Sport

Liverpool set up Champions League final with Real Madrid

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp, right, and players celebrate at the end of the Champions League semi-final second leg
By Press Association Sport staff

FORMER Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard hailed an "incredible achievement" after his former team reached the Champions League final with a 7-6 aggregate victory over Roma.

Jurgen Klopp's side advanced to a May 26 date with Real Madrid in Kiev despite suffering a 4-2 defeat in the Italian capital on Wednesday evening, and Gerrard was delighted for the Merseysiders.

"Incredible achievement, congratulations to Jurgen Klopp and the players – they're the ones that have taken the fans on this journey," the former midfielder told BT Sport.

"They deserve all the plaudits they'll get in the coming days.

"They've set themselves up for a mouth-watering final against Real Madrid and they should go in with confidence they can go all the way now. That man (Klopp) and the players deserve so much praise."

The Reds advanced thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th goal of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away strike in almost three years.

A fortuitous own goal by James Milner had put the hosts back in the tie, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion. Two late goals for Radja Nainggolan – including a penalty with the last kick of the game – came too late for Roma.

Milner tweeted soon after full-time: "Anyone got any tips for getting a Champions League logo off a face? £glowing £uclfinal £whofancieskiev £9assists £minusonegoal"

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker Michael Owen declared the Liverpool-Real Madrid showpiece "the perfect final".

Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt was also delighted for his old team, posting on social media: "We are heading to the ChampionsLeague FINAL!!LFC £YNWA £Liverpool"

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, a Champions League winner in 2008, was full of praise for the Reds.

"(Klopp) has really got these boys believing in him, believing his philosophy," Ferdinand told BT Sport 2.

"They are a team now on the up. I said before the game that he's building a formidable team here and that was proved again tonight.

"Yes they conceded a couple of late goals, but they showed the composure you need at this level to get through and found a way to get over the line. Their experienced players really did a job today – Milner, Henderson... very solid."

Another former Liverpool striker, John Aldridge, was a happy man.

He posted: "Don't think we actually played great!! never defended well and never used the ball as well as we normally do! having said that GET IN!!! We're there!!! YNWA"

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who won the competition in 2012, thinks Klopp's men stand a great chance in the final later this month.

"They did brilliantly," he said on BT Sport 2. "The last 45 minutes was hard work. It doesn't always go your way at this level, when a team with nothing to lose throws everything at you.

"This team has grown over the last two or three years under Klopp. They need to enjoy this moment, and they've got a great chance now because they have developed so much as a team."

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