Player ratings: Liverpool 5-2 Roma

Well what a whirlwind of a game that was!! Hope we’ve all suitably recovered.

Where to start...  well there's only one place really - Mo Salah! The Egyptian king just keeps coming up with the goods but last night was a truly special performance. That first goal just gets better every time you watch it, his other one wasn’t too shabby either and he was very unselfish with his assists for Mane and Firmino too considering he was on a hat trick and chasing down Rush’s record. He absolutely terrified Roma every time he got the ball, he’s undoubtedly been the best player in Europe this season and if we go on to lift the trophy in Kiev then I don’t see a way he doesn’t win the Balon D’or. He’s been sensational and is arguably now our best ever signing in the Premier League era.

Mo Salah celebrating goal

It was a funny old game though. When I saw what a high line Roma were playing my first though was we were going to destroy them but we effectively gave them a half hour head start when we just didn’t play at all and I’m not going to lie, I was starting to worry. Seeing Karius flap at that speculative shot from Kolarov brought about a sickening sense of deja vu and we couldn’t string three passes together. Suddenly though, as if a switch had been flicked, nerves settled and the Liverpool we’ve been watching all season turned up - and then some!!

Mane should’ve had at least a hat trick last night, I don’t know what to make of Mane this season. His stats will say he’s been better this season than last but I think his improved goal tally is down to the team improving on last year as opposed to him personally. When he’s at it he’s sensational but he can only dream of the kind of consistency Salah and Firmino show. To be fair to him though, he stuck at it and got his goal and it was his missed chance when clean through that seemed to spark the rest of the team to life.

What followed was one of the most devastating displays of attacking football you’re ever likely to see. Roma massively contributed to their own downfall with their shape and high line but take nothing away from what we did to them. It was special and I don’t believe there is a team in world football that can live with us when we’re in full flow. We do it in 20-30 minute spells and simply blow teams away. It’s thrilling to watch and I wouldn’t swap our managers style for anyone’s.

Alas though, amongst all the backslaps and high fives, a few harsh truths were exposed as well.

Lovren... What to say about him that hasn’t already been said! He can play 10 games in a row without incident but he’s just always one moment of rashness away from disaster. He easily could have been directly responsible for 3 goals last night. He did his best to give away a penalty in the early stages, the goal he was responsible for was reminiscent of the one at Spurs. Charging to meet the ball when there was no requirement to, missing it completely and taking himself right out the game and then he squared the ball straight to Patrik Schick who fortunately didn’t capitalise on a really good chance. Ultimately he simply can’t be relied upon and the same can be said of Karius. Between Karius flapping at that shot and Lovren taking ridiculous swipes at players in his own box, we could’ve been 2-0 down after half an hour and the tie would have taken on a whole different shape. Karius at least has age on his side but Lovren is at an age where he isn’t going to improve, it’s just who he is. Has some great games but is always likely to do something mental that costs us a goal.

Another negative this week is in our last two games against West Brom and Roma, we’ve taken Salah off thinking the game is done and the opposition have immediately rallied and scored two quick fire goals. I don’t believe this to be coincidence. Salah has become such a talisman and teams are so terrified of his pace on the counter that as soon as he goes off, they get a collective lift and feel they can play more freely. This is a situation that needs to be addressed by Klopp, personally I think when Salah comes off we should switch to a 4-4-1-1 and just keep it tight to see the game out. I’m sure Jurgen has noticed though and is actively coming up with a solution.

That’s enough negativity however for what was a famous win and a fantastic game. The evergreen James Milner continues to impress, where is THAT Gini Wijnaldum every week and even Hendo is starting to win me over,I think he’s much improved this last six months. Firmino simply superb again and after a shaky start, Trent at 19 years old didn’t look out of place in the champions league semi finals at all. Roma couldn’t deal with Robbo’s runs and delivery and Van Dijk was excellent again. Devastating news about Ox though, in the best form of his career and now set to miss the World Cup as well. Real shame and here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and no lasting damage for the lad.

We’ve one foot in the final and I just can’t see Roma throwing the kitchen sink at us and not getting caught on the counter at least once. One goal over there should finish the contest.

Back to business against Stoke at the weekend and we could really do with picking up all three points to tighten our stranglehold on top four. Ideally we want top four done and dusted so we can start resting players for the final assuming we get there. We really don’t want a nervy, last day of the season, high intensity game for a top four place but I’m confident we’ll get the job done.

I’ll finish by saying it’s a good time to be a Liverpool fan. We’ve walked on through the wind and the rain for too long but under Klopp, we’re starting to see that golden sky. On to Kiev!! ALLEZ
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