Liverpool is set to take on Roma in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in a decade.
Most football fans have written Roma off going into this tie, but that will be a dangerous proposition considering their Journey in this season’s competition. Reports from some quarters in England shows that some Liverpool fans have already booked hotels in Kiev ahead of the finals which is somewhat disrespectful to the opposition. The advice to them is to remember the 3-0 victory over Chelsea on a Halloween night and the miracle comeback against Barcelona.
It’s dangerous to dismiss a team that is yet to concede a goal at home considering it’s a two-legged with the second leg set to be staged in Rome.
Statistically, Liverpool boasts a better head to head record in European competitions including the famous 1984 European Cup final in Rome where the Reds won via spot-kicks. In the early 2000’s, they also triumphed over the Italians twice under Gerard Houllier both in the Champions League and Uefa Cup. This record may be the reason why the Kopites are making a hasty conclusion. However, In football, you never know…Who on earth would have believed Roma would eliminate Barca with a 4-1 lead going into the 2nd leg?
The tactical nous of both Managers will decide this game. Francesco di Eusebio vs. Klopp on the sidelines will be a delight to watch as they cancel each other out.Klopp no doubt will ask for the same from his Lads which is to Press and attack, attack, attack, while Francesco de Eusebio will be hoping his side produces a magnificent display at the back to hold the Reds formidable trio.
The Giallorosi may be stubborn to break down especially if they employ the “Catenaccio” tactics which have proven to be a way to nullify the Reds attack in most games this season. They also have one of the best-rated Goalkeepers in Alisson in their squad.
The Reds trio vs. Dzeko
It will be tough to stop Liverpool from scoring with their front three currently in the form of their lives(83 goals have been scored between them this season) especially Mohammed Salah who is playing with “supreme confidence” and everything he touches turns out to be gold. The duo of Manolas and Fazio would be wary of the attacking threat and should be careful not to concede a lot of goals in the first leg.
Salah will be making an emotional return as he faces his former side, but the Egyptian player has vowed to keep sentiments aside as he bids to fire Liverpool to European glory.
On the other hand, Edin Dzeko is a beast of a striker that can be menacing in attack. It will be interesting to see how Van Dijk and Lovren nullify him, particularly in aerial duels. He is not new to English football and can take confidence from his experience of scoring against the Reds when he lined-up for City in the Premier League.
Verdict: This is a difficult one to call. However, with Liverpool playing at home and still the only unbeaten side in the competition, one can confidently go for a home win.
Liverpool to win 3-1