Wednesday, May 2 – 8:45p.m Local time – Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
The ground has been set and the battle lines drawn as Liverpool and AS Roma look ready to lock horns in the second semi-final match of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.
Both teams will be bidding to join Real Madrid, which qualified for the Champions League final — its fourth in five years — after a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern Munich in the other semi-final.
Jurgen Klopp will lead his charges against the Serie A side at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night with the hope of seeing through the tie in the second and quite rightly the most decisive leg. The Reds will be confident of securing their place in the May 26 Final to be held in Kiev, as they carry a 5-2 aggregate lead ahead of their trip to the Italian capital.
Although Roma received honorable mentions for surprisingly knocking out Barcelona in the last eight, even being further tagged as the dark horses of the competition, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side were given a bitter dose of reality check with a walloping against Liverpool in the opening leg, a week ago.
Liverpool made a predictably blistering start that saw Mohamed Salah get a sniff at goal with two instinctive finishes before the break. The Premier League top scorer hit the top corner with an effort from the edge of the box in the 35th minute before doubling his account with a dink over the Roma goalkeeper right at the stroke of half time.
The 25-year old then set up a goal apiece for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, before the latter stroke home without nerve to grab his second of the night eight minutes past the hour mark.
Even though Roma’s chances went up in smoke after they failed to contain the blur of speed and control during a horrid spell of 33 minutes, the Italians still found a way back into the match after the hosts let their guard down following the hauling off of Salah and Firmino.
Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti scored the consolation goals during the last ten minutes as Liverpool hanged on to all but end the game as a contest.
It was abject humiliation for Roma whose hopes were foundered with the damaging defeat, but there is however the growing feeling that the Serie A side can still whip up a storm in the return leg, much like they did against Barca in the quarterfinals.
Kevin Strootman and Diego Perotti’s participation remains to be seen after the midfield duo picked up injuries at Anfield, whereas defender Rick Karsdorp and striker Gregoire Defrel are assuredly ruled out.
Adam Lallana has been included in Liverpool’s match day squad but the Reds boss has made it categorical that the midfielder will not play a part in the second leg.
Joe Gomez is ruled out with an ankle injury while Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold made the trip despite initially having minor fitness concerns.
The Liverpool midfield has further sustained more hit, as uncertainty still holds over the availability of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emre Can with a knee and back injury respectively.
Mo Salah odds and specials
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Salah to score anytime||$1.65 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Salah to score anytime/Liverpool to win||$3 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
Winning the PFA Player of the Year is a fine achievement in its own right given the groundbreaking season Mohamed Salah has had, but the Egypt international won’t stop at that.
With 43 goals in all competitions this season and the insatiable desire to reach greater heights, Salah will take his axe to the tie and crush the hearts of his former side.
Liverpool vs. Roma match prediction
Liverpool couldn’t find a way through over the weekend having registered a barren draw with Stoke City while Roma blitzed past Chievo with a 4-1 win.
The game is unlikely to be played at one end like the first leg and the abrasive Roma faithful will be in full voice to not just get behind their team but also give Liverpool a hard time.
Prediction: Both teams to score – -303.03 on William Hill
Liverpool vs. Roma recent results
Liverpool 5-2 Roma (April 24, 2018)
Mohamed Salah 35′, 45′
Sadio Mane 56′
Roberto Firmino 61′, 68′
Edin Dzeko 81′
Diego Perotti 85′ (P)
Liverpool 1-2 Roma (August 2, 2016)
Sheyi Ojo 45’+1
Edin Dzeko 29′
Mo Salah 62′
Liverpool 2-0 Roma (March 19, 2002)
Jari Litmanen 6′
Emile Heskey 64′
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