Liverpool survive Roma scare to reach Champions League final

Liverpool will play Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kiev

Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the first time since 2007, advancing 7-6 on aggregate despite losing a dramatic second leg to Roma.

A journey that started on 15 August in Germany against Hoffenheim in the play-off round will end on 26 May when Jurgen Klopp’s men face 12-time winners Real Madrid in Kiev.

Leading 5-2 after a devastating semi-final first leg at Anfield, Liverpool increased their lead in when Sadio Mane finished from Roberto Firmino’s clever pass.

An own goal by James Milner, after Dejan Lovren’s attempted clearance cannoned off his team-mate, levelled the scores on the night before Georginio Wijnaldum’s header made it 2-1, and 7-3 on aggregate.

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However, Roma scored three more times to give Liverpool plenty of anxious moments in the Italian capital.

Edin Dzeko gave the home side hope with his side’s second goal before Radja Nainggolan added two late goals, including a stoppage-time penalty.

However, Liverpool just about kept their hosts at bay to become the first Premier League club to reach the Champions League final since Roberto di Matteo’s Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in 2012.

Liverpool’s 5,000 fans inside the Stadio Olimpico celebrated wildly at the final whistle as several thousand more watched on big screens back at Anfield.

Cool heads, raging hearts for Reds in Eternal City

Liverpool are on their way to a third Champions League final in 13 years despite losing for the first time in this season’s competition.

The Stadio Olimpico evokes powerful memories for Reds fans.

It was the scene of their first European Cup triumph back in 1977 and they returned seven years later to break Roma hearts in the final.

Despite conceding three late goals, the venue was the scene of joyous celebrations as Klopp joined his jubilant players on the pitch at the full-time whistle.

The damage in the tie was done in the space of 33 minutes either side of half-time at Anfield, when the Reds rattled in five goals without reply.

Roma had given themselves a fighting chance by scoring two late goals in the first leg but any hopes of another memorable European comeback after their heroics over Barcelona in the previous round realistically disappeared when Mane made it 6-2 on aggregate.

Klopp one win from first Reds trophy

Klopp will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky when Liverpool head for Kiev later this month.

The 50-year-old German has yet to win a trophy since taking charge in October 2015 – his side lost the 2016 League Cup to Manchester City on penalties at Wembley before going down to Sevilla in the Europa League final three months later.

Klopp has a chance to write his name in Liverpool’s history book by becoming the fourth manager to lead them to a European Cup/Champions League triumph after Bob Paisley (1977, 1978 and 1981), Joe Fagan (1984) and Rafael Benitez (2005).

Yet the former Borussia Dortmund boss has struggled since winning the 2012 German Cup final.

His past five finals have all ended in defeat, a statistic that will have to end if Liverpool are to be crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time.

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