Liverpool will take a three-goal lead with them to Stadio Olimpico after a 5-2 win over AS Roma in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah came back to haunt his former club with a starring role in the victory - he scored twice and assisted two more as his old teammates struggled to restrain his attacking influence.

Sadio Mané's tap-in and a second-half brace from Roberto Firmino put Jurgen Klopp's men 5-0 up and seemingly cruising into the Champions League final.

However the visitors rallied late on - former-Manchester City man Edin Džeko and Diego Perotti each got on the scoresheet to cut the deficit to three and give Roma a chance of repeating their comeback heroics of two-weeks ago [VIDEO].

The match

It was the visitors that enjoyed the best of the opening moments, with Kevin Strootman hitting a decent effort with two minutes on the clock which Loris Karius held safely.

They continued their early dominance, coming closest to scoring in the opening 20 minutes when Aleksandar Kolarov hit a sweet strike which forced Karius into an unconvincing tip onto the bar.

Liverpool's nervousness was compounded as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's night was ended prematurely after sustaining a suspected knee-injury which could affect his chances of a World Cup spot with England this summer.

Mané spurned two glorious chances soon after, with the first being a particularly poor effort - the Senegalese international was one-on-one with 'keeper Alisson when he spooned his effort over the top of the net.

All nerves were soon settled however as Salah took aim on the edge of the box in the 36th minute and rifled a left-footed effort into the far top corner which went in off the crossbar, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

The newly-crowned PFA Player of the Year then turned that frenzy into outright deliriousness when he got onto Firmino's through ball and chipping a delicate shot past the onrushing Alisson, who was continuously linked with a move to Anfield earlier in the season.

The third came after the break when the Egyptian latched onto the end of an excellent ball from teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold and unselfishly played the ball across goal for an easy Mané tap-in.

Not wanting to be left-out, Firmino got the fourth at the back post after another low cross from Salah - almost a carbon-copy of the third.

The Brazilian got his second when he took advantage of sloppy zonal marking from the Roma defence to head past his compatriot and make it five.

A five-goal lead would have been virtually unassailable going into next weeks second leg, but it wasn't to be when Džeko took advantage of Dejan Lovren's loose marking, chesting the ball down and firing past the helpless Karius.

Roman moods perked-up even more when Milner handled in the Liverpool box and referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot.

Perotti coolly dispatched the penalty into the top corner, giving Roma a three-goal deficit from which they must recover - something that they have very recent experience in doing...

Similarities between late Džeko goals at Anfield and the Nou Camp leave a seed of doubt for the Reds

When Roma's Bosnian striker scored his teams solitary goal against Barcelona right at the end of the first leg, no-one thought it would be anything more than a consolation.

How wrong we all were, as that late effort proved to be the all-important away goal in the return fixture, when a 3-0 win in Italy was enough to complete the most unlikely of comebacks.

Liverpool's lead over Roma is just as commanding mathematically as that of Barcelona was in the previous stage, but if the Giallorossi put-in as good a performance in front of their home crowd as they did last time, history could repeat itself.

Still, the Merseyside club are huge favourites to make it to their first Champions League final since 2007, and only a perfect Roma performance, along with an equally dreadful one from Liverpool, will stop them from heading to Kiev in May.