Roma's key men: Liverpool's Champions League semi-final opponents assessed
By Tommaso Fiore
Last Updated: 14/04/18 7:57am
Who has contributed to Roma's Champions League success ahead of their semi-final against Liverpool? We take a look...
The sides were drawn together on Friday, with a place in the final against either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid awaiting the winner.
Roma booked their place in the semis with an outstanding comeback to knockout Barcelona, meaning they have reached this stage for the second time in their 91-year history. On their last appearance in 1984, they knocked out Dundee United before losing the final to Liverpool.
Here we examine the players to watch and other key men behind the Serie A side's successful European campaign so far…
Liverpool are one of a number of clubs reportedly interested in Alisson, who holds the No 1 jersey for Brazil ahead of Manchester City's Ederson.
Aged 25, the goalkeeper has displayed his outstanding shot-stopping abilities this season, particularly against Atletico Madrid and Chelsea in the Champions League group stage, and he has not conceded a goal in five European home games.
The former Lazio defender has revived his career at Roma after fading away from Pep Guardiola's starting XI at Manchester City.
Kolarov, who scored on his Roma debut against Atalanta, has been a leader and the most reliable option at left-back, prompting Emerson Palmieri's £25m exit to Chelsea.
The Serb is a threat going forward with his overlapping runs and his free-kick taking will remain a worry for Jurgen Klopp's side.
Manolas sent 60,000 people wild with his late decider against Barcelona in the quarter-final and burst into tears as fans sang the club anthem at full-time. However, it's the Greece international's defensive work that will be of most concern to Klopp.
The 26-year-old was a reported Chelsea target last summer, with the Blues encouraged to make a late bid to sign the centre-back in July. He has continued to impress in Serie A and in Europe, with Sir Alex Ferguson an interested onlooker at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night.
Manolas' defensive qualities will be put to the ultimate test when faced up against his former team-mate, Mo Salah.
Nainggolan is employed in a more advanced position to gain possession further up the pitch, and he puts defenders under immense pressure and has developed into the perfect assist-man.
Other than Dzeko's hold-up play and physical prowess in the box - which Roma have been taking advantage of brilliantly - he offers different options to his team-mates as he runs behind defenders to latch onto through balls, developing into an all-round striker.
However, following Salah's departure, Roma have struggled for goal-scoring options aside from the Bosnian and if Liverpool manage to keep the former Manchester City striker quiet, they might have done half the job.
Eusebio Di Francesco
After Roma's best points haul in Serie A last season - followed by club legend Francesco Totti and manager Luciano Spalletti's departures - manager Di Francesco walked into the job knowing that he had to usher in a new, successful cycle for the club.
He did exactly that, prioritising the Champions League over the domestic race for the top four, giving the squad a new, revitalised European mentality, and finding the perfect balance between experience and young talent. He switches from three to four at the back depending on the opponent, and that does not hinder the team's performance.
His biggest asset is his tactical awareness, which is what spurred on the team to run riot against Barcelona - and he will undoubtedly study Liverpool closely to get behind their game play and ensure the best possible outcome for his side.
Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, commonly known as Monchi, was another summer signing as director of football.
The Spaniard is considered as the mastermind behind Sevilla's Europa League triumphs, as he reinvented the director of football role, investing in young players such as Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves and Ivan Rakitic.
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