Sunday 21 July 2019

John Giles: I'm torn on Liverpool's big win against Roma - the most complete display but an unforgivable ending

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

John Giles

MOHAMED Salah is not long a part of Anfield folklore but at this rate, he could end up as the most celebrated striker in a stellar list of Liverpool club legends.

Another stunning performance helped Liverpool take Roma apart and make a giant step towards the Champions League final but that old Jurgen Klopp defensive flaw reared its head again and left the door a few inches open for the Italians.

Coasting at 5-0 and playing extremely well, Liverpool had this semi-final in their pocket but gave up two late goals and suddenly, all the old doubts about Klopp’s team came flooding back.

It was a disappointment for me because they were well on the way to the most complete performance I’ve seen from them this season and to give two goals away like that was unforgivable.

But Salah is so good at the moment that his goals and assists more than compensate when things go wrong at the back.

Last night, he was a goal-scorer and provider and once again and Klopp had reason to be thankful that he is managing the hottest attacking footballer in the world this season.

Every year when they talk about the FIFA Ballon D’Or, they usually talk about Messi and Ronaldo but I think this year, Salah is the man everyone will be voting for.

As for Liverpool, as I said above, this was the most complete performance I’ve seen from them and even better than their demolition job on Manchester City until they leaked goals at the end.

Remember, Roma had to knock back Barcelona to get to this point so this was an impressive result for Klopp’s team.

I honestly expected a standard Serie A approach from Roma with a focus on defence but they came to play and pushed high up on Liverpool.

It was a bold approach and with Daniele De Rossi pulling the strings, took Liverpool by surprise.

Liverpool just couldn’t get hold of the ball and my mind went back to Manchester City in the first-leg of the quarter-final when they suffered in a similar way.

Roma could have scored twice and it didn’t look good for Liverpool but once again, they turned on the after-burners and simply blew the opposition away.

The front three applied the pain with Sadio Mane missing a couple of sitters as pressure mounted on Roma’s defence while Salah and Roberto Firmino’s ripped Roma’s high line to shreds.

Salah’s first was a peach, a sweet curled left-footer which squeezed in under the angle and his second before half-time even better, a beautiful chip over goalkeeper Alisson into an empty net.

Mane finally found his scoring boots after half-time and I was pleased to see Firmiho add the fourth. He was really excellent all night and put the icing on top with number five.

That should have been the goal that sealed Liverpool’s place in the Champions League final but up popped Edin Dzeko to score and then a penalty from midfielder Diego Perotti took the shine of the win.

Herald Sport

The Throw-In: Kerry back to their best, Connolly’s return and Cork’s baffling inconsistency

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport