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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE- ROUTE TO THE FINAL- LIVERPOOL

  • by admin
  • May 21, 2018
  • Hits: 60
  • 0

Liverpool took the long route to the Champions League final, starting their journey to Kiev with a play-off tie against German side Hoffenheim. The Reds prevailed 6-3 on aggregate, blowing Julian Nagelsmann’s side away with three goals in eleven minutes in the second leg at Anfield. It was a taste of things to come for the Reds in the Champions League.

After returning to the Champions League for the first time since the 14-15 season, the home tie against Sevilla proved to be a baptism of fire for the Reds, with French attacker Wissam Ben Yedder scoring just five minutes into the tie. Liverpool rallied impressively in the first half, with strikes from Roberto Firmino and Salah giving them a lead heading into the second half. The Reds continued to impress before Joaquin Correa struck 19 minutes from time to level the score at 2-2. A nervy 1-1 draw away at Spartak Moscow followed, but Klopp’s side was about to find their feet in the Champions League. 

A big 7-0 away win to Maribor got Liverpool moving in the right direction. Three goals in the opening  15 minutes from Firmino, Coutinho and Salah set the tone as Liverpool played some sumptuous attacking football to breeze past the Slovenians. Maribor put up some resistance in the game at Anfield, but still, Liverpool ran out  3-0 winners. 

An away trip to the south of Spain to Sevilla was next for Klopp’s side who by now was firing on all cylinders in the attack. This was perfectly shown as Liverpool rushed into a 3-0 lead with just 30 minutes on the clock. However, for all their attacking verve,  the Merseyside team had defensive fragilities which were ruefully exposed by Sevilla in the second half. A brace from Ben Yedder set up a grandstand finish before a stoppage-time equalizer from Guido Pizarro completed a famous fightback, as Sevilla would go on and create their own history later in the competition. 

The Reds rounded off the group stages in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow to confirm their place in the next round. A game which saw Philip Coutinho score a hat-trick in his final European game as a Liverpool player before his big-money move to Barcelona in January. Onwards to the knockout stages. 

Knockout Stages

Having topped the group, a two-legged tie against Porto awaited in the round of 16. Liverpool wasted little time in their first leg away encounter with the trio of Firmino, Salah and Mane all starring. Mane, in particular, impressed scoring a hat-trick for his side. The Reds breezed past their Portuguese opposition to win 5-0. 

 Unrelenting moving forward, Liverpool scored five goals unanswered away from home essentially sealing their place in the quarter-finals before the second leg began. After a goal heavy first leg, the second one ended in a 0-0 stalemate, safely through to the quarters Liverpool now had to focus on a contest against a local rival. 

Up next was the challenge of Manchester City who under Pep Guardiola had stormed all before them and had a comfortable lead at the top of the Premier League. Although Klopp’s side did have the advantage of inflicting City’s first league defeat in the season with a 4-3 home win in January. 

The first leg again saw Liverpool flying out of the blocks with goals from Salah, Oxlade Chamberlain and Mane ensuring that the Reds had a 3-0 lead at the break. Whilst in the second half, Liverpool defended doggedly to deny City an away goal with young wing back Trent Alexander Arnold impressing in his battle with Leeroy Sane. Liverpool had a 3-0 lead going into the second leg. 

The second leg emphasis was on Man City, who needed three goals to force extra time.  An early goal from Gabriel Jesus set Liverpool fans nerves off, however second-half strikes from Salah and Firmino firmly put Klopp's side in the box seat, giving the Reds a 5-1 aggregate win.

Into the Semi-finals and Liverpool avoided the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and were tasked to beat Italian side Roma who was fresh from their heroics of overturning a 4-1 first leg deficit against Barcelona to beat the Catalans 3-0 dumping out the Spanish side on away goals. 

Understandably much had also been of Mohamed Salah facing his former club. Fresh from picking up the PFA player of the year award on Sunday, Salah was again inspiring for his side grabbing a brace of Liverpool defeated Roma 5-2, although conceding two late goals took the gloss off the result. 

Whilst the second leg proved to be a topsy-turvy encounter for Liverpool, two early goals from Mane & Wynaldum effectively sealing the contest. Despite being 7-3 down, Roma mounted a creditable comeback scoring three goals in the second half to end the contest at 7-6. Not for the first time, Liverpool defensive fragilities were exposed in the Champions League. 

Liverpool will now be hoping their historic run in this seasons competition will culminate in the Reds lifting their sixth European crown

 

 

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