Uefa Champions League semi-finals: Why Liverpool will go on to win the title
Liverpool’s display against Manchester City would have worried the other three semi-finalists. OK, Jurgen Klopp’s men rode their luck at times, recipients of a favourable decision here and a favourable decision there, but they were deserved winners across the two legs.
That opening 31 minutes at Anfield, when they tore through England’s champions-elect, underlined how no team, not even current holders Real Madrid, will look forward to crossing paths with a side so full of vim and verve.
The season may be in its final few throes, but Liverpool look fresh, buoyed by a remarkable run in the Champions League and imbued by the thought of a sixth European Cup hauled within touching distance. Those banners at Anfield could need updating.
The reasons on the pitch are obvious: in Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, Liverpool have a formidable front three, capable of carving apart at will any side. Salah, in particular, has been a revelation upon his return to England.
Yet they have grown stronger at the back, too, with Virgil van Dijk’s January arrival bringing a much-needed presence to the defence. Goalkeeper Loris Karius has clearly benefitted.
In all, Liverpool have been defeated only once in 15 matches. They are peaking at exactly the right time.
It should be said that Roma carry a threat, especially following that incredible comeback against Barcelona. Yet they should be outdone by a pacey and press-hungry Liverpool.
That leaves either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the final in Kiev: given the way they are playing, Liverpool will not fear whomever they meet in the showpiece.
In contrast, their opponents will be wary of them: keeping at bay Klopp’s rampaging Reds is proving no small task. Another European crown, however unlikely it once seemed this season, now feels wholly attainable.