Mo Salah came back to haunt Roma as Liverpool took charge of their Champions League semi-final against Roma after recording a 5-2 win at Anfield.
Salah scored twice and provided two assists as the home side raced into a 5-0 lead before Roma finished strongly and grabbed two away goals to make the second leg at least interesting.
Having struggled to get going in the opening 20 minutes, a Liverpool onslaught then began as first Sadio Mane missed two good chances before the outstanding Salah gave Jurgen Klopp’s men the lead in the 35th minute.
The Egyptian was fed inside the area before cutting onto his stronger left foot and finding the top corner of Alisson’s goal with a stunning strike.
It was very nearly two moments later when Dejan Lovren headed against the bar, but the Reds did double their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Salah showed a lovely touch just inside his own half before spinning and being played in on goal by Roberto Firmino – the rest was a formality for the in-form attacker as he advanced on Alisson and clipped the ball over the advancing stopper.
Roma were clearly hoping for some respite at the start of the second period but it didn’t come as Liverpool cut them to ribbons again in the 56th minute when Salah crossed from the right for Mane to sweep home.
It was four just after the hour mark when Salah again tormented the visiting defence before crossing to the back post for Firmino to tap into an empty net.
Roma’s woeful defending continued when an unmarked Firmino headed home from a corner for a rampant Reds side to make it five.
The outstanding Salah was replaced by Danny Ings with 16 minutes to go before Liverpool ran out of steam and allowed the visitors two late away goals.
Lovren’s mistake allowed Edin Dzeko to sweep home before James Milner handled in the area and Diego Perotti swept home from the spot.
Those late goals took the gloss off what was an incredible 75 minutes from Klopp’s men and it gives the second leg in Rome a slightly different complexion.