MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Liverpool reached the Champions League semifinals after recovering from conceding a goal inside two minutes against Manchester City to win 2-1 thanks to second-half strikes by Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on Tuesday.
Gabriel Jesus’ early goal raised belief inside Etihad Stadium that one of the most unlikely Champions League comebacks was on, with Liverpool having won the first leg 3-0 at Anfield last week.
City’s attacking lineup was always susceptible to the counter-attack, however. And off one of them, Salah collected a loose ball, rounded goalkeeper Ederson Moraes and deftly chipped in the equalizer in the 56th for his 39th goal of the season.
With City now needing four goals in barely half an hour to advance, Liverpool knew a spot in the last four for the first time in 10 years was there for the taking. Firmino made sure of it by curling in the team’s second goal in the 77th.
Liverpool, which won 5-1 on aggregate, is bidding for its sixth title in Europe’s top competition — and its first since 2005.
It was the latest Champions League failure by City manager Pep Guardiola, who won the competition twice with Barcelona — in 2009 and ’11 — but hasn’t reached the final since in five season with Bayern Munich and City.
Guardiola was sent to the stands for the second half for arguing with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz during halftime. He and City can legitimately complain that Leroy Sane had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside at the end of the first half, which would have made it 2-0.
But over two legs, City can have few complaints and were always up against it after conceding three goals in 19 first-half minutes at Anfield and failing to score an away goal.
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