Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feels his side deserved to progress to the Champions League Final at the expense of Roma after a second dramatic semi-final, second leg in successive days.
Ahead 5-2 after the first leg at Anfield, Sadio Mane’s ninth-minute opener made it an uphill task for the Italian side, who were then given hope after a freak James Milner own goal soon after.
Georginio Wijnaldum ensured a half-time advantage for the Reds – the first Dutch player to score at this stage of the competition for five years – meaning Roma would need to score four times without reply to force extra time.
Edin Dzeko’s early second-half goal gave Roma renewed hope although it took until four minutes from the end of normal time for them to go ahead, Radja Nainggolan’s long-range strike deceiving Loris Karius.
Nainggolan’s second on the night came at the end of stoppage time, leaving Roma agonisingly short, winning 4-2 on the night but going out 7-6 on aggregate.
For Liverpool it will be their eighth European Cup/Champions League Final, their first since 2007 and means a repeat of the 1981 final against Real Madrid – a game which they won courtesy of Alan Kennedy’s strike.
But it is about Liverpool of 2018 this time and a moment to cherish for Klopp, who will hope to end his own personal run of five successive defeats in finals. “We are deserved finalists 100%. You don’t come without luck. We needed it only one time. Real Madrid needed luck yesterday too. That’s how it is.
“The boys deserve it, the character they showed, the football they showed – it was just crazy. I forgot the score! Unbelievable!
“The game was wild. It was the first semi-final for most of the boys so normal to have to keep nerves in. It was a little bit exciting – more exciting than I actually wanted!”