Liverpool held off a spirited Roma fightback to reach the Champions League final 7-6 on aggregate despite losing a hectic semi-final second leg in Rome on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will play defending champions Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 after qualifying for their eighth European Cup final and first since 2007. The 4-2 defeat on the night in the Italian capital tested Liverpool’s nerves but they rarely looked in danger of losing the tie.First-half goals from Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum put Liverpool in control as Roma conceded their first goals in the Stadio Olimpico during this European campaign.
Despite Radja Nainggolan bagging two goals for Roma in the final eight minutes — the second from the penalty spot — there was to be no second miracle comeback for the Italians after last month’s 3-0 win over Barcelona in Rome.
It was another bitter defeat for Roma who lost the 1984 European Cup final to Liverpool on penalties in the same stadium.
“It’s the first time we weren’t realy as good as we can be. We needed luck and that is what we got,” said Klopp.
“7-6 on aggregate sounds crazy because it is crazy. We came in as qualifiers and now we’re in the final and will go to Kiev.
Roma threatened early with Alessandro Florenzi sending the ball wide in the opening minutes but the hosts paid for woeful defending, giving Klopp’s side space to gain an early advantage.Senegalese forward Mane got Liverpool off to a dream start after just nine minutes to the horror of the home fans.
Liverpool’s ticket to the final in Kiev looked well and truly booked after 25 minutes when Wijnaldum nodded in.
Alisson denied Mane but from the resulting corner Dzeko’s attempt to clear fell to the waiting Dutchman and he made no mistake.
Stephan El Shaarawy rattled the post on 35 minutes with Florenzi also firing wide, and Pellegrini showed how not to take a free-kick which was way off the mark.
Dzeko broke through seven minutes into the second half with the equaliser after Karius cleared the ball straight into the path of the Bosnian who fired in his eighth goal in 12 European matches.