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After all Sadio and done, Liverpool reach Champions League Final – The Funny Match Report

I still can’t believe it. It’s as if the reality of the situation hasn’t fully sunk in yet.
This whole of last week was tension filled, walking on eggshells. Carrying a 5-2 lead into the second leg was supposed to be a thing of contentment.

Surely.

But this is Liverpool.

Roma had begun early with the mind games. “We have da plan to stoppa da signori Mohamed Salah” they quipped.
Now, in hindsight, it seems they were just telling us the truth.
Initially it seemed Liverpool were content to sit back, keeping shape. Later on I realized that it was actually nerves had taken root of all of the bodily functions, leaving them rooted to the spot.
But then the travelling Kop managed to find their voice. As Allez Allez Allez rang out at the Sadio Olimpico (as it is now known) our players started to find their feet.
A uncharacteristic mistake from maori-warrior-turned-footballer Nainggolan saw Roberto Firmino play in Sadio Mane to slot past Alisson. BOOM! Game over.
Surely.
But this is Liverpool.

The Romans had already mentally prepared to fight for their lives before a ball was even kicked, so this latest setback changed nothing in terms of their mission. (Okay it changed some things but allow me for dramatic effect)
A Clearance by Dejan Lovren found the face of James Milner and the ball flew into the net, Loris Karius could do nothing.
All Milner’s teammates wanted to laugh but realized the gravity of the situation. (We laughed though, after the game only)
In the buildup[ to this game, social media was full of discussion on Gini Wijnaldum and his lack of application in away games. They also focused on his goals away from home. ZERO.
“What a time for Gini to get his 1st away goal for Liverpool” ….“Scenes if Gini scores” ….“Imagine Gini scoring! “Yeah keep imagining because he never scores away LOL” were some of the sentiments that people shared.
Like Thanos, Murphy loves to implement his law.

A set piece scramble in the box sees Edin Dzeko head backwards and it falls to that man ( Not Salah ) Gini  Wijnaldum who heads in! BOOM! Game Over.
Surely.
But this, is Liverpool.

It must be mentioned that Roma’s plan to stop (Kick) Salah was working. It must also be mentioned that Liverpool very cleverly used Salah as a decoy for this match and Sadio was the Mane Man. He seemed to revel in the spotlight and broke the ankles of many a roman defender with his terrific twists and turns.

Spare a moment for Brazilian Keeper Alisson – Not because he has a girl’s name but that he’s been linked with the Reds for quite some time. This for him was technically, a trial. He conceded 7 goals. Should the Reds still go in for him in the summer?

Back to the action.

Man United fans were just about to head to bed early when the Roman legions poured forward in huge numbers. A snap shot from the blade runner Shick could only be parried into the path of Dzeko and, well,  Eden did what Eden does.  4-7
Reminder that Liverpool went into the half time break at 7-3 Up but NO ONE was at ease. Ponder on that for a minute, then ponder some more.
85th minute, Kolarov tees up for Nainngolan who Steven Gerrard’s it passed Karius. Absolutely THUMPED. No chance for the keeper.
Karius had been solid throughout the game but had unluckily been beaten by quality in-the-corner-finishes by Dzeko, Milner and Nainggolan.

Close up shop and just win it right?
Surely.
But this, is Liverpool.

Klopp rallied his player to better handle the situation as the clocked winded down…Klavan obliged( Literally) and a penalty was given. Nainngolan blasted his penalty in, and Roma fans felt hey had a chance still.But not the ref, and that, was that!

Liverpool players fell to the ground. Allez Allez Allez rang out again( Had it ever stopped ringing out?)
This bunch of journeymen, kids and a few quality footballers had reached the Champions League Final to face Real Madrid.
Biscan, Smicer and Traore smile down on Henderson, Lovren and Trent. Just one more game to play above their level, above expectation.
The conductor-in-chief Jurgen Klopp will get the whole symphony in harmony, in tune, and ready.

Do it for for Sean Cox, do it for all Liverpool supporters who’ve been the most patient lot ever.
Dare to dream.

Interact with Ejaz on twitter : @ejaz_k

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