Qualifiers Liverpool savour ECL final run

Liverpool survived a late score at Roma to progress to the Champions League final

In August when Liverpool were sweating their way through the playoffs just to qualify for the Champions League group phase, going all the way to the final wasn't even on their radar.

Not after a season in which Liverpool didn't even play in Europe.

Not when no one could have imagined that Mohamed Salah would develop into a scorer to rival Lionel Messi - and net 43 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions this season.

Or that Liverpool would score a Champions League-record 46 goals - surpassing the mark set by Barcelona in 1999-2000.

Nine months later, Liverpool will to face two-time defending champions Real Madrid in the Ukraine on May 26 for the most coveted trophy in club football.

Liverpool advanced to a first Champions League final in more than a decade despite a 4-2 loss at Roma.

The Reds scored two early goals and that was all they needed to advance 7-6 on aggregate after a 5-2 win in the first leg of the semi-finals.

"We came in as a qualifier and now we're in the final," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said.

"Now we will go to Kiev, which sounds crazy but is the truth."

Sadio Mane took advantage of a misplaced Roma pass to put Liverpool ahead nine minutes in and Georginio Wijnaldum restored the advantage with a header after Milner's own goal.

Edin Dzeko equalized for Roma early in the second half and Radja Nainggolan scored two late goals for the hosts as the Giallorossi narrowly missed out on another miracle comeback.

"It was the first time that we were not really as good as we can be, so we needed luck. That's what we had," Klopp said.

"It was the first semi-final for most of the boys so normal to have to keep nerves in.

"It was a little bit exciting - more exciting than I actually wanted.

Roma were left feeling aggrieved about two penalty decisions that weren't awarded.

"The VAR would have given us what was taken from us tonight," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said.

"That was ridiculous. ... But Liverpool certainly didn't steal anything from us.

"They played 45 extraordinary minutes (in the first leg) and we played two second halves that were just as extraordinary."

The 13 goals scored between the two legs was a record for a Champions League semi-final.

"When two squads play in an open manner like that, it's more like a boxing match," Di Francesco said.

"There should be more matches like these."

Liverpool last reached the final in 2007, losing to AC Milan, having won the last of their five titles against Milan two years earlier.