Apr 24, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Anfield (Liverpool)
Attendance: 51,236
Salah (36', 45'), Mane (56'), Firmino (61', 69')
Alexander-Arnold (39'), Lovren (74'), Milner (84')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Dzeko (81'), Perotti (85' pen.)
Jesus (26'), Fazio (88')

Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Champions League action as Mohamed Salah's Liverpool welcome the visit of his former club Roma to Anfield in the semi-finals.

Liverpool take on Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash at Anfield as newly-crowned PFA Player of the Year Mohamed Salah faces his former club.

Eusebio Di Francesco's side are into the final four having produced one of the shocks of the tournament by Barcelona 3-0 in the second leg of their quarter-final meeting at the Stadio Olimpico.


Mohamed Salah celebrates during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Watford on March 17, 2018© Offside

Liverpool are attempting to round off a season memorable for the rise of Salah by reaching the Champions League final for the first time since 2007.

Jurgen Klopp's charges have played some destructive attacking football during the knockout phases this year, dismantling hotly-tipped Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

Much of the narrative around Klopp's attacking success has centred around Egyptian forward Sarah, who now has 31 goals in 33 Premier League games, moving the 25-year-old level with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Alan Shearer for most goals in a season in the division. Salah will now be facing the club he left last summer.

The player will be boosted having been awarded the PFA Player of the Year on Sunday evening after beating off competition from Kevin De Bruyne and company. The Egyptian has been borderline unstoppable of late, scoring in both legs of the Reds' win over City, while notching a memorable four goals against Watford in March.

Liverpool would have hoped to welcome Roma to Anfield in the midst of a winning habit, but the Reds were unable to build from a 3-0 league win over Bournemouth when they drew against soon-to-be-relegated West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

Klopp's charges moved into a comfortable 2-0 lead thanks to Danny Ings and Salah, although a shock rally from the bottom club saw the Baggies claim a 2-2 home draw courtesy of late goals from Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon. The comeback seemed to have irked the German coach, who launched a scathing attack on the Baggies' pitch after the result.

Looking at Europe's elite competition, Liverpool are undefeated in 12 Champions League games this term. During the club's last eight games in the tournament, the Reds have managed to score at least twice in seven of those showings. The Reds also have four clean sheets on the bounce.

Klopp will be well aware of the powers of Roma at home considering what happened to Barcelona in the quarters, potentially leaving Liverpool to go for the jugular at Anfield and hopefully have enough of a lead to take to the Stadio Olimpico next week.

Recent form: LWWDWD
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWD


Roma's Radja Nainggolan in action against Juventus on May 14, 2017© SilverHub

Di Francesco's team come into the semis having produced one of the biggest comebacks in the tournament's contemporary history, turning around a 4-1 first-leg defeat to Barcelona by winning 3-0 back in Italy.

The Italian club will be heading to England knowing that one of their former players has already set the Premier League alight and may also be close to doing the same on the world stage. Will Di Francesco's men have a plan to nullify a familiar foe?

The Rome club have fared rather poorly when travelling away from home in this competition and have now lost their last three away matches. Di Francesco will likely want to keep the game tight at Anfield before taking the contest to the oppressive cauldron that is the Stadio Olimpico.

English opposition have also proven to be tough opponents for the Giallorossi. After initially winning their first three two-legged knockout ties, Roma have since lost six on the trot. Some of Roma's more travelled fanbase will also recall memories of the 1984 European Cup final, which Liverpool won on a penalty shootout 4-2 to take the title.

Edin Dzeko has been the key man for Roma this campaign, the former City forward has bagged 14 league goals this season and also has six in the Champions League. Both Aleksandar Kolarov and Federico Fazio have experience in the Premier League too.

Roma have actually beaten Liverpool in their last three fixtures, but all of those wins have come courtesy of friendly victories during pre-season preparations.

The club's Champions League fortunes hang in the balance in Serie A. Roma hold third spot in the standings on 67 points. Juventus and Napoli are out in front competing for the title, while fourth-placed Lazio and fifth-placed Inter Milan have 67 and 66 points respectively as the battle for the top four heats up.

Since knocking out Barca, Roma have gone on to be unbeaten in their last three league fixtures, first drawing away at Lazio before recording victories against Genoa and SPAL in recent weeks.

Recent form: WDLDWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLWDWW

Team News

Mohamed Salah is embraced by Jordan Henderson during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Watford on March 17, 2018© Offside

Jordan Henderson missed out on the second leg with City, but he will likely return in a three-man midfield alongside James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have been given rests of late and they should be welcomed back into the full-back roles on Tuesday.

Klopp is expected to continue with the in-form forward three of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Joel Matip, Emre Can and Adam Lallana remain the club's longer-term absences.

For the visitors, Roma should opt to go with a 3-5-2 on the road, with Dzeko and Patrik Schick leading the away line at Anfield.

Alessandro Florenzi and Kolarov will operate as wing-backs, leaving Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan to marshal the midfield.

Diego Perotti made his return to the first team at the weekend and will be a welcome boost for Roma, although he might be forced to settle for a place on the bench as he looks to regain match sharpness.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Roma possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Fazio, Manolas, Jesus; Florenzi, Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Kolarov; Dzeko, Schick

Head To Head

The clubs last met during the 2001-02 Champions League second group stages, the two sides also facing Barcelona and Galatasaray that year. Liverpool drew the first meeting 0-0 in Rome, before earning a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

In European competitions, the sides have met five times in their respective histories. Liverpool have won two, drawn two and lost one against Roma during that period.

Roma last beat Liverpool in Europe courtesy of a 1-0 away win in the 2000-01 UEFA Cup fourth round. The Reds won the other leg 2-0, however, to make it into the next round.

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We say: Liverpool 2-1 Roma

Pundits are still trying to make sense of this contest. Might Liverpool's free-flowing football have been better served against the likes of a more open Real Madrid side?

Klopp will likely feel that he needs a lead to take to Rome next week. Di Francesco's side should be more defensively robust than City were over two legs.

Roma come into the game off the back of some poor away form in the competition, but the club's memorable win over Barcelona shows both the defensive stoutness and attacking efficiency Di Francesco's side have in the locker.

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Who will win Tuesday's Champions League semi-final clash between Liverpool and Roma?

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Liverpool on December 17, 2017
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