Liverpool vs AS Roma Preview: Underdogs meet as Champions League semi's get underway

Liverpool vs AS Roma Preview: Underdogs meet as Champions League semi's get underway

Liverpool will be bidding to put home advantage to good use as their European clash with Roma kick's off on Tuesday evening.

Oliver Emmerson

Liverpool will hope to capture Anfield's intense European atmosphere once more as their Champions League semi-final with AS Roma gets underway on Tuesday evening.

The two teams were given little hope of making it this far, but each remain just two positive results away from a place in the final in Kiev next month.

Narrow favourites Liverpool are competing in their first Champions League semi-final in this decade, whilst you have to go back to 1984 to see Roma this far in the competition - a season during which they were beat in the final by Liverpool.

Upsetting the odds

Neither side were given much hope after progressing to the quarter final stage, drawn against runaway league leaders Manchester City and Barcelona respectively.

Liverpool had put five unanswered goals past FC Porto in the round prior but it was thought that Pep Guardiola's swashbuckling Citizens would have a clear edge over two legs, only for the Reds to win 3-0 at home and 2-1 away, clinching a mighty 5-1 aggregate win.

Roma's progression was even wilder, dumping out Lionel Messi's Catalans with the most remarkable of comeback's.

Having been comprehensively beaten at the Nou Camp, they overturned a 4-1 deficit, winning 3-0 at home to go through on away goals courtesy of a late Konstantinos Manolas header.

If the two sets of supporters weren't already on cloud nine, their moods were boosted further by the semi-final draw, both avoiding Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and back-to-back winners Real Madrid

Tuesday's game, followed up a week on Wednesday in Rome, promises to be a thriller as the two look to make one final push to the final.

Mo Salah's return, but what about Dzeko?

The game will be a huge one for Mohamed Salah, who faces the side he left for Merseyside last summer, fresh off the back of scooping the PFA Player's Player of the Season award.

The Egyptian will be looking to add to his staggering tally of 41 goals for the season, having not failed to score when starting at Anfield since December.

One man who revealed he sent Salah a text following the draw being made was Edin Dzeko.

“I just told him we are going to see each other in the semis and that I wish him to score to break the Premier League record but, in the semis, he can rest a little bit,” said the Roma frontman.

Formerly of Manchester City, Dzeko has previous against Liverpool with two goals against the Reds, as well as having been a part of the last City team to avoid defeat at Anfield, back in the 2012-31 season.

Dzeko is Roma's top scorer in the competition with six goals, less than any of Liverpool's front three, with Salah joining Roberto Firmino on eight goals whilst Sadio Mane has seven.

Team news

Jurgen Klopp will welcome Trent Alexander-Arnold back into the team after he was rested against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, whilst the aforementioned Firmino should come back in too with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also returning.

Dejan Lovren's return to fitness should see him partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the home defence, with Joel Matip out for the season. 

Andrew Robertson will step back in ahead of Alberto Moreno at left-back.

Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco was coy about whether he'd line up with a back three ahead of the game, saying; "I don't like to talk about the line-up. I will decide depending on the rival.

"The most important thing is the philosophy, especially keeping the team as shut as possible against a team that is lethal on the break."

Diego Perotti's return from injury is welcomed by the visitors but it's thought he'll have to settle for a place on the bench.