Liverpool v Roma preview: Jurgen Klopp wants Anfield atmosphere for Champions League semi-final
Last Updated: 24/04/18 8:13pm
Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool fans to "create one of the most special atmospheres in world football" at Anfield as they take on Roma in the Champions League.
Liverpool welcome the Italian side in their semi-final first-leg tie on Tuesday evening, and Klopp is hoping the environment in the stadium can help his team take a step towards the final in Kiev.
Klopp did urge fans to show respect to Roma following ugly scenes ahead of their quarter-final with Manchester City last month, but is hopeful it will not be an issue again.
"They create a few of the most special atmospheres in world football," Klopp said. "In the stadium, I don't know exactly if the atmosphere can be better than it was against Manchester City, but if it's possible let's try. These are the very special moments.
"In the stadium, do it again and better; outside the stadium, please show the respect we have to show. This is such a fantastic football club, an outstanding football family, known for fantastic atmospheres all over the world.
"If we can do what we did, creating an atmosphere in front of the stadium, let's do it - I'm a big fan of that. But, please, show the respect they deserve."
Roma will come up against a familiar face when they arrive at Anfield, with Mohamed Salah likely to start for Liverpool following his PFA Player of the Year win on Sunday evening.
Roma boss, Eusebio di Francesco, said: "We haven't prepared the match based on Salah. He's not here anymore, but I can call on the likes of [Cengiz] Under. We'll obviously focus more on their best players, but not only on Salah.
"Liverpool will have the fans on their side, but our away fans will support us. We need to play as a team more than ever. Liverpool are different to Barcelona in terms of pace and we need to play well to win."
Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne is back in training but is likely to be on the bench after missing Saturday's draw against West Brom with a muscle injury, but has now recovered.
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Trent Alexander-Arnold - rested at The Hawthorns - is expected to start against the Italians and Klopp will recall all his big names after making five changes at the weekend, meaning a probable return for Dejan Lovren, Andrew Robertson, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
For Roma, Diego Perotti has could make a return after being sidelined for three weeks, although Rick Karsdorp and Gregoire Defrel are set to miss out with injury.
- This is the sixth European meeting between Liverpool and Roma and the first since March 2002 in the second group stage of the Champions League - of the previous five, Liverpool have won two, with two draws and one Roma win.
- Liverpool are yet to lose to Roma in the European Cup/Champions League in three meetings (W1 D2), with one of those draws in the 1984 final, which Liverpool won 4-2 on penalties in the Stadio Olimpico.
- 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.
- Liverpool haven't won the first leg of a European semi-final in any of their last seven attempts (D3 L4), since a 4-0 win over Panathinaikos in the European Cup in 1984-85.
- Edin Dzeko has been involved in six of Roma's last eight away Champions League goals (5 goals, 1 assist) - the Bosnian has scored two goals in his last three starts at Anfield against Liverpool (both for Man City in January 2012 and March 2015).
- Mo Salah has scored in each of his last four Champions League starts for Liverpool - the only Reds player to score in five consecutively was Steven Gerrard between October 2007 and February 2008.
- Roma are without a clean sheet in their last 26 away Champions League matches; the second longest run in the competition's history behind only Celtic, who went 30 away matches without one between 2001 and 2016.
I think it will be a very tight game. They haven't struggled with it quite as much this season, but it still isn't as easy for Liverpool when teams sit back, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane far more dangerous when they have space to attack.
I covered Roma's first leg against Barcelona and they were unlucky to concede four goals. They know this Liverpool attack is as dangerous as Barca's so there's no reason for them to open up.
What Roma did against Barca was double up and squeezed Lionel Messi and they'll do the same against Salah, who they obviously know well, so I actually think Mane is their main threat.
Mane is the one who has the really dynamic speed in behind and with the focus of their marking being on Roberto Firmino and Salah, it should leave him the chance to execute his brilliant ability to operate on the shoulders of defenders.
Liverpool need to win this game as a draw makes Roma favourites, but I think they will get the victory, perhaps with a late goal in a performance which will require patience.
Charlie predicts: 1-0 and Mane to score first (33/1 with Sky Bet)