is that the club shop doesn't towels...

Anfield by torchlight Credit: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

 

7:02PM

The gathering of the clan

 

6:59PM

Another perspective of the Roma bus's arrival

What a difference not coming from Manchester makes ...

 

6:58PM

The Roma coach's arrival

Roma bus arrives unmolested Credit:  Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

 And elsewhere the miracle of Anfield ...

Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

And an improvised podium 

Fans stand on top of a police van amid smoke from flares outside the stadium before the Champions League semi-final Credit: Dave Thompson/AP

 

6:52PM

Those teams in the traditional format

Liverpool Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane. 
Substitutes Mignolet, Clyne, Wijnaldum, Klavan, Moreno, Ings, Solanke. 

Mo Salah's boots are put out before the match Credit: Jan Kruger - UEFA via Getty Images

Roma Alisson; Fazio, Manolas, Juan Jesus; Florenzi, De Rossi, Strootman, Kolarov; Cengiz Under, Nainggolan; Dzeko.
Substitutes Skorupski, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Perotti, Schick, Gonalons, Bruno Peres, El Shaarawy. 

Referee Felix Brych (Germany)

6:43PM

Auld Lang Syne

Radja Nainggolan greets old mucker Mohamed Salah.  

 

6:39PM

Meanwhile outside Anfield

I've heard of community policing ... Merseyside police are more lenient than when I were a lad. Try sitting atop a black mariah back then and you would have been eating truncheon. 

Liverpool fans sit on top of a police van Credit: Peter Byrne/PA
Liverpool fans fashion perches atop Merseyside police vans Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

 

6:37PM

Henderson plays

The captain starts in central midfield - no Joe Gomez on the bench.

 

6:36PM

And Roma have gone for a 3-4-2-1

 

6:35PM

The teams are in

 

6:29PM

This is a lovely read

Mo Salah in Egypt

 

6:28PM

And who'd be in your Roma XI?

Pick your Roma starting XI to face Liverpool at Anfield

 Again the defence is pretty settled so it would be Nainggolan, Strootman, De Rossi and Florenzi in midfield for me, Perotti and Dezeko up front. 

6:22PM

More film from Sam Dean on the streets

Some Everton fans are insisting they're all Norwegian. I haven't been to Anfield for years - 14 now since we were relegated - but I do remember there were plenty of Scandinavians over the morning of that match.

 

6:16PM

Half an hour before the teams are announced

Who would be in your starting XIs

Pick your Liverpool starting XI to face Roma at Anfield

 I think the back four and keeper are obvious as are the front three. In midfield I'd go with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner and Wijnaldum. Other opinions are available ...

5:57PM

Our man Sam Dean has sent us some footage from Liverpool L4

 

5:54PM

Roma's anthem mash

Roma have played a blinder this week and this is another gem:

Thinking about the coach, surely Liverpool fans won't attack it. Those with memories of trips to Italy know how unsettling and dangerous an experience it can be without any provocation. 

5:21PM

The programme cover

What are we supposed to call them now? You can't beat the Fabs but without Coutinho we can hardly persist with that analogy, unless we cast Phil as Pete Best and draft in another member. Doesn't seem fair. The Big Three - for all one's love of Some Other Guy, though not their version - is hardly fitting. Suggestions welcomed - and please, not the Three Amigos. No one wants to be Chevy Chase.

 

5:03PM

Good afternoon

And welcome to live coverage of the first leg of the Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Roma from Anfield. You'll have seen some lovely pieces over the past few days, collated on the handy links below, on the 1984 final, the tragedy of 'Ago' Di Bartolomei, the remarkable insouciance of 'Barney' Kennedy and Bruce Grobbelaar and Joe Fagan's extraordinary self-assurance.

Champions League semi-final | Liverpool vs AS Roma

This is Liverpool's first semi-final since defeating Chelsea in 2007 on penalties when Buddha Benítez sat cross-legged on the touchline as Dirk Kuyt crashed in the winner at Anfield. But Jurgen Klopp's last was in 2013 when hos Dortmund side turned up the volume to 17 and beasted Real Madrid from the first whistle in the first leg, Robert Lewandowski scoring all four in the 4-1 victory that won the tie after 66 minutes of the 180. If you wanted a template for how Liverpool did the same to Man City in the quarters, you only have to replay that match.

Will they try the same high tempo start against Roma, playing their first semi-final since they stole it off the Terrors back in 1984? I think they will. In fact I think they must for that is how Klopp's teams shine.

We will have team news as soon as it drops and all the build-up from Anfield including the arrival of the Roma coach and its reception by Liverpool fans. If they have heeded Klopp's imprecations, armoured glass won't be required tonight. Uefa's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body meets on May 31 to decide Liverpool's punishment for that act of vandalism and intimidation. An encore tonight would have even more serious ramifications.