Champions League: Salah sparks Liverpool comeback vs. Manchester City

April 10 (UPI) — Liverpool used goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to knock Manchester City out of the Champions League on Tuesday at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England.

The Sky Blues — who lost the first leg of the quarterfinal round 3-0 to the Reds on April 4 — started the scoring in Tuesday’s second leg.

Raheem Sterling gained control of the ball deep in Liverpool territory in the second minute. He touched to the middle of the box, finding Gabriel Jesus, who easily finished a right-footed shot past Liverpool keeper Loris Karius.

Things became testy in the 14th minute when Liverpool’s Sadio Mane slid into City’s Nicolas Otamendi. City keeper Ederson Moraes took exception to the hit, which involved Mane’s knee hitting Otamendi in the chin. The two were eventually separated and Mane was given a yellow card.

Leroy Sane appeared to give City a 2-0 lead in the 41st minute, but the score was waived off after an offsides call.

The Sky Blues held the 1-0 advantage throughout the first half, but still trailed 3-1 in aggregate. City manager Pep Guardiola was sent off at halftime for arguing with officials.

Salah evened the match in the 56th minute. That play began when Salah received a pass about 50 yards from the goal. He sent the ball on to Mane. The Liverpool forward split the defense and got deep into the box, before losing the ball to Ederson. But the ball squirted loose and found the boot of Salah, who masterfully touched his dribble around the City keeper. Salah bounced outside before chipping a shot with his left foot, out of the reach of defenders and into the far post netting.

Firmino netted the go-ahead score in the 77th minute. The Reds’ forward stole the ball from the City defense on that play, before dribbling into the box. He then hit a precise shot between defenders and Ederson, hitting the far-post and bouncing the attempt into the net.

“I think the [Firmino’s] goal was at a good time for us because they were pressing very high and had many chances, so in the beginning we struggled a little bit because they scored in the first two minutes,” Salah told BT Sport after the game.

“After that we came back, we played hard and we got the result – that’s the most important thing.”

Liverpool finds out its Champions League quarterfinal opponent on Friday. City battles Tottenham on 2:45 p.m. on Saturday in Premier League play. Liverpool faces Bournemouth at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Anfield in Liverpool.

“To recover three goals is not easy,” Guardiola said after the game, according to the team website. “We scored one but weren’t able to score more. We were beaten by an exceptional team.”

“Last season it was the round of 16, this season it’s the quarter finals, hopefully next season we can go to the semi-finals.”

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