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Roma v Liverpool UEFA Champions League Semi-Final Match Preview and Predictions - Reds to seal place in final

Rippa Staff 30 Apr 2018
  • Roma v Liverpool kicks off at 04:45 AEST on Thursday, May 3

Liverpool hold a commanding three-goal lead from the first-leg win at Anfield, but can Roma repeat their sensational fightback against Barcelona and come from three goals to snatch a place in this season’s Champions League Final?

Prediction


Match Preview


Liverpool’s remarkable Champions League run continued with their 5-2 rout of Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie. Having dumped out Manchester City in spectacular fashion in the quarter-finals, the Reds picked up from where they left off when they hosted the Italian club a week ago.

Mohamed Salah was the star of the show on a night where he almost unplayable – the Egyptian struck twice before half-time as Liverpool pulled away from the visitors, and he then played the role of provider as Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino (2) both got on the scoresheet to hand Liverpool a five-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining. Salah’s departure from the game saw the Reds lose some of their steam though, and some shoddy defending gifted Roma a lifeline as Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti both struck in the final 10 minutes to cut their host’s lead to three goals heading into the second leg.

But will Jurgen Klopp’s side be made to pay for that late lapse in concentration when these two teams resume their tie at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night?

We all know Roma are capable of erasing a three-goal deficit in order to progress in this competition – we have already seen it once in this season's Champions League. They appeared to be dead and buried in the quarter-finals after falling to a 4-1 defeat in Barcelona, but that away goal proved to be the critical moment in the tie as the Italian giants stormed to a sensational 3-0 win in the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico, booking their semi-final spot on away goals. Roma will be hoping that lightning can strike twice as they attempt to pull off another 'great escape' here - I am not convinced it will happen though.

Roma’s big undoing at Anfield was the tactical blunder made by manager Eusebio Di Francesco. They were simply far too open against a Liverpool side that will always be aggressive on their home turf and the Italian failed to recognise that quickly enough as things got out of hand. The problem they now have is they cannot afford to be too conservative in this return meeting because they have a three-goal deficit to erase, and Liverpool will be fully aware of that. Roma are going to have get forward as much as possible and they are a side that are capable of rattling in the goals, especially against a leaky Liverpool defence, but the problem they have is that they are going to leave themselves open at the back and against a team that have been scoring goals for fun all season long, that is a dangerous recipe.

So while Roma may run out winners in the 90 minutes on Wednesday night, Liverpool should grab an away goal or two to render those late strikes at Anfield rather meaningless and book their place in the final in Kiev.

And speaking of goals, how can I not back Mohamed Salah to play a goal-scoring role against his former club once again. The Liverpool forward is being backed to end Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance of the FIFA Ballon d’Or award and that is no shock because the Egyptian has been simply sensational in his first season on Merseyside. Roma had no answers to the questions he posed in the first leg and that first-half brace took his goal tally for the season to a staggering 43 goals, with 11 of them coming in this competition. In this sort of form, Salah has to be considered the most appealing goalscorer selection every time he steps out onto the pitch.

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Roma v Liverpool UEFA Champions League Semi-Final Match Preview and Predictions - Reds to seal place in final

Liverpool hold a commanding three-goal lead from the first-leg win at Anfield, but can Roma repeat their sensational fightback against Barcelona and come from three goals to snatch a place in this season’s Champions League Final?

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