Liverpool 5-2 AS Roma: Salah shines as Reds dominate first leg

Mohamed Salah had a hand in four goals as Liverpool put five past Roma at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League Semi-Final clash.

Liverpool 5-2 AS Roma: Salah shines as Reds dominate first leg
Mohammad Salah points to the sky, a reserved celebration after scoring against his former club. (Getty)
Liverpool
5 2
AS Roma
Liverpool: Karius; Robertson, Van Dijk, Lovren, Alexander-Arnold ; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Wijnaldum 18'), Milner; Mane, Firmino (Klavan 90+3'), Salah (Ings 74')
AS Roma: Alisson; Jesus (Perotti 67'), Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov, Florenzi; Strootman, De Rossi (Gonalons 67'), Nainggolan, Ünder (Schick 46'); Dzeko
SCORE: 1-0 (35' Salah), 2-0 (45' Salah), 3-0 (56' Mane), 4-0 (61' Firmino), 5-0 (68' Firmino), 5-1 (81' Dzeko), 5-2 (85' Perotti)
REFEREE: Felix Brych (GER) Jesus (26' YC), Alexander-Arnold (39' YC), Lovren (74' YC), Henderson (85' YC), Fazio (88' YC)

It was an incredible match at Anfield this evening as Liverpool took a dominant lead in the first leg of their Champions League Semi-Final tie against AS Roma.

With the Kop roaring, Jürgen Klopp's juggernaut offence took some time to get going, but once the front three started gelling Roma stood no chance as the Reds netted five goals.

Salah and Reds too much for the visitors

The first half started off shaky for both sides. Liverpool looked strong early on until Roma settled into their formation. While the Reds struggled to string passes together, Roma mounted considerable pressure down the left side of the pitch through Cengiz Ünder.

The visitors had the first real chance of the half off of an early corner. The ball had been sent out to the top of the box, and Aleksandar Kolarov collected the ball, gathered his feet, and fired a rocket onto the crossbar. Loris Karius nearly muffed the save, but got enough on it to push it onto the frame of the goal. 

Liverpool were forced into an early change shortly after as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went down with a knee injury. His replacement Georginio Wijnaldum was slow to get into the game at first, with a lot of his passes and decisions coming far too slow. After he worked his way into the game, Liverpool completely took over.

Roma played a compact defence with a high line that caused problems for Liverpool. But then they started picking the back line apart with long balls over the top and the pace of  Mohammad Salah and Sadio Mane was too much. The space behind Kolarov and Alessandro Florenzi on the wings was easily infiltrated.

After plenty of pressure, it was another moment of brilliance for Salah as he opened up the scoring with a class goal. After cutting inside, Liverpool's leading goalscorer curled the ball with his left into the far corner, ricocheting off the inside of the crossbar.

Dejan Lovren should have added another goal, but couldn't guide his free header on target. But shortly after, Salah would make up for Lovren's miss and score his and Liverpool's second of the night. 

Roberto Firmino shook his defender and found Salah running into the middle. Alisson Becker came out to meet him, but the Egyptian lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net, right before the halftime whistle.

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Liverpool pile on the goals in second half

It was Roma that had to come out of half-time looking for goals. Liverpool's long balls in the first half had completely opened up the opposition, and with Roma looking to get forward, it only made things easier for the Reds.

Liverpool continued to surge forward, and  Mane was finally able to get on the scoresheet. After a couple of bad misses in the first half, he was able to tap home after Salah squared the ball back into the box.

It was a great assist by Salah, but the credit for starting the play belongs to Trent Alexander-Arnold. The youngster played a wonderful ball behind for Salah to run on before finding Mane. 

The Reds added another goal to their tally only four minutes later. Roma were completely over taken by Salah as he found the ball in the box once more. It was Firmino who got in on the scoring after Salah played a ball to the back post for the Brazilian to poke into the net. 

The scoring wasn't finished yet as Liverpool's offense completely took over, scoring their third in 12 minutes. It was Liverpool on a corner kick, and the ball into the box was sent into a pack of players. But it was Firmino's head that found the ball and turned it into the net.

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A Last Gasp By Roma

Salah got his curtain call after the fifth goal, and the visitors began to work their way back into the match following his exit. Even though Liverpool looked well in control, Roma found a way to put two past Karius in four minutes in the dying minutes of the match.

Lovren failed to mark Edin Dzeko, who found the ball in a dangerous area of the box. The veteran striker made no mistake and was able to fire past Karius to grab an away goal. 

Dzeko's goal was shrugged off, but the second goal shortly after was a cause for concern. James Milner handled the ball in the area, and Diego Perotti went high and right as Karius went low and left to score a second away goal.

Overall, it was a tremendous result for Liverpool. They head into the second leg with a 5-2 lead over Roma and a great chance at reaching the final in Kiev.

However, the Reds will have to be on alert for the second leg in Rome. The Italians have already overturned a three goal deficit this season over Barcelona. 

Jurgen Klopp has the Premier League to worry about this weekend, but he'll also be tasked with making sure his squad is focused next week if Liverpool are to avoid becoming Roma's next victim.