Liverpool entertain AS Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night. The Reds remain the sole club to have not lost in the European competition and they have the opportunity of gaining a sizeable advantage at Anfield against this season’s surprise packages.
What happened over the weekend?
Liverpool looked on course for a comfortable 2-0 win over bottom-placed West Bromwich Albion after Dannys and Mohamed Salah found the scoresheet. However, the Baggies managed to have a late surge with Jack Livermore and Salomon Rondon pulling things level before the final whistle. With the result, Liverpool are eight points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea but their top-four spot is not entirely guaranteed with the Blues having a game in hand and a home fixture against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
On the contrary, Roma picked up a second victory on the bounce as they beat SPAL 3-0 on the road. Francesco Vicari gifted the lead to the Giallorossi via an own goal and following the break, Radja Nainggolan and Patrik Schick added to the scoresheet before the hour mark. The victory sees Roma with one-point advantage over fifth-placed Inter Milan but both sides have tricky encounters against Juventus to contend with before the end of the campaign.
Players to watch for:
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool: The Egypt international contributed his 40th goal in the club’s colours during the weekend draw against West Brom. Shortly after, the attacker was awarded with the PFA Player of the Year accolade and he will be buoyed by the prospect of facing his former employers. Roma may have good knowledge about Salah’s style of play but their backline can nevertheless expect a tricky encounter. Only Manchester United this season have managed to curb Salah’s threat with Ashley Young doing a brilliant man-marking job on the Egyptian.
Edin Dzeko – AS Roma: Back in the January transfer window, Dzeko was in potential discussions over a return to the Premier League but he will be glad with how his season has progressed ever since. Dzeko has scored only half the number of goals as Salah this campaign but his most influential impact undoubtedly came in the quarter-final tie against Barcelona where he scored a crucial away goal in a 4-4 aggregate scoreline. The Bosnian is a menace to the opposition defence with his aerial ability and the likes of Virgil van Dijk need to guard against offering him room in the box.
Liverpool 2-1 AS Roma