Full-time descended onto the Stadio Olimpico and relief, joy and every other type of positive emotion invaded every individual associated with Liverpool FC.
The Reds lost 4-2 on the night against AS Roma but celebrations erupted from the players, coaches and the traveling Kop: Liverpool had defeated the Giallorossi 7-6 on aggregate to progress to the Champions League Final.
A spirited and gritty performance from the Romans but it was in vain, as the damage had already been inflicted a week ago on Merseyside, courtesy of the deadly triumvirate that is Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and the Egyptian King, Mohamed Salah.
Goals from Mane, a calm finish after Firmino had pounced on a loose back pass by Nainggolan, and a first-ever away goal by Georginio Wijnaldum in Reds Colours ensured that Kiev would be their first final since 2007.
A tense affair throughout, Roma showed why they had placed their name in European folklore after eliminating Barcelona, with a performance that indicated it would not be an easy night for Jurgen Klopp’s troops.
Wide balls, long balls and utilizing the physical prowess and aerial threat that is Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian ruffled liverpool’s backline but they stood firm in the face of adversity.
Dzeko would score for the fifth champions league game in a row after a save gone wrong by Loris Karius; Radja Nainggolan would bag a brace, the second coming from a controversial penalty, that would loosen purses and yield thoughts of ‘what if’ in every Roma mind.
Nevertheless, the Reds triumphing on aggregate and booking their ticket to Kiev, where Real Madrid await, hoping to secure a third successive Champions League Crown.
Jurgen Klopp described the Game as ‘Crazy’ and he was right: This machine that he has constructed has blitzed every obstacle that has positioned itself in front of them, obliterating sides with performances that render the opposition speechless, all the while inspiring them that even if the game may appear out of sight, never say never when playing Liverpool.
“These are the days we’ve been waiting for/ these are the days we’ll never forget,” lyrics from the late Avicii’s song ‘the days,’ perfectly highlighted the state of mind of a Liverpool supporter; Days that we took for granted have returned, and we’ll sure as hell cherish them.
Hoffenheim, Sevilla, Maribor, Spartak Moscow, Porto, Manchester City and AS Roma were all navigated, and all that stands between Liverpool and number six of ‘big ol’ ears’ are the famed Los Blancos in Kiev.
Jurgen Klopp has brought the good days of European adventures back and the prospect of traveling partisan crowds, coupled with chants of ‘you’ll never walk alone’ and “ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ’, could lead to Kiev being etched alongside Rome, Paris, London and Istanbul.