Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal will not complain if Liverpool rest Mohamed Salah against their relegation rivals Stoke on Saturday.
Salah this week took his goal tally for the campaign to 43 with a brace in Liverpool’s 5-2 win against Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
The Egyptian forward could be rested ahead of Wednesday’s second leg when Jurgen Klopp’s side entertain Stoke at Anfield.
But Carvalhal, whose side are four points clear of Stoke, said: “Liverpool is not just about Salah, they can win without this player.
“He is fantastic, the player of the season, but they do not depend on one player.
“It is about their dynamic and shape and they are very positive in this moment.
“Even if they make changes, they will have most of their same side.
“It is like what we did in the cup and we won games, and they have ambitions in the competition for second spot.”
Swansea are one place above the relegation zone and hold a four-point advantage over Southampton and Stoke, the latter having played a game more.
For too long Jordan Henderson has felt like a Liverpool captain who doesn’t entirely belong in the role, but he has grown to become an excellent leader.
Imagine being the man tasked with replacing Steven Gerrard as the skipper of Liverpool Football Club.
It is an almost impossible duty, when you look at what Gerrard achieved in over a decade leading the Reds: lifting a Champions League trophy, winning an FA Cup final on his own and cementing his status as perhaps the greatest player in the club’s history.
Anyone would struggle to convince as the man who steps in and fills that void, but when it is someone as divisive as Henderson, it’s even more difficult.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers handed him the captaincy in July 2015, the vultures were circling, waiting to tell the world that this “useless” footballer was not fit to be playing for Liverpool, let alone be skipper.
For the first couple of years in the role, Henderson did a solid job attempting to make it his own, always handling himself well on and off the pitch, and proving to be a far more influential individual than many give him credit for.
It always felt a little forced, though, and you rarely looked at him and thought, “he looks like a Liverpool captain.”
It was like watching George Clooney’s attempt to play Batman!
Henderson looked like someone trying to show the world that he was captain when, deep down, he didn’t think he merited such a prestigious honour.
This season, however, and particularly in 2018, Henderson has really stepped up—and his performance against Roma epitomised this new-found mentality.Fitting the bill at last
The Champions League semi-final clash was arguably the biggest night of Henderson’s career, despite some huge outings during the 2013/14 season, and a few high-profile matches for England at major tournaments.
Some fans were, predictably, disappointed to see him return after missing the quarter-final second leg at Man City through suspension, but he was magnificent and rose to the occasion.
After a below-par start, much like all of those around him—he was the only one being roundly criticised in those early exchanges, of course—the 27-year-old bossed a Roma midfield that contained three illustrious names in Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan.
In total, Henderson made 12 ball recoveries—more than anyone else on the pitch—won three tackles and generally harried the life out of his opponents. He was also effective on the ball, using it quickly and forcefully.
He looked extremely fit, which has frustratingly not been the case often enough throughout his career, and his influence was every bit as important as headline-grabbers Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and James Milner, who has racked up a record nine assists in a Champions League campaign.
Jordan Henderson has rarely played better than against Roma. Up against some serious class in particularly Nainggolan (Roma's best player) and De Rossi and loved the challenge. And he dominated Strootman. Henderson turning into a real leader on and off the pitch. #lfc
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) April 25, 2018
Good to see Jordan Henderson getting plenty of praise today. He was superb last night. Others scored the goals but there was no doubting that he was the leader of that Liverpool team.
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) April 25, 2018
Henderson the player is somebody who will always be disliked by many, with their stubbornness never allowing their opinion to change, while refusing to give him even an ounce of praise.
It is as a captain that we are seeing some alterations in supporters’ stances, however, and the praise coming the England international’s way is fully merited.
He looked like a true leader on Tuesday, strutting around the pitch and barking instructions, and he is carrying himself with a different aura.
If on the pitch that impact still only gets highlighted sporadically, it is impossible to deny the kind of effect he is having off it.
His authority as captain seemed to go up a gear around the turn of the year, and his classy social media message to the fans who experienced difficulty travelling to Porto was a lovely touch.
Similarly, his heartfelt note to Liverpool fan Sean Cox, left in a critical condition after being assaulted by Roma supporters on Tuesday, was dignified and well-timed.
Everybody at Liverpool thinks very highly of him as a role model, whether it be youngsters, senior players or employees at Melwood, and it is pleasing to see such a likeable figure realising his potential as captain.
His dominant showing against Roma was arguably his biggest statement yet leading the Reds, as he shone brightly in the biggest home game for a decade.
Whisper it quietly, but a legendary period may be on the horizon for Henderson in the coming weeks.Captain to legend?
“I’m getting off lads. I’m not putting myself through seeing Jordan f***ing Henderson lift the Champions League. No chance. Was nice knowing you all.”
Those were the words of a generic rival supporter on Twitter during the wonderful 5-2 win over Roma, and it was a post that sums up the bizarre negativity that heads in Henderson’s direction.
He has been mocked ever since his disappointing early days at Anfield in 2011, and no other English player has to deal with such levels of vitriol.
Quite why that is the case remains a mystery.
Yes, he has clear limitations as a footballer, and couldn’t be more of a football hipster’s nightmare if he tried, but it makes the current situation all the more heartwarming.
Henderson is a couple of matches away from becoming just the fifth Liverpool captain to lift a European Cup, following in the footsteps of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Gerrard.
We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but that would be an achievement worthy of legendary status for him, regardless of how good or bad you think he is.
Gerrard echoed that sentiment, and there’s no disagreeing with the great man himself!
Captaining Liverpool to a Champions League triumph leaves no doubt about a player’s standing in the years that follow and Henderson will be desperate to etch his name into Reds folklore.
If we want to start straying into the realms of improbability, Henderson could even lift the World Cup this summer as well, although sensitive poster boy Harry Kane looks set to skipper the Three Lions.
They have next to no chance of winning the tournament anyway.
Henderson is somebody who is easy to root for. He is a long way from the flash stereotype of the modern footballer, he lives a grounded lifestyle and is someone his team-mates treasure.
Even his biggest detractor could not question his work ethic, and he fully ‘gets’ everything to do with representing Liverpool and skippering a club of such stature.
"I believe this Liverpool team are stronger with him in it…"
"If he delivers this Champions League he'll be a legend here forever."
Steven Gerrard passes verdict on Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson. pic.twitter.com/1nW7l3UWLn
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018
He will never come close to matching the playing feats of Gerrard, Souness and many, many more talented players who have come before him, but he is threatening to create a little piece of history of his own.
For the sheer fume it will cause among rivals should he hold ‘Ole Big Ears’ aloft in Kiev next month, Liverpool fans should all be cheering him on that little bit extra.
Is Henderson nailed on to start and be captain for years to come? Absolutely not.
He can be improved upon in the middle of the park, and Virgil van Dijk may end up a more reliable choice as skipper in terms of fitness levels and longevity.
Henderson is doing an admirable job these days, though, and Klopp’s words on him earlier in the season feel like a fitting place to finish.
“He is the captain here and that says everything about what I think of him.”
Another busy week for Liverpool on and off the pitch; here’s all the latest news regarding the Reds from Thursday’s media.
Gerrard linked with Rangers manager job
Liverpool U18s boss Steven Gerrard is being linked with a surprise move—to take over as head coach of Scottish side Rangers next season.
The Echo report the SPL chairman Dave King being at Anfield for the recent win over Roma, which Gerrard acted as a pundit during for BT Sport.
Gerrard is only in his first campaign as a youth manager, so it would be something of a surprise if he departed already to seek out a senior position.
He has never held back in his ambitions to become boss—eventually of the Reds’ first team—and Rangers are said to want a new manager next season.
The Glasgow Evening Times report that Gerrard is waiting to hear what financial backing he will get in the transfer market before accepting the offer.Injury updates: Mane and Oxlade-Chamberlain
There is hope that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may not have suffered ACL damage to his knee despite the Reds admitting his season was over.
Goal.com’s Neil Jones reports that the swelling is as yet still too severe around the affected area and that specialist medical advice will be taken in due course.
#LFC yet to give full diagnosis on Oxlade-Chamberlain injury, waiting for swelling in knee to go down and further advice from specialist. Ligament damage for certain, but hopeful he has avoided ACL tear, which would be a significant boost in terms of recovery time.
— Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) April 26, 2018
While a cruciate tear could result in nine months or more out, partially damaged or strained ligaments would be significantly less.
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane has sparked injury fears after he was seen attending the Spire Hospital in Liverpool.
The forward was there for around half an hour, report the Mail, though the club has not released any information regarding an injury.
Jurgen Klopp‘s pre-Stoke press conference on Friday may shed more light.Emre Can decision ‘imminent’
While the Reds remain rampant on the pitch thanks in no small part to an athletic and impressive midfield setup, one member has had to watch on from the sidelines of late.
Juventus have long been suitors and now they may finally get their answer, with Tuttosport claiming Can will inform them “imminently” of his plans for next season.
Bayern Munich have also been interested in signing the German international, who started out in their academy, but the report suggests Juve remain front-runners.Rumour mill: Max Meyer on a free
While Emre Can might leave on a free transfer, another German midfielder could yet take his place—also after running down his contract.
Schalke’s Max Meyer has played the deepest holding role for his side this term after having originally come through as an attacking midfielder.
He is out of contract in the summer and the Bundesliga runners-up-in-waiting have announced there will be no renewal of his deal, per Goal.
“Max will definitely leave Schalke in the summer. We are dealing with this situation professionally,” said sporting director Christian Heidel.
“The player is planning his future, we are currently planning Schalke’s future, and our plans head in different ways.”Lijnders on leaving the Reds
Former Liverpool coach Pepijn Lijnders is loving life as manager of NEC Nijmegen, but has noted the ongoing influence Jurgen Klopp has had on him.
In an interview with ESPN, Lijnders, who left the Reds midway through this season, describes his old boss as “one of the most important people in my career.”
The emphasis on playing the same way as Klopp has tried to with Liverpool is clear throughout.
Lijnders speaks on the identity of his team in a similar vein to the current Reds’ manager and plans to follow a similar approach.
“The style of playing 100 percent pressing and 100 percent counter-pressing is a style that doesn’t [arrive] in two, three weeks.
“I want to keep fighting to win prizes, but only in a certain way. I want people to feel the identity of my team every game, wherever we play, against whatever opposition.
“They have to feel that we dominate, press and are offensive and aggressive in defence.”
Stoke City are on the verge of relegation to the Championship, and confidence is almost non-existent going into the game.
The Reds host the Potters on Saturday lunchtime, with points still required to secure a top-four finish this season.
For Stoke, only a win will realistically do, as their battle to avoid the drop becomes more desperate as each week passes.
The meeting is sandwiched between Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final clashes with Roma, which may give the visitors hope, but getting a result will still be a tall order.
While, in theory, three wins could keep us up, we’re not winning against you lot.Where has it all gone wrong this season, having been a solid top flight team for a number of years?
That’s a big question.
There have been a series of failures on and off the pitch. Poor recruitment in the transfer market, terrible tactics and a general lack of ambition have done us this season, but this has been coming for the last two and a half years.
We held onto Mark Hughes for far, far too long, despite him having completely lost whatever it was that made him a success.
We then replaced him with Paul Lambert, who has since proven to be far from good enough.
Two bad managers, coupled with the complete lack of any quality up front, meant we simply weren’t able to hold our heads above water.Who have been Stoke’s three best players this season, and why? To refresh your memory, in November you went with Xherdan Shaqiri, Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen and Mortiz Bauer.
Shaqiri has arguably single-handedly prevented us from ‘doing a Derby’—the Rams got the lowest-ever Premier League points tally (11) in 07/08—and is the only true quality we have in the attacking positions.
Allen has run himself into the ground every game, and Bauer has been a very handy addition.
It speaks volumes that Bauer, a January signing who is currently being played out of position, has made this list.Any who have been particularly poor?
Saido Berahino, Jese, Eric Choupo-Moting, Kevin Wimmer, Charlie Adam, Mame Biram Diouf, Ramadan Sobhi, Erik Pieters, Glen Johnson, Ibrahim Afellay, Darren Fletcher and Peter Crouch.
Some of the above tried and just weren’t good enough, some of them have ability but haven’t worked hard enough, and some are just absolute wankers.
A lot of people may object to me putting the likes of Sobhi and Crouch—they do genuinely care and give their all—in the same sentence as Jese and Berahino, but the disappointments on the pitch have been varied and many.Nice to hear Joe Allen is doing well; he became a very popular player at Anfield. Do you see him leaving if the Potters are relegated?
He will almost certainly be off this summer, being one of the few to come away with any credit.
His tenacity and boundless energy puts his teammates to shame a lot of the time, and I suspect he will probably win our Player of the Season (although my vote would go to Shaqiri).
Fans love a player who gives his all.What have you made of Liverpool’s season?
You’ve done alright, haven’t you?
After the sale of Philippe Coutinho it helped you persist with a settled front three, and you’ve used that to pretty devastating effect.
Add one or two major signings and you’re a title contender next season.
You’re always capable of throwing away points against teams like West Brom, though.Do you think the Reds will win the Champions League?
You’re in with as good a chance as anyone.
I honestly couldn’t call it, but if you made me put money on it, I would lean towards Bayern Munich.If you could pick one Reds player who you think would improve Stoke the most, who would it be?
It’s Salah. He has scored nearly as many as we have as a team this season.Looking ahead to Saturday, where will the key battles take place?
This won’t be a battle, this will be a peaceful occupation of the Stoke City penalty area.Finally, hit me with your prediction…..
Liverpool score early and then carry on scoring until they get bored.
Liverpool 5-0 Stoke.
It has been a season of patience and learning for Ben Woodburn, but the talented teenager could end up playing a role for the Reds in the biggest game of all.
A Liverpool goalscorer at 17, an international player the same year. Woodburn’s rise was fast and impressive, but this year has been one of having to bide his time.
For the majority of the campaign, Woodburn has featured for the U23s and Steven Gerrard’s U19s in the UEFA Youth League.
In the latter competition, he skippered the Reds through to the quarter-finals, scoring twice along the way.
For a young player trying to make the breakthrough, being in the squad and then not being in the squad can feel like a backward step.
It doesn’t have to be at all, of course; situations can demand the inclusion of a player for a period of weeks, before he reverts back to his planned progress with the younger players.
Alternately, as is Woodburn’s case, regularly training with seniors is as important as getting competitive first-team minutes.
He was on the bench at the Etihad recently for the second leg of the quarter-finals, and has been an unused sub three times in the league this season.
His only appearance, though, came in the EFL Cup defeat at Leicester.
Further first-team football was a possibility in January, with Championship clubs including Sunderland interested in a loan, but that didn’t pan out either.
It was Klopp’s decision to keep Woodburn around, and his choice looks set to be vindicated.Klopp’s decisions
The boss was, early on, quite vocal about not wanting all the young hopefuls at the club to go out on loan.
He wanted to cultivate a spirit, show them his way of playing, have them available for first-team efforts when required.
That view has certainly been relaxed somewhat, with the Reds seeing over a dozen players out on temporary deals this term, but there’s still a group in place to call upon.
A loan has to be a thought-out move, not a ‘send them anywhere to play’ manoeuvre. Some will work out, others will not. The contrasting fortunes in England’s second tier for Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent attest to that.
But for others, being the next in line as available youth prospects is an exciting, and potentially rewarding, place to be.
Conor Masterson would likely not have been on the lips of fans to feature in squads this season, yet has done. Curtis Jones is another, and he could go directly up against Woodburn for a single place.Seizing the moment
Klopp has repeatedly spoken about promoting young players: “It’s not about giving them the chance, but that they have to be ready to take the chance when it’s there.”
The emphasis, clearly, is on the players to prove they merit further involvement, just as it should be for senior players.
Now is Woodburn’s chance.
Whether it comes against Stoke or in Rome, or even afterward, whether from the bench or the start, in midfield or as a forward, he has to be ready.
A performance, aggressive and impressive and technically suited to the level the first team are at, will not be ignored.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best proof of that; he’s earned his place and he’s kept it.
Woodburn has already shown he can show flashes of real brilliance, already highlighted his traits and ability to learn.
With signings expected over summer in both midfield and attacking lines, this is a pivotal moment for him: will be be called upon more frequently next term, or have to again face a development phase of patience and progress?
Either way, Woodburn looks capable of having a big future with Liverpool.
But the final weeks of this campaign could push forward when that future really takes off.
The Egypt international took his tally in an incredible debut season for the Reds to 43 with two goals – as well as two assists – from his best performance of the campaign in the 5-2 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Roma.
Many bookmakers have now made Salah the joint-favourite to win the Ballon d’Or alongside Real Madrid’s five-time winner of the award Cristiano Ronaldo – and Lovren agrees.
“He is the one. He is becoming the superstar. It looks easy what he does but it is very difficult,” said the Croatia international.
“If he continues like that – I don’t know if this is the right time to put pressure on him – but I believe he should be regarded as one of the best three in the world at the end of the year.
“He deserves to be mentioned for the Ballon d’Or – when people talk about Messi and Ronaldo they should also talk about Salah.
“He deserves the credit but I think he deserves even more to be honest. Forty-three goals guys, f*****g hell.”
Salah was central to an exhilarating display on another famous European night but there were numerous other top-class performances with Roberto Firmino, who also scored twice to take his tally to 27, and captain Jordan Henderson also hugely influential.
Anfield was shaken to its foundations by a brilliant 33-minute spell either side of half-time when the rampant Reds scored five goals and Roma looked down and out until two late goals gave them a glimmer of hope for the second leg.
Lovren admits it was a game the players themselves enjoyed as much as the fans.
“To be honest you feel powerful, you feel strong when you look around and see the players next to you,” he added.
“We have big names, we don’t maybe have lots of ‘superstars’ but it is not about the name, it is how we perform on the pitch.
“You know how we will react when we don’t have the ball and then we will not be afraid of anything else.
“You can see the system working, definitely. Every training session, every game we feel we are more comfortable and more confident.
“We just need to learn from our previous mistakes, we have to be more controlling of the game, that is where we need to improve, but I am pretty confident for the next leg.”
Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold admitted he had not played in a more enjoyable game, up to the point when Roma scored.
“It was just free-flowing, there was not a lot of thought going into it and it was natural and that was the main thing for the team. It was unbelievable,” he said.
The 19-year-old was at a loss, however, to put into words the quality of Salah’s two goals.
“He’s a credit to himself. He works hard in training and we see it on a daily basis in training so we’re getting used to it,” he added.
“It is world-class stuff from him and the whole team to be honest.
“That last finish I think he’s done three times in the last few weeks now so maybe keepers are getting on to it but to have that composure in front of goal – he was outside the box when he hit it and running at speed – was an unbelievable finish.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out for the rest of the season, Liverpool FC have confirmed on Wednesday.
The midfielder was withdrawn after 15 minutes of the Reds’ Champions League semi-final against Roma on Tuesday night, having fallen after challenging Aleksandar Kolarov.
Jurgen Klopp said post-match that the injury was “really bad” and that it had soured the evening for him and the rest of the squad.
It’s a massive blow for the player, who has hit form in recent weeks and become a key player in Liverpool’s midfield.
With eight assists and five goals, the 24-year-old was enjoying his most productive season as a player and therefore looked set to be part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.
The club confirmed the knee ligament injury, saying that “no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.”
Injuries of this nature can vary depending on how a player recovers, but it will likely be at least three months, meaning he could miss pre-season too. The worst-case scenario would be nine months out.
Klopp has said he will have to be “creative” with the next few games in response to the injury issues he has in midfield.
One option is to play a 3-4-3 formation against Stoke, meaning one of his midfielders can be rested, while another is to bring in youngster Ben Woodburn who has played in midfield for the Reds’ under-23s this season.
The eyes of the footballing world were on Anfield on Tuesday night as Mohamed Salah inspired the Reds to a 5-2 victory in a remarkable semi-final first leg against his former club Roma.
Braces from the Egyptian and Roberto Firmino bookended a Sadio Mane goal on a memorable evening for Liverpool, even if late efforts from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti gave the hosts hope ahead of the return leg next Wednesday.
The Kiev finale is tantalisingly close but Klopp only cares about the threat posed this weekend by relegation-threatened Stoke as Liverpool’s Premier League continues to wind down.
“We will fight with all we have for that result again,” the German said of the second leg in Rome.
“It’s much better than I could have expected before the game, but now in the moment of course I feel the two goals we conceded still.
“But I am already, to be 100 per cent honest, in the Stoke game.
“I am much more interested about the Stoke game in the moment than the second leg against Rome.
“The atmosphere (against Roma) was absolutely outstanding, what you can expect if you are 5-0 in the lead, the people really enjoyed it.
“So, I say to everybody who has a ticket, I expect exactly the same atmosphere on Saturday at 12:30 because we need it.
“That’s a massive game for us and we need to be ready for that, and we try everything to be ready for that.”
Liverpool are third in the Premier League standings, on 71 points, ahead of Stoke’s visit to Anfield.
The unprovoked attack on a Liverpool supporter 10 minutes before Tuesday night’s match has soured an incredible evening at Anfield, and shown the hypocrisy of the British media.
53-year-old Sean Cox, from Dunboyne in Ireland, was at Anfield with his brother when he was, according to all reports, attacked by a group of Italian hooligans outside the Albert pub.
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 similarly:
“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
He’s now being treated for his injuries at Walton Neurological Centre, where his condition is described as critical, according to Merseyside Police.Media Reporting
It should be made clear that this was a completely unprovoked and organised attack, with at least one hooligan carrying a hammer as a weapon.
And yet, several media – including the BBC – reported the news on Wednesday morning as ‘skirmishes’ or ‘clashes’. There was no skirmish or clash, it was an organised attack. Two men from Rome have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
When has an attempted murder ever been described as a ‘skirmish’ or a ‘clash’?
Hi @SkySportsNews – you ran the video of the attack from Roma fans outside Anfield yet?
Just wondering as you ran the coach ‘attack’ video for 3 days on the bounce.
— Steven (@Ste_Halliwell11) April 25, 2018
Interesting too that the likes of Sky Sports haven’t made this headline news, whereas the throwing of a few bottles or cans by the odd idiotic supporter pre-Man City was covered extensively and turned into a whole debate.
Are Sky, BBC and other media saying that the throwing of a bottle is more newsworthy than attempted murder?
What this highlights is the hypocrisy of the British media. Liverpool is claimed to be ‘the self-pity city’ by certain sections of the UK, and we hear ‘always the victim’ regularly sung at us.
And yet, compare the coverage of the last game for Liverpool’s Main Stand with that of the last game at Upton Park. “Liverpool fans seen stealing seats from Anfield” read the headline in the Daily Mail. “Souvenir time! West Ham fans pose with seats, signs and hoardings ripped from Upton Park” they wrote gleefully.
UEFA released a statement on Wednesday morning saying they were “deeply shocked by the vile attack that occurred ahead of Liverpool FC v AS Roma and our thoughts are with the victim and his family.”
How, exactly, can they be “shocked and appalled” by yet another cowardly attack by Roma hooligans?
In 2001, six Liverpool fans were stabbed before the Reds’ UEFA Cup tie in Rome.
In 2006, three Middlesbrough fans were stabbed.
In 2009, five Man United fans were stabbed.
Seems odd that UEFA is “deeply shocked” at Roma violence at Anfield last night, given their fans stabbed 6 Liverpool supporters in 2001, & then targeted Middlesbrough’s fans in 2006, Manchester United’s in 2007, Arsenal’s in 2009 & Chelsea’s last year…when will they act?! https://t.co/YiJBeP4xdz
— Dan Roan (@danroan) April 25, 2018
Last year, Chelsea fans drinking in an Irish bar were attacked by masked Roma fans with metal bars.
Well said. As someone who went to Rome with Utd, my advice is simple. DONT GO, the police won’t protect you. Watch at home and save your cash for the final.
— Arky (@MUFC_ST76) April 25, 2018
Any English supporter who has been to Rome knows the problems, and that the authorities are unlikely to be of much help. How come UEFA don’t know about this if they’re so shocked?
UEFA say they are “waiting to receive full reports before deciding on potential disciplinary charges” – don’t expect much to happen.
Mohamed Salah continues to rewrite the record books in a sensational season with Liverpool.
After the Egypt forward scored two more goals in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma, Press Association Sport takes a look at the landmarks he has set and those he can still chase.Liverpool Records
Salah has 43 goals in all competitions for the Reds, the most in a debut season for the club—comfortably beating the mark of 33 set by Fernando Torres in 2007/08.
Another four will see him match Ian Rush’s all-time record of 47 in a Liverpool season, set in 1983/84. Salah has at least four games left to achieve the feat, five if Liverpool hold off Roma in the second leg to reach the Champions League final.
His 31 league goals have seen him match Luis Suarez, in 2013/14, for the most in a Premier League season for Liverpool. With three games left, he seems sure to surpass the Uruguayan.
Salah and team-mate Roberto Firmino are the first Liverpool players to hit double figures in a Champions League campaign—they now have 10 apiece in the competition proper this term and each added one in the play-off second leg against Hoffenheim.Premier League Records
That tally of 31 also matches the record for a 38-game Premier League season shared by Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08 and Alan Shearer in 1995/96.
He is only three behind the outright Premier League record of 34, set by Andy Cole and Shearer in 42-game seasons in 1993-94 and 1994-95 respectively.
Salah is the first African player to score 30 goals in a Premier League season. The feat has now been achieved 10 times in all by eight players, including Shearer three times.
With nine assists as well, he is only the fifth player with 40 or more goals and assists combined in a Premier League season, following Cole and Shearer in their 34-goal seasons, Thierry Henry for Arsenal in 2002/03 and Suarez in 2013/14.
Shearer and Cole’s tallies of 47 are the highest ever, with Henry’s 44 the record for a 38-game campaign.
Salah is the first person to be named the Premier League’s Player of the Month three times in one season, scooping the prize in November, February and March.
He has scored in 23 separate Premier League games this season, also a record.
Liverpool coasted to a famous 5-2 victory against Roma in the Champions League semi final first leg, and BT Sport’s behind-the-scenes footage of the game has expertly captured the night.
It was another famous European evening for the Reds, as they made themselves firm favourites to reach the Champions League final in Kiev on May 26.
Two late goals for the visitors were an undoubted blow, but it was still a special performance, and one that should be talked about for years to come.
The above BT Sport ‘No Filter UCL’, gives a great look at what went on throughout the night at Anfield, with behind-the-scenes shots galore.
Beginning with stunning scenes outside the ground, the supporters are in great voice, with “Allez! Allez! Allez!” being sung with great passion.
Steven Gerrard, on punditry duties, jokes with Frank Lampard about Luis Garcia’s infamous ‘Ghost Goal’ from the 2005 semi-final against Chelsea, saying, “well over the line that, in my opinion”.
Jurgen Klopp conducts his pre-match media duties, before a stirring rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” takes place before kick-off.
Mohamed Salah‘s stunning first goal sees Gerrard celebrating wildly in the studio, with co-commentator Steve McManaman also raising his arms in disbelief.
The ‘Egyptian King’s’ second of the night is equally delightful, leading to scenes of unbridled joy in the stands, with supporters embracing with one another.
After the game, Gerrard admits concern about the two conceded goals, but calls Salah, “the best player on the planet right now”.
Meanwhile, Klopp rues some of his side’s missed chances in his post-match interview, although the German is quick to label the performance as “brilliant”.
It is a great watch for any Reds fan, as this unforgettable season continues.
A scintillating Liverpool sealed a 5-2 win over Roma in their Champions League semi-final first leg, but there is still room for improvement.
After it was stressed that the hosts should not take their Serie A opposition lightly, Jurgen Klopp‘s side blew Roma out of the water with a fierce display of attacking quality.
But with Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti striking late to give Roma hope for the second leg, it was far from perfect for Liverpool, with Dejan Lovren‘s late collapse particularly worrying.
So what did journalists and statisticians make of Liverpool’s 5-2 victory?
It would be remiss to not laud Salah for his faultless performance, and this outing was reflected in a phenomenal rating (9.8) boosted by seven 10-out-of-10 marks.
Only the Echo and Sky Sports failed to award the Egyptian King a perfect score, with The Anfield Wrap’s Ben Johnson describing him as “genuinely stunning.”
Firmino is deservedly not far behind (9.3), for it was the Brazilian’s industry, strength and creativity that allowed Liverpool to carve open Roma throughout.
In the biggest night of his career as captain, Henderson (8.4) produced an excellent, mature display, with no publication rating the 27-year-old as lower than an eight out of 10.
Alexander-Arnold (7.7) and Andy Robertson (7.9) also impressed, while it was a mixed night for Mane (7.3), who missed two golden opportunities in the first half but then scored after the break.
Lovren (6.9) received varied ratings across publications, from six-out-of-10s from Sky Sports and Anfield Index to eight-out-of-10s from The Anfield Wrap and The Redmen TV.
This proved a rare occasion that statistical ratings were as emphatic as those of journalists as WhoScored awarded both Salah and Firmino a 10 out of 10.
Interestingly, however, Mane was the only other player to been deemed higher than a seven out of 10, with Loris Karius the closest despite having the lowest average rating of any player (6.4).
Alexander-Arnold’s numbers clearly didn’t match up to the eye test as the 19-year-old has endured a big swing in his ratings from WhoScored and his overall average.
In this case, given the magnitude of the result, it is safe to say that the stats don’t paint an accurate picture.
Liverpool still have a job to do in Rome, but their 5-2 first-leg win in the Champions League semi-finals should provide focus for next Wednesday.
You can see for miles from the upper tier of the new Main Stand.
From my seat, to the right I get to see a good chunk of the Liverpool skyline, inclusive of the two cathedrals. In the opposite direction to the left I get to peer into Stanley Park, where you get a close view of the matchday car park.
On days when Liverpool labour, you can even people-watch as they take their dogs for a walk through the park.
Against Roma, you could make out the flashing lights of countless cars as their alarms went off, each and every time Liverpool scored, due to the noise created inside Anfield.
It was an impressive sight to see, as you bounced up and down, locked in a bear-hug with somebody you’ve never met before.Two Late Away Goals & The Loss of Oxlade-Chamberlain
Let’s get the downside out of the way: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a huge loss.
He’s been a phenomenal surprise since he signed to the sound of a collective sigh from the Liverpool congregation back in August.
Early noises are he won’t return until next season. We could have done without that.
Thankfully, Gini Wijnaldum rose magnificently to the challenge of replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain.
We can’t be losing any more players from hereon in.
The two away goals were massively careless, but they can provide the focus we’ll need to display in Rome next week.
I know which stat I’d back to be broken of the two at Stadio Olimpico. We own Roma. We always have and we always will.A Cavalry Charge Down Walton Breck Road
Unsavory scenes before the game and a Liverpool fan left in a very bad way.
Liverpool’s troubles with Roma fans go back to 1984.
A week from now the team need to come back with a place in the Champions League final, while the fans who travel need to make it home safely.Bobby Firmino the Invisible Man
Bobby Firmino edges toward the 30-goal mark, and yet the wider community of football still fails to notice him. Long may that continue.
The more he is underestimated the more dangerous he becomes, while those who do realise the threat he poses can do little about it.
Imagine Naby Keita supplying this Liverpool front line? It won’t be long until you need imagine it no longer.
Firmino could win Brazil the World Cup this summer if the CBF woke up to themselves.
Mane had a mixed night. Missing good opportunities, but still finding the net eventually.
Salah got the party rolling. 5-0 up when he departed the scene, 5-2 in his absence.
We might well have conceded those goals had he been on the pitch or not, but Roma’s players were petrified of him. I doubt they would have got as brave as they did towards the end if they had still needed to keep an eye on Salah.The 2nd Leg
What to expect?
Those of a nervous disposition will point to the way Roma overturned Barcelona in the quarter-finals and, yes, they are a threat going forward. They might just score goals next week.
After a hardworking first 27 minutes, where they were definitely proving to be troublesome, Roma went ‘rabbit in the headlights’. At times the Roma players struck the images of road cones to be passed around.
At stages of the second leg Roma will undoubtedly strike the image of startled road cones once again, and it will be down to us to punish them when they do.
Score one goal and Roma will need to score four. Score two goals and Roma will need five.
The lightning which struck against Barcelona won’t strike a second time.
See how Barcelona themselves failed to replicate their stunning fightback against Paris Saint-Germain last season, when they tumbled out of the tournament in the very next round under similar first-leg circumstances against Juventus.
This isn’t arrogance, this isn’t being blase, this is about having enough belief in the capabilities of this Liverpool team to cope with a hostile and testing environment a week from now.
It won’t be easy, but this Liverpool can finish the job. Put your trust in it.In the Meantime
Stoke City come to Anfield on Saturday.
Fast running out of players, it could be a very strange lineup which takes to the field.
Maybe Trent Alexander-Arnold could be worth a go in midfield.
How about a couple of debuts for those promising, up-and-coming kids who get to warm the bench now and again?
Either way, given what’s to come, it’s going to be hard to take it one game at a time over the course of the next few days.
The Italian press believe Roma are capable of pulling off yet another “extraordinary” comeback to overturn a three-goal deficit and knock Liverpool out of the Champions League semi-finals.
Braces from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, and a goal from Sadio Mane, meant Roma were 5-0 down at Anfield before Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti struck late on to give the Giallorossi a glimmer of hope.
In the quarter-finals unfancied Roma reversed a 4-1 defeat to Barcelona to shock the Catalans at the Stadio Olimpico with an historic 3-0 win.
And the consensus in the Italian sport dailies is that Eusebio Di Francesco’s men have every chance of subjecting Liverpool to the same treatment when the clubs reunite next week.
“Roma: three reasons to believe,” read a headline in La Gazzetta dello Sport, with the paper first noting that the capital club have already pulled off comebacks against Shakhtar Donetsk and Barca.
“‘It can be done’ is the mantra to be repeated between now and May 2.”
#BuongiornoATutti! Your front pages for Wednesday's Italian sports papers in English: https://t.co/Y9mpQvrYzl #LiverpoolRoma #LFC #ASRoma #LFCASR #LIVROM #UCL #Juventus #FCIM #SerieA #Udinese #Torino #Ancelotti #ACMilan #Napoli pic.twitter.com/q9RKFPWdSh
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) April 25, 2018
Secondly, it claimed that Roma’s tactical approach was right – “the road to follow is that of the first 20 minutes at Anfield, when we saw a tight, attentive and rather aggressive approach in midfield.”
“To overturn the result will require that same intensity during the whole 90 minutes.”
Gazzetta concluded by identifying Liverpool’s relative fragility in defence. The third point read: “The Giallorossi goals came after Salah was taken off and Liverpool relaxed a bit, but if there is a weak point in (Jurgen) Klopp’s team it is hidden behind them – it is their defensive lapses.”
Il Corriere dello Sport called for a “push” at the Olimpico, simultaneously blaming “referee errors” in citing an early unpunished foul on Kevin Strootman and a possible offside for Liverpool’s third goal.
An editorial piece read: “It will certainly not be easy to repeat that display against Barcelona, because the English side have legs, brains and an ability to get the ball forward which can be deadly even when they are playing away from home.
“But Roma have the right and the duty to dream that they can produce a fantastic double of comebacks in the Champions League.
“The 70,000 who will gather in the Olimpico will be the first to believe and they know that doing it against this Liverpool team would be even more extraordinary.
“If they could be there already, those 70,000 fans, they would be. To fire up Roma.”
The media were in awe of Liverpool’s attacking display and Mohamed Salah after the Reds took a commanding 5-2 first-leg lead over Roma.
The Reds took a big step towards reaching the Champions League final in Kyiv with a stunning performance and result at Anfield.
But just when it seemed Liverpool would cruise to victory Roma hit two late goals through Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti to earn a glimmer of hope for the second leg.
Despite the late collapse it was an excellent performance and result, and with a three-goal lead the Reds should have full confidence in seeing the job through in Rome next Wednesday.
Before attentions turn to that tie, here’s how the media assessed a crazy but special night at Anfield.
Most of the media felt the performance and result outweighed frustrations with the late goals conceded…
Our man Karl Matchett rightly insisted that the result is far better than it feels:
“It feels worse than it really is: Liverpool have, after all, just won a Champions League semi-final by a 5-2 scoreline.
“They’ve put five past one of the last four sides in Europe. They could have scored eight.”
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce labelled the display an “attacking masterclass” and felt it overshadowed disappointment with the defensive sloppiness:
“But this wasn’t a night for regrets after Liverpool produced one of the most sensational performances in the club’s illustrious European history.
“How can you criticise a team who delivered such a spellbinding attacking masterclass when the stakes were so high?”
Summarising the performance, the Mail’s Ian Ladyman felt Roma got lost in the emotion of Anfield and likened their display to a boxer walking onto a combination of knockout punches:
“At Anfield, things can get away from you very quickly indeed. The only sporting analogy that seems anywhere near appropriate is that it must be like walking onto a flurry of heavyweight punches. One moment you are in the fight and the next minute the lights have gone out.”
And Matchett praised Liverpool’s ruthlessness in going for the kill to build a dominant and commanding lead:
“We’ve seen it before, but in a game of such magnitude, it was especially pleasing to see. Liverpool sensed their moment and went for the kill, splitting Roma apart time and time again, hungry for goal after goal after goal.
“The Reds have the players to make the most of such occasions and given the tie is a two-legged affair, it was imperative they made the most of the momentum they gained.”
But some reporters were frustrated with the goals conceded…
For JOE.co.uk, Dion Fanning felt the ease at which the Reds were creating and scoring played a part in the conceding as Klopp’s side chased more goals rather than manage the game:
“Liverpool had closed down the first leg against Manchester City in the second half, but this maybe seemed too easy.
“Maybe Liverpool had failed in game management as some suggested or maybe they had felt supremely confident in their ability to continue scoring.”
The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor thought Klopp made an error substituting Salah as it withdrew the main threat:
“Perhaps the manager made a mistake of his own by withdrawing Mohamed Salah, who had scored two and set up another couple.”
ESPN’s Dave Usher thinks another show of late sloppiness means it must be treated as more than an isolated incident before it becomes something more serious:
“Beyond that, the worrying drop-off after 80 minutes should be a concern as it is not an isolated incident. Everton, Bournemouth and West Brom have all put Liverpool under pressure in the final 10 minutes of recent games too.”
A certain Red was lauded in post-match reports for a breathtaking performance…
James Nalton, for the Sportsman, said Salah’s performance on the night—and in previous games in the competition—will go down in Anfield history:
“Salah’s performances will become part of this history whether Liverpool reach the final or not, but if their No. 11 plays like this in the second leg then they will definitely be going to Kiev at the end of May.”
The Mail’s Dominic King believes the Egyptian King is a genuine contender for the Ballon d’Or:
“Never mind being the PFA Player of the Year, this was a performance that stamped out as a genuine Ballon d’Or contender.”
Pearce says Salah is undoubtedly the best player in the world right now:
“On current form there is no better player on the planet.”
The Telegraph’s Paul Hayward believes Salah is already on the way to becoming a Reds legend and has no limits on how good he can become:
“With Salah’s two first-half goals against a Roma side whose prior knowledge of him was no use whatsoever, you could feel the PFA Player of the Year easing into the company of Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard.
“He would need to stick around a while and maintain these standards to become true Anfield royalty, but his form this year has been spectacular, and his first-half brace spoke of a player without limits at this level.”
ESPN’s Mark Ogden reckons Salah alone gives Liverpool a chance of winning European Cup No. 6:
“Salah has been in majestic form for months and if he stays fit, Liverpool will have a fantastic chance of winning a sixth European Cup against either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in Kiev next month if they can see the result out next week.”
The Mirror’s Alex Richards noted how Liverpool have adapted the system to get the best from Salah:
“Gradually the side has developed around Salah as the season has progressed, pushing him closer to goal and with less responsibility defensively. It may just be on the verge of firing them to European glory.”
The collective and individual performances on and off the pitch were praised…
Firstly, the Mirror’s Andy Dunn believes Klopp has proved himself one of the best in the business in this European run, lauding the German’s man-management skills:
“This remarkable Champions League form is showing him to be a coach of many facets, a man-manager supreme. Tactically, think of the job he has done with the remarkable Salah, the way he has deployed him in this fluid three-man attack.”
“He has always been more than people perceive, but the added component of experience has made him indispensible. Having started the season wondering if he would be continuing as a makeshift left-back like last year, he is now arguably the most complete central midfielder at the club.”
Matchett praised Gini Wijnaldum for taking his chance to impress and felt the Dutchman played an “integral” role giving the Reds in control:
“The Dutchman was integral in the Reds’ improved fortunes from the half-hour mark onward, harassing and challenging high upfield and surging down the channels to keep Roma pegged back.”
And discussing the midfield as a collective, Bascombe believes the balance of the Reds’ engine room has been aided by Philippe Coutinho’s departure:
“Since Coutinho’s January sale the structure of Liverpool’s midfield has been altered with positive consequence.”
Richards praised Firmino, and believes the Brazilian is helping to bring the best out of Salah:
“But Firmino continues to mature and grow into one of the very best centre-forwards anywhere.
“The Brazilian’s perpetual motion, intelligence and ability to both score and make goals has made him the perfect focal point to this Reds side. Salah is thriving from playing with him and vice versa.”
Reporters turned attention to the second leg—with most feeling the Reds have enough to complete the job…
Matchett assessed that it is essential Liverpool show “control and a strong mentality” in Rome:
“The Stadio Olimpico should hold no fears for the Reds; control and a strong mentality are a must, but as they showed at the Etihad Stadium, they do have both in abundance.”
Seemingly forgetting the Reds’ resolute second leg at Man City, Ladyman questioned Liverpool’s ability to produce one in Rome:
“Liverpool must go away from home and take the life out of the game. It is not something they are used to, it does not come naturally to them and is not something they are particularly good at. It will present Klopp with a challenge and what will be just as crucial will be the way Roma play.”
The Independent’s Miguel Delaney thinks Roma will have a tougher job trying to stop Salah than they did having to stop Barcelona in the last round:
“It’s going to take more than Roma repeating what they did against Barcelona. It’s going to take preventing Salah doing this.”
And colleague Jack Austin believes Liverpool will reach the final—and thinks the Reds will go into it as favourites because of their attacking prowess:
“Real Madrid or Bayern Munich await in the final, neither of whom have a reputation for an especially strong defence. Liverpool could well go to the final as favourites.”
Two men from Rome have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a 53-year-old supporter was assaulted 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 and appealing for video footage.
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.”
The Liverpool boss saw his side take a five-goal lead before the Italian side fought back to net twice late on, making the second leg in a week’s time much more than a formality.
Klopp was pleased with his side’s performance for the most part—but a serious injury to key midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain tempered any real joy.
“The biggest blow is the injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain,” he told reporters.
“It looks like it is [the season over for him]. It doesn’t look good. I’m a very positive person and I hope it only ‘feels’ bad.
“We lost a fantastic player tonight. I’m not really in the mood to talk about specific, fantastic things.”
Klopp was naturally disappointed with the way Roma were allowed back into the match late on.
“It’s much better than I could have expected before the game, but of course I feel the two goals [conceded],” he added.
“Conceding two goals is not what we want. The boys played a brilliant game over a long period.
“We made one mistake, the ref made one mistake. Two goals, that’s how it is.”
On Mohamed Salah, scorer of two more goals on the night, Klopp was effusive in his praise.
“Outstanding. He has a massive impact for us. First goal is a genius strike, he’s scored a few like this. It’s no coincidence,” the manager enthused.
“If anyone wants to say it’s my mistake we conceded two goals because we changed the striker (Salah), I’m fine with that.
“It would not have helped us if he gets an injury, and that’s the reason for [the sub].”
Finally, Klopp was adamant that Roma were still in the tie and the Reds would have to match their Anfield performance in the second leg.
“We controlled the game in a very nice football way, good to watch, even for me. But it’s not over,” he concluded.
“Since when I arrived, Liverpool has always had to take the difficult way. But in the end, we have succeeded.
“If one of my players doesn’t think Rome will try to come back, he won’t play!”
Jordan Henderson had mixed feelings after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Roma, with Liverpool conceding twice after having led by five goals at Anfield.
The skipper felt his team were incredible going forward in the Champions League semi-final and knows the same will be required again in the second leg next week.
And Henderson lauded the off-the-ball movement shown by the front three.
“I thought some of the runs and some of the balls in behind were brilliant; probably we’re disappointed not to score more to be honest!” he told BT Sport.
“We need to be at our best but I fancy us to go there and score with the forward players we’ve got.”
Later in the match though, the Reds allowed Roma back into the tie by conceding twice late on, a strike from Edin Dzeko and a penalty dispatched by Diego Perotti, much to the annoyance of the Liverpool captain.
“We basically gave them two goals, which you cannot do in the Champions League,” he added.
“But at the same time we’ve played well, won the game, we go there with a three-goal advantage.
“It’ll be a really tough challenge for us but we’ll be confident after the performance, put a solid display on and hopefully get us to the final.”
Henderson will lead the Reds out at the Olimpico next Wednesday knowing they’ll have to be solid at the back and wait for their chances to attack—but the final in Kyiv is most certainly within touching distance.
Liverpool surged to a remarkable five-goal lead at Anfield before conceding twice late on to ensure a 5-2 win over Roma in the Champions League.
* Video above from BT Sport; geographic restrictions may apply.
The Reds headed out of the tunnel to an incredible atmosphere on Merseyside, as dreams of a sixth European Cup grow more likely by the game.
Taking on a Roma side who had defeated Barcelona in the quarter-finals, however, Jurgen Klopp‘s side faced a stern test in their semi-final first leg.
With the Kop roaring them on with every touch, they then went 2-0 up before the break, with the brilliant Roberto Firmino threading Salah through for a sensational second, and his 43rd.
The Egyptian King then tallied a pair of assists after half-time, first for Mane and then for Firmino, who sealed a brace of his own with a header from a James Milner corner on 69 minutes.
Klopp opted to withdraw Salah with his side 5-0 up, but their intensity dropped immediately, and both Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti scored late on to give Roma a lifeline in Italy next week.
In both of their previous knockout ties they’ve produced mature displays in the second leg, and the hope will be Klopp can inspire another at Stadio Olimpico.
An amazing night at Anfield saw Liverpool take control of their Champions League semi-final by claiming a three-goal first-leg win over AS Roma.
Liverpool 5-2 AS Roma
Anfield, UEFA Champions League semi-final, first leg
April 24, 2018
Goals: Salah 36′ 44′, Mane 56′, Firmino 61′ 69′; Dzeko 81′, Perotti pen 85′.Salah the destroyer; Bobby the lynchpin
Salah was incredible, an outlet and a threat from 20 minutes onward, looking likely to score or create a chance every time he took possession.
His first goal, a top-corner curled effort, was sublime given the stage and the stalemate scoreline—but the composure he showed for his second was outstanding too.
Add a couple of assists, selfless when he could have gone for a hat-trick in either moment, and he was genuinely world class in this European last four clash.
Firmino wasn’t far behind—yet again, everything Liverpool did went through him in the build-up.
His two goals were predatory, close-range, well-finished after great deliveries, but his movement and work rate mean he offers so much more. Two assists for him, too.
And another record apiece: Mo’s brace made him the highest-scoring Red in a single European season…and Bobby quickly matched him.Going for the jugular
We’ve seen it before, but in a game of such magnitude, it was especially pleasing to see.
Liverpool sensed their moment and went for the kill, splitting Roma apart time and time again, hungry for goal after goal after goal.
The Reds have the players to make the most of such occasions and given the tie is a two-legged affair, it was imperative they made the most of the momentum they gained.
This could easily have been an occasion when the team sat off, protected a goal or two lead and let the size of possibility scare them.
Not under Klopp, not with these forwards.
Five goals was the least the Reds’ attacking play—exploiting the dismal approach of Roma’s defence—deserved.
Now they will want to become the first and only side to score in Europe at the Olimpico this season.Gini makes a point
Starting on the bench in such a big game can be enough to make some players fume, but there’s only one way to rectify the situation: take your chance when it comes.
The Dutchman was integral in the Reds’ improved fortunes from the half-hour mark onward, harrassing and challenging high upfield and surging down the channels to keep Roma pegged back.
More than once he made bursts into the box, linked nicely and created a couple of shooting chances too.
The Dutchman was important against Man City in the last round and will have perhaps been disappointed not to start here, but he’ll be needed for the rest of the season.
Klopp suggested after the game that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury may well be a bad one; fingers crossed he can return before the season is out, pending an assessment.
Five goals up and cruising, but at this level one mistake can count.
Dejan Lovren‘s moment of misjudgement caused a dramatic swing in atmosphere and approach, with Edin Dzeko suddenly firing unexpected belief into his team-mates.
Roma scored twice in the last 10 minutes and, improbably, will leave feeling they’ve given themselves a small, small chance…just like they had against Barcelona in the last round.
There is no margin for error at the highest level of the game.
The Reds should have seen this out, would have seen this out, but on such decisions can matches be won and lost.
Lovren and his team-mates must be perfect at the Olimpico.Forget disappointment, the final’s in reach
It feels worse than it really is: Liverpool have, after all, just won a Champions League semi-final by a 5-2 scoreline.
They’ve put five past one of the last four sides in Europe.
They could have scored eight.
The Stadio Olimpico should hold no fears for the Reds; control and a strong mentality are a must, but as they showed at the Etihad Stadium, they do have both in abundance.
Roma will come out to attack; Roma may even score early on. But the Reds will get chances, the Reds know how to exploit the Giallorossi, and they should finish them off.
A Champions League final is in sight once more, and it is completely and utterly deserved. Finish the job off next week.