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Liverpool set up Real tussle in Champions League final

Jubilant Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp beamed with pride after his side set up a showdown with holders Real Madrid despite slipping to defeat in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second-leg tussle with Roma.

The Reds were always in command following goals from Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum, either side of a James Milner own goal, although an Edin Dzeko strike and a late double from Radja Nainggolan gave the scoreline a flattering closeness.

Never before have so many goals been scored in a Champions League semi-final and by winning by the odd strike in 13 Liverpool reached their eighth final in the competition and first since 2007.

“The boys deserve it; the campaign, the character, the mentality they showed and the football they showed – thats just crazy,” said Klopp, whose team will attempt to deny Real a third successive Champions League crown in Kiev on 26 May.

“We are 100 per cent deserved finalists. You dont come to the final without luck and we needed luck only one time and that was tonight and if we used our tools better, like we usually do, we wouldnt have needed luck.

“But in the end nobody asks and we have two weeks to prepare and we will go there and try our best.”

Klopp spent the build up to the clash expressing confidence that his charges would not go the same way as Barcelona and throw away a three-goal lead at Stadio Olimpico and any nagging doubt was doused on nine minutes.

A terrible pass from Nainggolan was seized upon by Roberto Firmino, who advanced towards goal and slipped the ball through to Mane to side-foot beyond Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker from 12 yards.

But the Reds were pegged back after quarter of an hour as Dejan Lovren, while attempting to clear, lashed Stephan El Shaarawys header across goal into the face of Milner, with the ball rebounding into the net.

Liverpool, however, looked a continuous threat in attack and after Mane had been denied by the legs of Alisson, a backward header from Dzeko allowed an onside Wijnaldum to nod beyond the onrushing Brazilian stopper on 25 minutes.

Shortly after the restart Dzeko powered home following a limp parry from Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius, although the game was meandering towards a tame conclusion until two late goals from Nainggolan – a leathered 25-yard effort and a last-gasp penalty following a handball from Ragnar Klavan – maintained Romas interest.

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