UEFA Champions League preview: Liverpool vs Roma – Anfield– April 24, 2018 – Semi-Final Leg 1 of 2
It will be a clash between two contrasting styles of European soccer. While Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp's tutelage is one of an all-out attack, Roma's is a mixture of stout defending and blistering counter-attacks. The main protagonists of the Liverpool's offense will be the goal-scoring machine, Mohammad Salah, the redoubtable Firmino and Sadio Mane backed by the likes of the brilliant Arsenal import, Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner in the wings. The defense that had looked suspect for most of the season has stabilized after the advent of the dependable centre-back Virgil van Dijk from Southampton and the exceptional talent in the form of 19-year old Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Roma Player Form
Roma's defense, although dotted with brilliant names like Lorenzo Pellegrini, Aleksandar Kolarov, Alessandro Florenzi and Kostas Manolas can be prone to silly errors as witnessed in the 1st leg of the Round of 8 clash in Barcelona when they conceded a couple of self-goals in an avoidable score-line of 1-4. Manolas, who scored the winning goal in the 3-0 2nd leg win over Barcelona gave Roma fans some anxious moments when he had to leave the field with a muscle cramp in a Serie fixture against Lazio last week. But reports suggest that he's recovering fast and is expected to feature in the vital Anfield game next week.
In RadjaNainggolan, Cengiz Under, Daniele De Rossi, Stephan El Shaarawy and EdinDzeko Roma has some of the most potent attacking names in Italian soccer. Dzeko will of course, be the spearhead of the Italian club and has the uncanny ability of scoring goals out of the blue.
Liverpool Player Form
The Liverpool back-line, looking much more solid than before, will have DejanLovren and Robertson apart from Van Djik and Alexander-Arnold while Loris Karius who has found favour with Klopp at the expense of Simon Mignolet will be the Reds' first choice goalkeeper for the clash against Roma.
After their October loss to Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool have dropped just 2 of their 25 Premier League games, one of the 2 losses being an avoidable one to relegation candidates Swansea City. They topped their Group cluster in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), whitewashing teams like Maribor and Spartak Moscow with score-lines reading 7-0 in each and eked out impressive draws against Sevilla. They scored more goals than any other team in the ongoing 2017-18 UCL season blanking out teams like Porto and Manchester City 5-0 and 5-1 in the knock-out stages to earn a semi-final berth. In the English Premier League, Jurgen Klopp's men have steadfastedly held on to the 3rd spot on the table behind winner Manchester City and 2nd placed Manchester United.
Roma's recent form has been comparatively rocky. They have managed to hold on to the 3rd spot on the Serie Table, but are facing tough competition from Lazio and Inter Milan who are on identical points in the 4th and 5th place. Like Liverpool, they topped their Champions’ League group but their progress to the Last 4 was much more checkered with losses in three outings to sides like Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk – all away games.
Liverpool vs Roma Football Betting Odds
Given Roma's weakness on the road, the bookie odds are on Liverpool to take the first game at Anfield, especially given the kind of goal-scoring form Salah, Firminio & co. have been of late. Conceding an away goal to Roma could prove costly for the Reds, as the return game in Italy could prove to be a very difficult one for them.
In the 5 times they have met since 1984, Roma have won in just one, drawn one and lost in 3 games. The last time these two clashed in a UCL outing was in 2002 when Liverpool won 2-0. So, it could be “revenge” time for the Rome club.