Liverpool face their biggest European match in over a decade, as they take a 5-2 lead into the Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma.
Roma vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – 7.45pm (BST)
Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
Last Tuesday’s first-leg triumph was a stunning achievement, given the magnitude of the occasion and the pressure on the players.
The attacking football that the Reds produced was exceptional, with Mohamed Salah truly unstoppable against his former club.
The two away goals that Roma managed to pull back did put a slight dampener on the evening, and it means Jurgen Klopp‘s side still have work to do.
The Giallorossi overturned a 4-1 deficit to knock out Barcelona in the quarter-finals, which should be the perfect warning sign.
The Italian giants showed glimpses of their quality at Anfield, and in front of a deafening Stadio Olimpico crowd Liverpool’s mettle will be tested.
This is an unbelievable opportunity to reach club football’s greatest game, and one the players must grasp with both hands in Rome.
A Champions League final opportunity does not come around too often, and getting the job done on Wednesday will leave Klopp’s men 90 minutes away from an extraordinary achievement.
Hopefully, it doesn’t prove to be as unbearably tense as that first half away to Man City last month, but Liverpool rarely do things the easy way.
This is huge.
Last Meeting: Liverpool 5-2 Roma
Klopp is boosted by the return of Sadio Mane, after the Senegalese missed Saturday’s clash with Stoke City, but Joe Gomez has been ruled out after picking up an ankle injury early on in that 0-0 draw.
Elsewhere, Adam Lallana was part of the 23-man squad to travel to Rome but won’t be considered, with the midfielder’s most likely return date being the final itself, if Liverpool progress.
Klopp drafted youngsters Conor Masterson, Curtis Jones, Ben Woodburn and Rafa Camacho into his group for the trip, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson have recovered from knocks to feature.
Roma are without Kevin Strootman and Diego Perotti, with Eusebio Di Francesco naming a 21-man selection on Tuesday evening.
Perotti didn’t start at Anfield—he scored his side’s second goal from the penalty spot—so Strootman not featuring may be Roma’s only change from the first leg.
It will be interesting to see if Di Francesco sticks with the 3-5-2 formation that proved so disastrous during Liverpool’s five-goal burst at Anfield.
Last 5 vs. Roma (All Competitions)
Won 5-2 – April 24, 2018 (Salah x2, Mane, Firmino x2; Dzeko, Perotti pen)
Won 2-0 – March 19, 2002 (Litmanen, Heskey)
Drew 0-0 – December 5, 2001
Lost 1-0 – February 22, 2001 – (Guigou)
Won 2-0 – February 15, 2001 – (Owen x2)
Did You Know?
Liverpool have never lost at Stadio Olimpico, having played there three times in the past.
The first of those was the 1984 European Cup final, which the Reds won penalties, before a 2-0 victory in the UEFA Cup in 2000/01, and a goalless draw in the short-lived second Champions League group stage 10 months later.
Roma – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 4-1 vs. Chievo
Lost 5-2 vs. Liverpool
Won 3-0 vs. Spal
Won 2-1 vs. Genoa
Drew 0-0 vs. Lazio
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Klopp stressed the need to avoid complacency, but also highlighted his side’s strong position:
“First and foremost you need to be ready for the game because Roma will be ready, very lively from the beginning, high intensity from the start. But we are there as well.
“The closer the game comes everybody gives a feeling that being three goals up is not enough against Roma, then after the game Roma thought ‘yes, that’s exactly what we needed’.
“Before the game they will realise: ‘We have to score three goals against Liverpool’.
“I’m not saying it’s not possible, because it’s football, but it must be at least very difficult.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The match is on BT Sport 2 from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 7.45pm.
Chris Williams is in the chair on our matchday live blog from 7pm, as he guides you through all the action on a must-watch night in Rome.