Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool (1-5): Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino strike as Reds reach Champions League semis
Last Updated: 11/04/18 8:31am
Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were familiar heroes as Liverpool reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in a decade with a 2-1 second-leg win at Manchester City that sealed a 5-1 aggregate victory.
Gabriel Jesus had stirred hopes of an improbable comeback when he struck inside two minutes but a dominant first-half display in which Bernardo Silva hit the post and Leroy Sane saw a goal wrongly disallowed failed to yield further reward.
Jurgen Klopp's side, who stunned the Premier League champions-elect with a 3-0 win at a frenzied Anfield, knew an away goal would make City's task tougher still, and after Salah delivered the demoralising punch (56), Firmino added further insult (77) as the hosts ran out of steam.
While City's wait for Champions League success continues, Pep Guardiola sent to the stands for his Sane protests, five-time winners Liverpool can dream of writing a further chapter in their storied European history.
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (6), Otamendi 6), Laporte (5), Bernardo Silva (7), Fernandinho (7), De Bruyne (7), David Silva (6), Sterling (7), Gabriel Jesus (6), Sane (7).
Subs: Gundogan (6), Aguero (6).
Liverpool: Karius (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Lovren (7), van Dijk (6), Robertson (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Wijnaldum (6), Milner (8), Salah (7), Firmino (7), Mane (6).
Subs: Clyne (6), Klavan (6), Ings (N/A)
Man of the match: James Milner
Klopp had warned of a brewing City "thunderstorm" after their Manchester derby defeat made them wait for the league title and the perfect start to the perfect game Guardiola called for came when Fernandinho slid through a ball that Raheem Sterling squared for Jesus.
A fluid City side, supreme in midfield, played keep-ball as Liverpool flustered and Jesus went close following another Sterling dart, before Leroy Sane's looping cross forced Loris Karius to flap away.
James Milner made a crucial block when Karius could only parry into Bernardo Silva's path as the game's one-sided pattern continued, and after crafting space to curl just wide of the far post, Silva went even closer when he cracked the goalframe.
Mohamed Salah won his fitness race, meaning Jurgen Klopp made just one enforced change from thefirst leg with Georginio Wijnaldum replacing suspended captain Jordan Henderson.
Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany started on the bench as City lined up with a back three.
The slender scoreline belied City's dominance but they were denied what seemed a legitimate second three minutes before half-time when Sane bundled in from close range, Milner's intervention when Karius punched clear rendering the German onside.
Liverpool's first effort on goal had come just moments before the break, an off-balance Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain skewing behind, but Klopp's men needed to take only one chance to snuff out City's flickering hopes and Salah struck his 39th of the season when it mattered.
Sadio Mane powered his way into the and when he fell under the challenge of Ederson, Salah kept his cool to clip into an empty net.
Guardiola threw on Sergio Aguero in search of attacking inspiration but Liverpool wrapped up the tie 13 minutes from time as Firmino pounced on an Nicolas Otamedi mistake and slid the ball calmly past Ederson.
City's intensity dipped, the tie long gone, and as Guardiola watched on high with head in hands, the travelling celebrations were in full swing.
- Liverpool have reached the semi-final stage of the European Cup/Champions League for the 10th time - the only English team to have appeared in more are Man Utd (12).
- After reaching the Champions League semi-finals in each of his first seven seasons in the competition as manager with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola has failed to make this stage in both of his campaigns with Man City.
- Pep Guardiola has lost three consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since May 2015 as Bayern manager.
- Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have both scored more goals in a single Champions League/European Cup campaign for Liverpool (8 each) than any other player in the club's history.
- Liverpool have scored 33 goals in the Champions League this season - the most by an English side in a single campaign.
Man City scored with the first shot of the game versus Liverpool, with Gabriel Jesus scoring after just one minute and 56 seconds
Man of the match - James Milner
James Milner headed into the clash boasting the surprisingly record of having made the joint-most assists in a single European season but in the decider, his defensive focus and renowned energy levels came to the fore. He unwittingly played a crucial role in City's disallowed goal but ran tirelessly and made a string of key blocks.
Manchester City, having now lost three in a row in all competitions, travel to Tottenham on Saturday - live on Sky Sports - but they must win and hope Manchester United slip up at West Brom to finally seal the title.
Liverpool can look forward to Friday's last-four draw and are back in Premier Leagu action against Bournemouth on Saturday.