Late Liverpool lapses sour stunning Salah show
The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool were both invited to Anfield on Tuesday, where the Reds' destructive alter ego threatened to ruin an extraordinary display of attacking football in the 5-2 win over Roma.
Mohamed Salah would not celebrate against his old club, but the Liverpool superstar has given his side a fantastic chance of reaching the Champions League final.
The Serie A side were powerless to stop the man crowned the PFA Players' Player of the year, Salah scoring twice in a frantic first half at Anfield, which duly sparked one of those famous European atmospheres that have become almost a cliche.
Salah has exploded in recent weeks, reaching 43 goals in all competitions, but the pair he scored in the first half at Anfield might just be the most important of the lot.
His first was almost parodically good, Roma's defence for some reason backing off and giving Salah enough space to curl an unstoppable 20-yard drive across Alisson and into the goalkeeper's top-right corner.
The second goal has been seen before too. Salah scored it in the last round against Manchester City, racing clear of a static defence again to produce a delicious chip that had just enough power to roll in.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 24, 2018
This being Klopp's Liverpool, it couldn't be that simple, and the defensive lapses that have dogged the German's reign reared their head late on to offer Eusebio di Francesco's side hope, and they don't have to look far for inspiration.
Roma provided one of the finest comebacks in Champions League history in the quarter-finals against Barcelona so this tie is far from over. The Giallorossi are yet to concede a goal at home in the competition, so they will not consider themselves down and out.
Salah turned provider after the break with a pair of assists, both from raids down the Liverpool right that caused Roma so many problems all night, but his withdrawal felt like a key moment.
At the time, it was almost an act of mercy from Jurgen Klopp, taking off his star man with a full 15 minutes remaining. But without Salah, Liverpool allowed their intensity levels to drop and Roma took full advantage.
Di Francesco's men had hardly been given a kick, such was Liverpool's desire to win the ball back with precision pressing, but when Edin Dzeko scrambled in their first away goal, the Giallorossi suddenly believed.
And when a second arrived from the penalty spot, Roma knew their task.
FT | #LFCRoma 5-2
Two late away goals for the Giallorossi at Anfield. pic.twitter.com/Y9IaNYCGyX
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 24, 2018
All they have to do is repeat their stunning feat in the last round - win 3-0 at home in the second leg.
They did it against Barcelona, so can they do it against Liverpool?
It promises to be an unmissable spectacle in Rome.