Champions League: Roma vs Liverpool – Lineups, Preview and Prediction

Liverpool travel to Rome on Wednesday needing to avoid a three-goal loss to advance to the Champions League final.


(Photo credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble)

19:45 BST, Wednesday 2nd May, Stadio Olimpico (Rome, Italy), BT Sport

Liverpool find themselves on the cusp of a Champions League final for the first time since 2007 having run out 5-2 winners at Anfield in the first leg of the semi-final stages.

Roma fans will be taking comfort from the fact that their team overturned Barcelona by the 3-0 scoreline that would see them progress on Wednesday.

Both teams find themselves in third place in their respective leagues although both are well off the pace set by the title contenders.

This with bother neither side, though, with the chance of a Champions League final in the offing.

Last Time Out

Roma 4-1 Chievo (Serie A)

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

If league matches before Champions League matches are anything to go by, Roma should be feeling pretty confident heading into Wednesday’s game.

With goals from Patrik Schick and Edin Dzeko coming in the first half, the game looked headed in one direction. 

However, ten minutes into the second half, Juan Jesus was red-carded, making the result look a little less tangible.

Two goals in two minutes from Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy though put the game to bed so that Roberto Inglese’s late goal proved to be only a consolation.

Stoke 0-0 Liverpool (Premier League)

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble)

Jurgen Klopp heavily rotated his squad on Saturday ahead of the Champions League clash with Roma in the week.

However, there was still space in the team for a record hunting Mohamed Salah who was looking to score more goals than any other player in the history of a 38-game Premier League season.

When Salah missed an easy chance early on in the game, it was clear that it was not going to be a prolific game.

So it proved to be, Darren Moore continuing West Bromwich’s upward trajectory and making a case to be permanently instated as the club’s manager.

AS Roma Lineup

Roma are missing Rick Karsdorp and Gregoire Defrel to long-term injury. They will be joined by Kevin Strootman and Diego Perotti who have more minor injuries. 

Liverpool Lineup

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being ruled out for the season with a knee ligament injury, Jurgen Klopp will be pleased to be able to welcome Sadio Mane back into the squad.

Key Battle: Radja Nainggolan (AS Roma) vs Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

Radja Nainggolan is the beating heart of the Roma midfield three at least from a creative standpoint.

With the team from Rome needing three goals at the bare minimum, Eusebio Di Francesco will likely field a forward two as he did against Barcelona. 

However, without Kevin Strootman available – likely replaced by Maxime Gonalons – much of the creative impetus from the midfield area will need to come from the Belgian.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

His counterpart on Wednesday will be a player who was only included in the first leg because Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got injured.

When he came on, though, the result was impressive. Wijnaldum was central to everything Liverpool did on the night and, were it not for Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino’s goal-scoring antics, might have earned himself the Man of the Match award.

Talking Points

How do Roma approach the tie?

When they beat Barcelona in the quarter-finals, Roma plotted their match to perfection. Against Liverpool, a different approach will be needed that will require equal planning.

With Liverpool’s lightning-fast counter-attack always dangerous, Roma won’t be able to unpick their visitors in quite the same way as they did with Barcelona.

Should they sit back for the first half, tiring out Liverpool before looking to pick them off in the second half? Or should they come out of the blocks quickly in the first half and look to shock them?

Liverpool with one foot in the door

Despite the fact they conceded two goals late on in the first leg, it is important for Liverpool to remember that they come into this game the overwhelming favourites.

Throughout the course of this season, the Merseysiders have demonstrated something of a propensity to panic.

It will be paramount that they don’t let any doubts creep in for this fixture. If they do, they could find themselves wondering how they didn’t make the final.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Roma

Liverpool have the easier task on Wednesday, absorbing pressure and then picking off Roma on the counter-attack.

It’s hard to see them doing anything other than win… that is, unless they panic.

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Jon Mackenzie

Jon Mackenzie is the Football Editor at RealSport.

Regularly appearing on talkSPORT radio, his work has also featured in The Economist, The Blizzard, Tifo Football and on the Futbolgrad Network.

A UEFA and Premier League-accredited journalist, Jon also founded A Team of John O'Sheas podcast and hosts it every week.

Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Mackenzie

 

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