Jamaica Gleaner / LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
Mohamed Salah produced two world-class finishes and set up goals for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, to lead Liverpool to a 5-2 win over former club Roma yesterday, leaving the English team in sight of the Champions League final.
Salah’s display was as exquisite as Roma’s defending was naive, with Liverpool scoring all of their goals in a breathtaking 33-minute spell either side of half-time amid a cauldron of noise at Anfield.
The Italian side came back from a 4-1 first-leg loss to Barcelona in the quarter-finals, and consolation goals in the final nine minutes from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti has given them a similar deficit to overcome.
In the latest virtuoso performance of his stunning first season at Liverpool, Salah curled a shot into the top corner in the 36th minute and doubled the lead in the 45th, with a dinked finish that is fast becoming his trademark. He is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions, with potentially five games left.
“Outstanding, pretty much undefendable,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said of Salah. “He is playing a season that is not normal.”
The Egypt forward wasn’t finished there, taking advantage of Roma’s high defensive line to provide right-wing crosses for Mane and Firmino to score almost identical goals in the 56th and 61st minutes, respectively.
Firmino glanced home a header from James Millner’s corner in the 69th to leave Roma’s players on the floor.
Liverpool moved on to 38 goals for this season’s competition – 11 more than any other team – but cannot begin preparing for the final in Kiev on May 26 quite yet.
Dzeko chested down a long pass to make it 5-1 in the 81st and when Milner handled a shot from Radja Nainggolan, Perotti converted the penalty in the 89th.
“The tie is not over, we have already proven that against Barcelona,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. “Whoever doesn’t believe in a comeback should stay home. That applies to the fans in the stands as well.”
Bayern Munich play Real Madrid in the other semi-final, with the first leg in Germany today.