Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
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Salah lands knockout blow as Liverpool reaches CL semifinals

Salah lands knockout blow as Liverpool reaches CL semifinals

City understandably failed to maintain the intensity of their first-half display in a third huge game in six days after also blowing the chance to win the Premier League in a thrilling 3-2 Manchester derby defeat on Saturday. But it was not to be as the Citizens still ended up on the losing side despite going ahead early in the second minute through Gabriel Jesus.

Pep Guardiola won't be happy, especially with the goal that should have stood in the first half, but the tie was essentially over after the first leg with Liverpool blitzing their rivals with three goals in the opening half.

Leroy Sane converted after Loris Karius' weak punch and a goalmouth scramble, but the winger's strike was called back for a marginal offside.

As Georginio Wijnaldum told ESPN FC last month, Liverpool are about more than their front three, with the Dutch worldwide midfielder insisting equal credit was due to the defenders, who have come under so much criticism this season.

"It says a lot about the boys that we soaked up that pressure in the first half that got the crowd up", he said.

"After that we came back, we played hard and we got the result - that's the most important thing".

Remarkably, the seven-goal haul of Sadio Mane this season places him just behind Salah and Firmino, alongside Roger Hunt (1964-65) and Steven Gerrard (2008-09).

And few would bet on him adding to that tally in the semi-finals such is the Egyptian's eye for a goal. Roberto Firmino made sure of it by curling in the team's second goal in the 77th.

Liverpool will not be facing Barcelona in the last four after the Catalan giants surrendered a 4-1 aggregate lead to lose to Roma. "We're still in a development phase, but we're already a good team".

City's anticipated onslaught never quite materialised, however, with two speculative Berardo Silva shots - the second of which hit a post - the closest they came to another goal until Sane's disallowed finish.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool rode their luck during City's first-half blitz, but he praised his players for sticking to the task. "Hopefully they can represent England well in the semi-final".

In this golden season, however, Salah only needs one chance and so it proved again as he collected the ball as it ran loose from Mane's drive into the area before delivering a composed lofted finish with the confidence of a man who feels he can not miss.

He told BT Sport: "It's the same from the last game, against United".

"If we have a good day we can beat anyone, on an average day we concede cheap goals".

"Everybody wrote me a message - 'I will watch the game here, I will watch the game there, I will have a beer together with friends.' I would really like to do that as well, to drink a beer and watch a Champions League game".

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