Tonight sees the 1st leg of the Champions League Semi-Final match between Liverpool vs AS Roma at Anfield, and this is truly where the magic of the competition begins, with the prospect of the UCL final looming large in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26th 2018.
Liverpool are fresh off their victory against Manchester City in the last round of the competition, plus with a 3-0 beating of AFC Bournemouth and a 2-2 draw away to West Bromwich Albion behind them, in preparation for this match, they also partly rested some of their star players ahead of tonights important 1st leg match. Moreover, star player Mohammed Salah picked up the PFA Player of the Year Award on Sunday, as expected, which will be another morale boosting award prior to their clash with AS Roma.
Should Liverpool be considered favourites for the whole tie? The answer is no, although they will have a slight edge in that they are playing at home tonight, but AS Roma are by now means a pushover, after eliminating FC Barcelona in the last round and they have the capability of making this into the hardest match Liverpool have had all season long.
AS Roma have since defeated Genoa and SPAL comfortably in Serie A, after they shocked the world by turning around a 4-1 deficit, by beating Messi and Co. 3-0 at home, to put them through to the Semi-Finals on Away goals.
The last time the sides met was on the 2nd of August of 2016, in a Friendly Match, where Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by AS Roma, but that’s just a factoid at this point, since the sides have changed since that point in time, however, not drastically in terms of the players involved, overall.
The question is whether Liverpool will be able to handle the mental aspect of this Semi-Final, with arguably Roma’s history of having been here before in terms of squad experience, but with the fearlessness that Liverpool have been showing lately with Salah, Mane and Firmino in attack, with the high pressure of attack and defence, it may just unsettle the Italians, from early on.
AS Roma will look to slow the game down, and Liverpool will look to play at a high pace, so it will be interesting to see who will command the pace of this match and this is highly important, when it comes to who will come out on top on the night.
AS Roma’s danger men are naturally Edin Dzeko in attack, Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan in midfield, with an additional physical threat coming from the full backs of Kolarov and Manolas, but if Liverpool can play tight at the back and contain them, then expect Salah and Co. to be able to overpower Roma’s defence with their pace in attack in the final third.
Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren will have to keep Edin Dzeko quiet all night long, and hold fort at the back in order to have a chance for the space to open up for Salah, Firmino and Mane.
However, with AS Roma having a technically superior midfield than Liverpool, this may just be where the game is won and lost, unless Emre Can and Jordan Henderson can topple De Rossi and Nainggolan in the centre of the park, which would surely ensure a Liverpool victory.
This will be a tough match, and it will be nail biting stuff from the kick-off, but our prediction is a small Liverpool victory, which by no means guarantees their qualification to the final, given the daunting task of the return leg in Rome on the 2nd of May. What’s your prediction in tonight’s match? Tell us in the comments section down below.
Our Match Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Roma
Story by The Narrator
Featured Photo Credit: YouTube