Two men from Rome have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a 53-year-old supporter was attacked ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma at Anfield.
Merseyside Police released a statement confirming the incident had taken place before kick-off outside the Albert pub, with the 53-year-old man from Ireland now fighting for his life.
A statement read:
Merseyside Police can confirm that two men, aged 25 and 26 years from Rome, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a 53-year-old man was seriously injured before the Champions League semi-final game this evening (Tuesday, 24 April 2018).
The man was arrested inside the ground after officers carried out a number of proactive inquiries in a bid to identify those involved in the incident.
Officers were called to the Albert public house at about 7.35pm following reports that a man, believed to be 53 years from Ireland, had been seriously assaulted.
Paramedics attended at the scene and the victim, who suffered a head injury, was taken to Walton Neurological Centre where his condition is described as critical.
Officers are particularly keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident and have information which could help them with their inquiries to contact them immediately.
Forensic examinations have been carried out at the scene and CCTV footage from the area will be reviewed in a bid to identify the offender/offenders.
Detective Inspector Paul Speight, said: “We believe the victim, was in Liverpool with his brother, for the Liverpool v Roma semi-final and was assaulted during an altercation between Roma and Liverpool fans near to the Albert pub at about 7.35pm.
“Witnesses report that the victim was hit with a belt and then fell to the ground. Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken by ambulance to Walton Neurological Centre, where he is being treated for a head injury. His condition is currently described as critical and his next of kin have been informed.
“The place where this incident occurred is right by the ground and was heaving with fans making their way to the game. I would appeal to anyone who has any information, or mobile phone footage of the incident to contact us urgently, as information they have could be vital to our investigation.”
The two men arrested have been taken to a police station where they will be questioned by detectives.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merseyside Police social media desk via twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.
The Sunday Times journalist Jonathan Northcroft witnessed the incident pre-match and wrote on Twitter: “Roma fans have just attacked Liverpool supporters with belts, outside the Albert. About 20. One guy down getting treatment.
“The Roma group came out of Venmore St, and attack was sudden. Picked an older Liverpool fan and attacked him. A lot of police around but they were slow on the scene. Poor guy is still down. Horrible stuff.”
BBC reporter David Ornstein wrote: “Pre-match trouble outside Anfield started when group of Roma fans arrived via Venmore St, burst on to Walton Breck Rd & attacked, many using belts. LFC fan knocked to floor & received lengthy medical treatment. Skirmishes, projectiles, at least 1 hammer in hand, police arrived.”
Pre-match trouble outside Anfield started when group of Roma fans arrived via Venmore St, burst on to Walton Breck Rd & attacked, many using belts. #LFC fan knocked to floor & received lengthy medical treatment. Skirmishes, projectiles, at least 1 hammer in hand, police arrived pic.twitter.com/Yaby4q5f0Y
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) April 24, 2018