Roma v Liverpool preview: Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on the brink of Champions League final
Last Updated: 02/05/18 7:54pm
Manager Jurgen Klopp thinks Roma would have to produce something special on Wednesday night to deny Liverpool a place in the Champions League final.
Having stunned Barcelona, who arrived with a 4-1 lead in the last round but exited the competition on away goals after the hosts' 3-0 win, Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco hopes lightning strikes twice as they try to overcome a 5-2 deficit, but Klopp is remaining calm.
"I really think we deserve to be here," said the Reds boss. "We are here to fight for our dreams, that is how it is, and we want to go to the final.
"After the game at Anfield a few people had a feeling we had lost and after a week a few people think Roma only have to win 3-0 but that is quite a result."
Di Francesco added: "I would do a copy and paste [of the Barca game].
"It is in the mind of the players. In order to compete against a rival such as Liverpool, we need to raise the bar in terms of physical effort, then comes the attitude, approach to the game and trying to score an early goal to have the fans behind us even more."
The build-up to the second leg has been overshadowed by concerns about the safety of Liverpool's travelling fans, after 53-year-old Sean Cox was attacked before the first leg at Anfield, but Klopp hopes to return to talking about events on the pitch on Wednesday.
"The fight around a football game is only on the pitch, I hope, after one week of speaking about it," Klopp said. "And it was good to speak about it. Sean and his family should hear and feel our support, I really hope everyone understood."
Adam Lallana has travelled with Liverpool squad to Rome, but will play no part in the match. The England international has been out since suffering a hamstring injury at Crystal Palace in March, but could still feature again this season after travelling to South Africa last month for treatment.
Joe Gomez will not be involved after picking up an ankle problem in the Reds' 0-0 draw with Stoke on Saturday.
Sadio Mane, who missed the game against the Potters, has been named in Klopp's squad, as have Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, both of whom had minor fitness concerns after playing at the weekend.
Roma will be without two of their starters in the first leg, with Diego Perotti and Kevin Strootman both expected to be sidelined, so there will be changes to the XI. Gregoire Defrel and Rick Karsdorp are also unavailable through injury.
- No team has ever overturned a 5-2 first-leg defeat away from home in the European Cup/Champions League. The last time there was such a scoreline in a first-leg of the competition was in 1999/00, with Valencia knocking out Lazio 5-3 on aggregate (5-2, 0-1).
- The first-leg produced the joint-most goals of any Champions League semi-final game (also seven when Ajax beat Bayern Munich 5-2 in 1995).
- Liverpool are yet to lose to Roma in the European Cup/Champions League in four meetings (W2 D2), with one of those draws in the 1984 final (1-1), which Liverpool won 4-2 on penalties in the Stadio Olimpico.
- This is Liverpool's 10th appearance in the semi-final of the European Cup/Champions League - they've progressed to the final on seven of the previous nine occasions, losing only in 1964/65 against Internazionale and in 2007/08 against Chelsea.
- Roma are appearing in their first European semi-final for 27 years, when they faced Brondby in the UEFA Cup in 1990/91. Their only previous European Cup/Champions League semi-final was in 1983/84, when they eliminated Dundee United to face Liverpool in the final.
I covered both of Roma's legs against Barcelona on Soccer Special and it was similar in terms of them being a defensive wreck in the first leg, but they got away with kicking lumps out of Lionel Messi in the second, with the referee being a joke.
They smelt Barca's fear and they'll do the same if Liverpool give off that feeling and the referee allows it again, but I think Liverpool are stronger than Barca.
I was surprised Klopp played Roberto Firmino at the weekend as his work brings it all together, but I do still fancy them to score at some point.
I am a big fan of Edin Dzeko, who my old club Arsenal should have snapped up when he left Manchester City, and I fancy him to inject some more nerves into the tie, but see Liverpool striking back to kill the tie.
Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Dzeko to score first (25/1 with Sky Bet)