Liverpool's wild ride in this year's Champions League got a little wilder on an almost surreal night at Anfield. Mohamed Salah tormented his old club with two goals and two assists to put the Reds in dreamland as they raced out to a 5-0 lead. Liverpool ran out of steam late on, though and Roma snatched the faintest of lifelines to just about remain in a tie that should have been well beyond them. There's never a dull moment watching Liverpool.
Everyone connected with the Merseyside club would have taken a 5-2 victory prior to the game so that should not be overlooked. This was a Champions League semi-final, usually tense, tight affairs, yet Liverpool completely blew their opponents away with a display of pace, skill and power that few sides on the planet are capable of. The late wobble should not overshadow that fact, as the Reds have put themselves in a great position to reach the final.
First and foremost, the injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, which looks like it could be serious. Beyond that, the worrying drop-off after 80 minutes should be a concern as it is not an isolated incident. Everton, Bournemouth and West Brom have all put Liverpool under pressure in the final 10 minutes of recent games too.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Jurgen Klopp undoubtedly won the tactical battle as the Reds went very direct and blitzed Roma with runners to absolutely shred their high defensive line time and again. Liverpool scored five but it could, probably should, have been double that. The substitution of Salah was a big turning point but Klopp should not be criticised for that as a manager should be able to sub his star man with a 5-0 lead and not have to worry.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Loris Karius, 5 -- Made a complete hash of a first-half shot from Aleksandar Kolarov and was very fortunate to see it come back off the crossbar. Had no chance with either of Roma's late goals.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 -- Another strong showing from the youngster who did not let an early yellow card impact his play. Defended well and showed glimpses of what he can do going forward, not least with a lovely flick to set Salah away to create Liverpool's fourth goal.
DF Virgil Van Dijk, 8 -- Cruised through the game and was rarely stretched as his defensive partner tended to be the one doing battle with the powerful Edin Dzeko. Comfortable in possession and showed a nice range of passing at times.
DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- It was all going so well for the Croatian until he got caught under an exquisite pass from Radja Nainggolan and allowed Dzeko to score. Until that moment he'd been outstanding and his aggression in attacking the ball was a big reason why Liverpool were able to play on the front foot so often.
DF Andrew Robertson, 8 -- Typically accomplished and energetic display from the Scot. Delivered one brilliant, late cross that should have been converted by Georginio Wijnaldum and had a shot of his own blocked after a lung-busting run.
MF Jordan Henderson, 9 -- Inspirational performance from the captain. Pressed intelligently and relentlessly and stopped potential Roma counterattacks at the source time and again with great strength and determination.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, NR -- Started brightly and had an early shot from distance that he didn't quite catch as he would have liked, but his evening -- and possibly his season -- was ended prematurely as he left the field on a stretcher.
MF James Milner, 9 -- As he has been all season in Europe, the experienced Milner was top class. His use of the ball was excellent, his work out of possession inspirational. He became the first player in Champions League history to record nine assists in a single campaign but then unluckily conceded a penalty late on when a shot struck him on the arm. How he was expected to get out of the way is a question for the referee to answer.
FW Mohamed Salah, 10 -- Wow. Just wow. If anyone was in doubt as to whether his PFA Player of the Season award was deserved, they surely can't be now. An incredible performance from the Egyptian. Two fantastic goals took his tally to 43 for the season and he then added a couple of assists just for good measure. Seems to reach new levels of excellence each week now.
FW Roberto Firmino, 9 -- Outstanding yet again. Led the line masterfully, laying on both goals for Salah in the first half while also scoring two goals himself after the break. That saw him equal Adriano's record for the fastest player to reach 10 Champions League goals, having done it in just 11 games. A great night's work for the Brazilian.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 -- If the Senegal man had been at his best then this tie would be over already. Whereas Salah and Firmino both brought their "A game", Mane was wasteful and hesitant. Two terrible misses in the space of a minute seemed to knock his confidence, but he did find the net later when he converted a Salah cross from close range. An off night, but expect him to deliver next week.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 9 -- The Dutchman's introduction for the unfortunate Oxlade-Chamberlain helped the Reds overcome a wobbly start. He kept the ball well and showed good strength in possession, but it was his surging runs off the ball that repeatedly opened up the Roma defence and created space for his teammates. One of his best performances for the club.
FW Danny Ings, NR -- Replaced Salah and the game started to drift as Liverpool's intensity dropped. Had little chance to attack and spent most of his time tracking back as Roma grabbed a late lifeline and went hunting for more goals.
DF Ragnar Klavan, NR -- Only on the field a matter of seconds.