Mohamed Salah and Robert Firmino Send Manchester City Packing in the Champions League
Mohamed Salah and Robert Firimino scored as Liverpool came from behind to dump Manchester City out of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s men who came into the second leg leading 3-0 had to come back from Gabriel Jesus’s early goal to qualify for the semi-final on a 5-1 aggregate.
Gabriel fired the Premier League leaders into the lead after just two minutes in as the hosts got off to a perfect start.
Kevin De Bryne almost made it two eight minutes in but the curling shot was cleared by the cross bar. The Belgian soon drew more routine saves from Karius after connecting with Bernardo Silva’s incredible cut back.
Manchester City continued dominating the first half but couldn’t put the ball into the net. Just before the break, City thought they had scored after Karius punched the ball into Milner only for it to be rebounded to Sane who slotted home from close range only for the goal to be incorrectly disallowed for offside.
The disallowed goal didn’t stand well with Pep Gaurdiola who confronted the referee at half time only to be sent to the stands.
City played every last minute of the first half as if it was a cup final but somehow, with Liverpool’s heroic defending and thanks to a bit of misfortune, the reds still had a chance to mount a comeback.
Klopp might have noticed the errors of a defensive system and decided to turn back to their first leg strategy.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot, attempting to disrupt City’s flow of the game at every turn. They resorted to their high intensity pressing game and the change paid off in the 56th minute.
Mane made a run into the penalty area only to be taken down by Ederson only for Mo Salah to win back the possession. Salah chipped the deflected ball into the right corner from a tight angle to net his 39th goal of the season.
City looked set to respond by bringing in Kun Aguero to boast the attack but instead, a mistake late in the 77th minute sealed off the fixture for Liverpool. Otamendi slipped to let in Firimino who advanced into the box on the left and tucked in a shot into the right corner of the net.
To win this game, Liverpool needed a player that can seize the moment and it was none other than Mohammed Salah who was at the right place at the right time to make the difference. His 56th minute finish turned the game around and gave Liverpool the freedom to play more confidently.
After Firimino’s goal, City needed five goals to knock out Liverpool, to put it into perspective, one in every three minutes but to put it more realistically, the game was settled after Salah’s goal.
The Citizens will have to make do with winning the Premier League whereas the Reds enter the Champions League semi-final draw on Friday after their two spells of superiority.