As far as semi-final second legs go in the Champions League, rarely do we get a match-up where the tie is effectively decided after the first leg. These are usually tense games, decided by the odd goal over the course of 180 minutes of football.
Bayern’s encounter with Real Madrid was a case in point. 2-1 after the first leg, it was all to play for at the Bernabeu yesterday as Madrid managed to survive a German onslaught to book their place in a third consecutive final.
It makes Liverpool’s feat all the more impressive, then. Their 5-2 mauling at Anfield in the first leg last week means that, barring absolute catastrophe, they have a place in the final in Kiev later this month.
Assuming Roma do not repeat their miracle last month and clinch a 3-0 victory to progress to the final, you would have to put Liverpool down as favourites to beat Los Blancos and hold aloft their sixth European crown. Sure, Real Madrid have a better squad at their disposal, but the way Liverpool have performed in the Champions League this season is nothing short of mesmerising. Including the double headers in the Group stage, they have slotted at least five goals past every team they’ve faced this year.
Put it this way; If Liverpool transferred their European form into domestic football, they’d have been league champions by March and would be safe-bets to win both cups. Alas, football isn’t played under assumptions and they’ve under-performed at times in the league this season.
If Mo Salah and co. are to go on and win the Champions League this season, it’d arguably me their most impressive European Cup win. The 2005 Istanbul final is the stuff of dreams and a tale to tell the kids, but that side cannot hold a flame to the current exhilarating Liverpool team.
Every now and then you get a team in the Champions League that belies expectation and goes all the way – Porto 2004, Inter 2010, Chelsea 2012. It seems almost inevitable that Liverpool 2018 will be added to this list.