Mohamed Salah celebrated his PFA award in style as the Egyptian scored a brilliant brace and set up two goals to help Liverpool thrash AS Roma 5-2 in their semi-final, first leg at Anfield on Tuesday.
A late wobble of the English outfit, however gives the Italians a glimmer of hope for yet another famous upset in the second leg in Rome after they beat Barcelona 3-0 in the previous round after going 4-1 down in the first leg to advance into the semis with away goal advantage.
In a dream like European night at Anfield, Roma the conquerors of Barcelona, were overwhelmed and humbled by the irresistible pace and fluidity of Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp’s side produced one of the best Champions League semi-final performance filled with passion, vigor and creativity unleashed by his famed attacking trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Salah curled home a superb goal in the 35th minute to the top corner from the edge of the box before chipping a class finish over Alisson after ten minutes to give the Reds 2-0 lead against his former team at halftime and the Egypian pulled the strings and provided inch perfect assists to Mane in the 56th minute and Firmino after five minutes to rip Roma apart in a blistering attacking football display.
Liverpool are the only Premier League team with multiple players directly involved in 40+ goals across all competitions this season:
• Mohamed Salah: 56 (43 goals, 13 assists)
• Roberto Firmino: 42 (27 goals, 15 assists)
And what. ?♂️ pic.twitter.com/j1ROycSOV8
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 24, 2018
Firmino headed from a Milner corner to make it an emphatic 5-0 inside 68 minutes as Klopp took off Salah perhaps keeping the second leg in his mind while Roma made a late rally to be in the tie by scoring two decisive away goals.
Bosnian international and the hero of the quarter final Edin Dzeko struck for the visitors in the 81st minute before Diego Perotti converted a penalty within four minutes to set the battle intact for the return in Rome’s Stadio Olympico.
Dzeko collected a wonderful drifted pass from Radja Nainggolan and drove past Karius while Perotti scored from the spot with great composure after Milner was caught handling Nainggolan’s shot.
FT | #LFCRoma 5⃣-2⃣
Two late away goals for the Giallorossi at Anfield. pic.twitter.com/Y9IaNYCGyX
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 24, 2018
Salah, the Egyptian King Steals the Show Again
In his debut season in one of the most competitive football league Salah has been creating positive vibes among the British spectators and creating global impact through the role model character in and out of the pitch. Various anti-Islamophobia right groups have already acknowledged the contributions of the icon of Salah making huge impact on the fan culture, behaviour and positively it resists the Islamophobia and racism prevalent in British soccer.
74: Salah makes way to a standing ovation! Brilliant shift. Two assists and two goals. ?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 24, 2018
Salah, the first Egyptian player to receive the PFA Best Player award has been in scintillating form as he grabbed 41 goals in all competitions for the Reds before going to the semi-finals of the Champions League against Roma on Tuesday.
The ever enthusiastic Liverpool fans even created their own Salah anthem as the Egyptian captain broke a number of records in his amazing run in the season so far and he was accepted as a symbol of Liverpool’s regained glory in English and European football.
“I didn’t have my chance at Chelsea. It was clear I would return and show everyone my football. I think I left and came back a different person, man and player.” Salah told about his achievement after receiving the award.
Klopp was emotional as well “On behalf of the LFC family, again, congratulations. It was a fantastic ride so far, but you know we have still a few yards to go. With the best wishes for your future here at LFC, [from] your manager.
“And now, please grab the trophy and come home – we play on Tuesday! See you then.”
Salah answered the call of his trusted manager and performed his duty better than ever. If the Miracle of Rome is not happening for a consecutive second time, the Reds will cruise to the final in Kiev considering the explosive weapons in their disposal.
10 – Mohamed Salah has scored 10 goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single season in European competition. King. pic.twitter.com/aJJkiIxis6
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2018
Klopp was full of praise for his players despite two late Roma strikes damaged a fairytale like scoreline and lost the service of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain due to a potentially serious injury in the first half.
“To be honest, the biggest blow for the mood in the dressing room is the injury of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Conceding two goals is not what you want, 100 per cent, but it’s not to change anymore and we can deal with that. That’s football. The boys played a brilliant game over a very long period, even the last few minutes when we conceded.” The German told in the post-match reaction
“If you think he’s the best in the world, write it or say it. He is in outstandingly good shape, in world-class shape, 100 per cent. That’s good. To be the best in the world you need to do that over a longer period, I think. There are a few others who are not too bad. He is a fantastic player and I’m really happy to have him.” The former Borussia Dortmund manager responded to a question whether Salah is the best player in the world.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard who led the Reds into an epic Champions League glory in 2005 labelled the Egyptian as the best player on the planet right now.
Steven Gerrard believes @MoSalah is currently the best player in the world. ?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 25, 2018
“He is in the form of his life,” said the former England super star.
“It’s difficult to compare him to [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi because they have done it for so long and they have been consistent year in, year out. But without a shadow of a doubt he’s the best player on the planet right now.” The Liverpool youth team coach added.
In the next match Liverpool host bottom side Stock City in a bid to extend their grip on the top four of the Premier League.