ALLEZ. Liverpool lost 4-2 in Rome, but it was enough to send them through on aggregate, as they saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate to reach the Champions League final in Kiev. But what were the key stats from a magical if horribly tense night for Klopp’s side?
Game of Two Halves
On paper, this was a game that could be split down the middle. The first half was a 2-1 Liverpool win, with Roma failing to notch a shot on target, and James Milner’s own goal the only lifeline for them, as Liverpool created three big chances without reply – the halftime xG was 1.9-0.3 in Liverpool’s favour.
But everything changed in the second half, as Roma won it 3-0, creating three big chances of their own whilst the Reds didn’t create one. It was 6-1 in terms of shots on target, and in terms of xG it was 2.9-0.2 in Roma’s favour. Discarding the late penalty and the freak own goal, 2-2 was probably fair, so 4-2 is a fair reflection of the match on balance, even if it feels as though Roma were slightly fortunate.
Unsurprisingly, this semi-final was the highest scoring ever in the Champions League. And with twenty goals scored between Liverpool, Roma, Real and Bayern, only one year had more goals scored across the two European Cup semi-final games – 1959/60, which saw 24.
Fab Three Enter the Record Books
Sadio Mané, Liverpool’s man of the match on the night with five dribbles, two free-kicks won, two big chances, both of which hit the target and of course his goal, made it 29 goals and 12 assists for Liverpool’s front three. The 29 that the trio have netted is the most in UCL history, as is the 46 that the entire team have scored. Once again, the Reds’ goalscoring ability is unparalleled.
At the heart of it all once again tonight was Bobby Firmino, who now has seven assists to add to his ten goals in this UCL campaign, with Bobby in his element. He’s now the first player in Champions League history to make seven goals and seven assists in the same UCL campaign, and only one other player in the Champions League has more than four assists – James Milner of course with eight.
And of course, whilst we’re on goalscoring feats, it must be noted that Gini Wijnaldum scored his first away goal for Liverpool. And whilst it has felt at times that there were big moments available for him to break the drought, his scrappy header tonight was the best time of all.
Champions League Legends
Liverpool are a team steeped in European history, and this current iteration have earned their place amongst some great Reds sides. This is the team’s first final in eleven years, and their eighth UCL final overall. That draws them level with Barcelona, with only their opponents Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich having reached more finals. Liverpool have met Madrid once before in the final, in 1981. Liverpool won 1-0. Somehow I don’t think that’ll be the score in Kiev.
In terms of other UCL final statistics – Liverpool have now reached as many European finals as the rest of the current Premier League combined. And they’re the first team to have to go through the qualifiers to reach the final since Bayern Munich in 2012. The last team to win it after qualifying were Barcelona in 2009.
Up the Reds. Let’s hope we can make it #6 in Kiev. Only two teams, including our final opponents, have ever won it that many times.