Wednesday 23 January 2019

'You've got to kill it off' - Steven Gerrard criticises Liverpool for switching off and conceding two late goals

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final against Roma. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final against Roma. REUTERS/Phil Noble Newsdesk Newsdesk

Liverpool have given themselves a huge opportunity to qualify for the Champions League final in Kiev on May 26 after a 5-2 first leg win over Roma tonight

Mohamed Salah produced a performance to cherish as the Egyptian magician inspired Liverpool to a famous win against former club Roma - and perhaps a place in the Champions League final.

His first half brace set Jurgen Klopp's side on their way and he turned provider for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino before the Brazilian grabbed the host's fifth on the night.

Salah was called ashore with 14 minutes of normal time and Roma gave themselves a glimmer of hope through Edin Dzeko's strike and a Diego Perotti penalty after James Milner was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was pleased with the result but lamented the two late Roma goals.

"When you go 5-0 up, you've got to kill it off," he said on BT Sport 2. "You've got to be professional, keep focus right to end. Liverpool have come down the gears towards the end and paid for it, given Roma a glimmer of hope."

Ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand felt Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco was responsible for his team's downfall.

"I think the Roma manager has to take full responsibility for the result tonight," he said. "It's not often you sit here and say a manager is at fault completely for a team's performance.

"I think today he let his players down, the way he set them up. He set them up almost certainly to lose this game, the way they played - a high line at the back against a team that play quick football.

"I question whether he's even seen Liverpool play this season, the way he set them up."

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was also astounded with the visitors' tactics.

"Roma came here and almost gave them a free pass to the final," he said on BT Sport 2. "Their tactics were incredible, the way they set up.

"Liverpool were brilliant in the way they ripped them apart, but it will be mixed emotions at the end.

"I'm sure (Klopp) will be really upset because they've given them a small glimpse. But this Liverpool team, and the way Roma played tonight, showed they can score goals next week as well."

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson felt his side could have scored more goals and felt the penalty awarded against James Milner was "harsh".

He told BT Sport: "We were disappointed with the two goals we conceded, we felt we were in control. We gave them two goals and you can't really do that in the Champions League.

"We go there with a three-goal advantage but it will be hard given what they did against Barcelona in the last round.

"I felt we were still in control but didn't play football as much in the last 20 minutes, but we still had chances to score. We gave them the (Edin) Dzeko goal and that brought a few nerves, I don't really know why.

"I thought the penalty was harsh, I thought his arms were by his side."

On the Reds' scintillating attacking play, Henderson added: "Some of the runs and some the balls in behind were brilliant and we're probably disappointed not to score more. I fancy us to go there and score as well with the forward players we've got."

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