Liverpool have progressed to the Champions League final after riding their luck to contain a fired-up Roma in a 4-2 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico that sent the English side through 7-6 on aggregate.
Liverpool has defeated Roma 7-6 over its two legs and will face Real Madrid in a blockbuster. The five-times European champions, who will face holders Real Madrid in the May 26 final, twice took the lead but were forced to hang on in the second half as Roma created chances before Radja Nainggolan's two late goals put the hosts ahead on the night.
Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the lead after nine minutes, but a bizarre own goal by James Milner levelled for Roma.
Georginio Wijnaldum header put Liverpool back in front but Roma were given renewed belief when Edin Dzeko fired past Loris Karius early in the second half. Nainggolan drilled in from distance after 86 minutes to make it 3-2 and smashed home a penalty in stoppage time but it was too late for the Italians.
"We never do it the easy way, unfortunately," Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. "It was an amazing effort. In the first half we did well and scored some good goals. Overall we handled the situation well apart from the last 10 minutes.
Roma started brightly but their spirits were dampened when the Reds took the lead, capitalising on a catastrophic mistake with a typically clinical counter.
Roma midfielder Nainggolan played a suicidal square ball that was pounced on by Roberto Firmino, who drove forward and played it through to Mane who buried his left-footed finish past Roma's Brazilian keeper Alisson.
That was the first goal Roma had conceded at home in the competition this season, but they were only behind for six minutes thanks to a calamitous own goal. Dejan Lovren tried to clear a ball into the area but smashed his effort straight into the face of Milner and it ricocheted past Karius.
The home fans rediscovered their voice, but their renewed spirits lasted only another 10 minutes before Liverpool retook the lead.
The hosts failed to clear a corner and the ball was headed back by Dzeko into the path of Wijnaldum who nodded past Alisson. Roma levelled for the second time seven minutes after the break as Stephan El Shaarawy's shot was pushed tamely into the path of Dzeko by Karius and the Bosnian slotted home past the German keeper.
It was then backs to the wall for the Premier League side as Roma chances came and went before Nainggolan took aim from the edge of the area and rifled a shot in off the post. He then slammed home a penalty after substitute Ragnar Klavan was adjudged to have handled.
"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," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told reporters after the game.
Liverpool have looked vulnerable at the back at times this season in the Premier League, losing composure under pressure and dropping points in games they should have won comfortably. It has not affected them in the Champions League, though, a competition in which they had been unbeaten this season until Wednesday.
The Liverpool fans inside the Stadio Olimpico might have feared those domestic defensive issues would cost them dearly as Roma created chance after chance in the second half.
“There was lots of space," Klopp said. "But then our last line was too deep and you cannot play like this. “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.
"For both teams it would have been crazy had we played extra time. 7-6 sounds crazy because it is crazy."
Liverpool will play Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26 as the Spanish side tries to win the Champions League for the third year in a row.
"It’s been a fantastic ride so far," Klopp said. "Now we will go to Kiev which sounds crazy but it’s true. "There’s still a job to do. Going to a final is really nice, but winning it is nicer. We will be ready. But it’s Real Madrid.