‘Lucky’ Liverpool’s Champions League victory far too exciting for Jurgen Klopp
The German is quick to turn his attention to the final against Real Madrid after a thrilling 7-6 aggregate win over Roma in the semi-finals
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted they needed luck to get past AS Roma in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday after old defensive issues reared their head.
Liverpool came into the match at the Stadio Olimpico with a 5-2 first-leg advantage after they tore Roma apart at Anfield last week.
They twice took the lead on the night in Rome yet they could not kill off the Italians and ended up losing 4-2 to squeeze into the final against Real Madrid with a 7-6 aggregate victory.
The hosts missed a string of second-half chances as Liverpool sat back and invited pressure onto themselves.
“It was the first time that we were not really as good as we can be, so we needed luck. That’s what we had,” Klopp said after reaching his second European final with Liverpool, following their Europa League run in 2016.
Liverpool have looked vulnerable at the back at times this season in the Premier League, losing composure under pressure and dropping points in games they should have won comfortably.
However, it has not affected them in the Champions League – a competition in which they had been unbeaten this season until Wednesday.
The Liverpool fans inside the Stadio Olimpico might have feared those domestic defensive issues would cost them dearly as Roma created chance after chance in the second half.
“There was lots of space,” Klopp said. “But then our last line was too deep and you cannot play like this.
“It was the first semi-final for most of the boys so normal to have to keep nerves in. It was a little bit exciting – more exciting than I actually wanted.
“For both teams it would have been crazy had we played extra time. 7-6 sounds crazy because it is crazy.”
Liverpool will play Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 as the Spanish side bid to win the Champions League for the third year in a row.
“It’s been a fantastic ride so far,” Klopp said. “Now we will go to Kiev which sounds crazy but it’s true.
“There’s still a job to do. Going to a final is really nice, but winning it is nicer. We will be ready. But it’s Real Madrid.”
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 2, 2018
Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the lead after nine minutes, but a bizarre own goal by James Milner levelled for Roma.
A Georginio Wijnaldum header put Liverpool back in front but Roma, who overturned a three-goal deficit to beat Barcelona in the last round, were given renewed belief when Edin Dzeko fired past Loris Karius early in the second half.
Radja Nainggolan then drilled in from distance after 86 minutes to make it 3-2 before smashing home a penalty in stoppage time, but it was too late for the Italian side.