On yet another goal-smattered night of bonkers Champions League action, Liverpool survived a late uprising to secure themselves a commanding 5-2 lead heading into the second leg of their semi-final.
Mohamed Salah was on irrepressible form once again, chipping in (literally) with two goals and two assists as the Reds hurtled and harried their way into a five-goal lead, spurred on all the while by a sizzling atmosphere inside Anfield.
After both sides spent the opening exchanges in tentative limbo, things suddenly burst into life after half-and-hour.
Indeed, it was Salah who once again proved to be the catalyst for Jurgen Klopp’s side, curling in a delightful effort past Alisson to set the ball rolling…
Salah then followed up with his second strike of the night shortly before the interval – the Egyptian sending yet another scoring record toppling by becoming the first Liverpool player to amass 10 goals in Europe in a single season with the daintiest of dinks…
After fluffing a series of decent chances in the first half, Sadio Mane finally got his backside in gear to increase Liverpool’s lead to three goals in the 56th minute,
The Senegalese striker was on hand to tap home Salah’s inviting centre after Roma’s slap-dash defensive ranks once again struggled to keep pace Klopp’s energetic front three.
The Giallorossi’s defending then truly went to pot when Roberto Firmino struck twice in the space of six minutes to send Liverpool five up with 68 minutes played.
However, it was at that point that the wheels began to fall off for the once-rampant home side as their Italian opponents slowly but surely began to wrest back a foothold in the tie.
With Salah taken off to preserve his tired little leggies for future conflict, Liverpool’s back four began to wobble and were finally breached when Dejan Lovren got caught under a long ball leaving Edin Dzeko to stroke home an away goal as the game ticked over into the final 10 minutes.
Roma continued to flood forward and carved out a number of decent opportunities before being handed the softest of lifelines by referee Felix Brych, who signalled for a penalty when Radja Nainggolan’s shot struck James Milner’s dangling arm.
Up stepped substitute Diego Perotti, who defied the deafening ensemble jeers of the Liverpool fans to coolly place his spot-kick into the top corner.
And so it all ended, with Salah and the chaps carrying over a three-goal advantage into the second leg that certainly looks strong without necessarily feeling quite so convincing, given the odd nature of the finale at Anfield.
For more information, just ask Barcelona.