Liverpool Qualify For First Champions League Semi-finals In 10 Years

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Liverpool reached their first Champions League semi-final for 10 years after coming from behind to win at Manchester City and secure a 5-1 aggregate win. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, City’s Gabriel Jesus scored after 116 seconds following Raheem Sterling’s pass. Bernardo Silva hit the post before Leroy Sane had a goal disallowed for offside despite James Milner getting the last touch. Mohamed Salah equalised on the night before Roberto Firmino hit the winner. Liverpool will discover their semi-final opponents when the draw is made on Friday [12:00 BST] in Nyon, Switzerland. City manager Pep Guardiola was forced to watch the whole of the second half from the stand after being sent off by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz at the end of a controversial first half. In a breathless opening 45 minutes City dominated and peppered the Liverpool net with 14 shots. The visitors did not have a shot on target until the 41st minute but were much improved after the break. Salah’s 39th goal of the season, a smart finish after Sadio Mane had gone to ground inside the City penalty area, left the hosts needing four goals. Firmino earned Liverpool their third win over City this season after a mistake by Nicolas Otamendi. Salah’s fitness was the major topic of conversation around Liverpool’s team selection before this game – and his decisive contribution in the 56th minute demonstrated exactly why. The striker was substituted in the first leg with a groin problem but was fully fit and restored at the start as Liverpool protected that three-goal lead from Anfield. The Egyptian was powerless in the first half as City tried to claw that deficit back in a thunderous first 45 minutes that saw Jurgen Klopp’s side under siege. 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 cannot miss. These are the sort of game-changing contributions needed at this elite level and Salah delivers them. It was fitting that the underrated Firmino added Liverpool’s second with equal calm as City ran out of hope – but it was Salah’s cool head in this frantic atmosphere that changed the course and emphasis of this quarter-final second leg.
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