Georginio Wijnaldum scored his first away goal for three years to help Liverpool secure their eighth Champions League final appearance with a 7-6 aggregate semifinal victory against AS Roma.
Wijnaldum, whose last goal away from home came in PSV Eindhoven’s colours in May 2015, banished any fears of a Roma fightback Wednesday in the Stadio Olimpico by putting Liverpool 2-1 ahead on the night after a James Milner own goal had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s ninth-minute opener. Edin Dzeko’s equaliser on 52 minutes gave Roma an outside chance of repeating their quarterfinal heroics against Barcelona, but Liverpool resisted heavy pressure from the home side — and rode their luck at times — to snuff out the Italians’ hopes before Radja Nainggolan’s late brace gave Roma a 4-2 win on the night.
Liverpool’s 5-2 victory at Anfield in the first leg was the key to their progression to the final, but their second-half defending in Rome will be a concern to Jurgen Klopp ahead of the final against Real Madrid in Kiev.
Roma created countless chances and were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after a Trent Alexander-Arnold handball that pushed Stephan El Shaarawy’s close-range effort over the crossbar. On another night, Liverpool could have conceded more, and their frailties cannot be repeated against Real on May 26 if they are to win a sixth European Cup.
But Klopp has guided the club to the final, and their forward line of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino ensure they will travel to Ukraine with confidence. It might turn out to be a case of the team with the best defence on the night winning this season’s Champions League.