Name your favourite trilogy.
For some it might be The Lord of the Rings. For others it’s The Matrix. But, for most non-Liverpool fans, it’s the Stanbul Trilogy.
First came Istanbul. Then came Crystanbul. Finally, rounding off the trilogy, came Romestanbul.
Liverpool headed into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with a three-goal lead after blasting Roma away 5-2 at Anfield.
But the mood heading to the Stadio Olimpico wasn’t as enthusiastic as it could have been.
The previous game against Stoke had seen Virgil van Dijk injured attempting to keep Saido Berahino from scoring.
To very literally add insult to injury Van Dijk’s clearance hit the post and went in, meaning it went down as an own goal under his name and extended Berahino’s goalscoring drought.
Liverpool lined up with Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan in the middle of defence and instantly regretted it.
With two minutes on the clock Federico Fazio hoofed the ball long. Lovren and Klavan both had eyes on the ball, forgetting to check where each other were.
They took each other out, leaving the path free for Edin Dzeko to open the scoring and make it 5-3 on aggregate.
Jurgen Klopp made one of those faces where he looks like he’s trying to dislocate his own jaw.
His mood didn’t improve when Dzeko added a quick second after ten minutes.
The internet fully imploded when, with two minutes to play before half-time, Dezko completed his hat-trick to put Roma head on away goals.
Klopp reacted by bringing Danny Ings off the bench for Georginio Wijnaldum.
It looked like an inspired change when Ings found the back of the net after 63 minutes, hitting back at all the ridicule he received in the first encounter.
Liverpool fans breathed a sigh of relief. They could see the finish line.
Jordan Henderson set his range to ‘put everything by the corner flag’ and Roberto Firmino chased everything like an angry swan to make sure Roma couldn’t get any momentum.
86 minutes. 87 minutes. 88 minutes. 89 minutes. The clock ticked into the 90th minute.
Roma won a corner.
Alisson, Roma’s goalkeeper, sprinted into the box to add another body to the melee.
Aleksandar Kolarov’s initial delivery was headed away by the first man.
Alisson, semi-retreating towards his own goal, found himself in possession of the ball.
He feigned to cross with his right before cutting onto his left and drifting the ball into the box. It was the type of confidence only a Brazilian goalkeeper could possess.
Cengiz Under got the slightest of touches to the ball to glance it past Loris Karius.
The Stadio Olimpico erupted. Roma had done it.
Of course Roma went on to lose the Champions League final against Real Madrid 4-0, but on that night the Romans only knew success.
As fate would have it Under would be the man to replace Salah at Liverpool when the Egyptian moved to Real Madrid.
Football, eh? It’s a funny old game.
READ MORE FROM DREAM TEAM’S ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE:
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- Remembering Wolves’ game-changing summer transfer window of 2018
- What happened to the four England players who missed a penalty at the 2018 World Cup?