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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 21 January, 2019


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JUST A TWO-legged tie with Roma now stands between Liverpool and their first Champions League final appearance in 11 years.

Having seen off newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City at the quarter-final stage, Jurgen Klopp’s men face a last-four match-up with the Giallorossi, who themselves caused a major upset by progressing at the expense of Barcelona.

Tonight’s first leg takes place at Anfield, where the atmosphere is certain to be electric  once again. We’re just over 45 minutes away from kick-off, so stick around for build-up.

Here are how the teams will line up. Having rested players in the weekend’s draw with West Brom, Klopp makes five changes to name his strongest starting XI.

Liverpool team Source: Twitter/LFC

Opposite number Eusebio Di Franceso saw his team defeat SPAL 3-0 on Saturday and recalls six players for tonight’s tie.

Roma Team Source: Twitter/ASRoma

Some more images from the scenes outside the stadium…

Liverpool v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - First Leg - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne

Liverpool v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - First Leg - Anfield Source: Peter Byrne

Liverpool v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - First Leg - Anfield Source: Martin Rickett

These two clubs met in the 1984 European Cup final at Rome’s Stadio Olympico, of course.

After goals from Phil Neal and Roberto Pruzzo left the game finely-balanced at 1-1, Liverpool prevailed 4-2 in a penalty shootout.

Former Ireland internationals Ronnie Whelan and Mark Lawrenson started for the Reds that day, while Michael Robinson came off the bench.

Source: Calcio TV/YouTube

So, ahead of the two semi-finals (current holders Real Madrid and Bayern Munich meet in Bavaria tomorrow night), we want you to predict who will be taking part in this year’s final in Kiev on 26 May.

Poll Results:

A quick pre-match word from Klopp via eirSport:

We’re just about ready to get going. The stadium is rocking, as you would expect.

Flag 1Mins

Kick-off - Roma begin the game and launch the ball forward to Edin Dzeko, but Dejan Lovren wins the first aerial battle of the night.


Early chances at both ends. Karius saves a long distance strike from Strootman and Liverpool then go on the attack. Salah picks up the ball out wide on the right and cuts inside of Juan Jesus before shooting, but Alisson is equal to it.


That was close! Salah slips in Firmino, who appears to be offside, and he takes a slightly heavy touch before drilling the ball across the goalmouth.

The offside decision is belatedly given, but the referee’s assistant seems to be without his flag.


Roma are playing a high defensive line and they’ve already shown they aren’t afraid to get stuck in, with Nainggolan the physical presence in midfield. The Serie A side have settled well and look equal to Liverpool in the past few minutes.


Oxlade-Chamberlain tackles Kolarov but he appears to have injured himself in the process. While the England midfielder receives treatment, Georginio Wijnaldum warms up on the touchline.


Enforced substitution – The Ox is off with Dutchman Wijnaldum on in his place.


Off the bar! Kolarov lines up a shot from distance and lets fly with that powerful left foot. Karius seems to be behind it but then he misreads the flight and palms it onto the crossbar. That would have been a bad mistake from the German keeper.


Roma are getting plenty of joy with their wing-backs here while preventing Robertson and Alexander Arnold from attacking down the flanks.


Yellow card – Juan Jesus, who has been caught out a couple of times, is booked after fouling Mane. Milner clips the ball in, and it’s only half-cleared before Alisson eventually comes out to catch.


WHAT A CHANCE! Firmino does brilliantly to flick the ball on and then play in Mane, who bursts clear of the Roma defence on the counter attack. As he nears Alisson, he goes for goal but puts the effort over.

Moments later, the same player gets his angles all wrong to drill high and wide.


Save! Liverpool piling on the pressure now and Salah forces Alisson into a decent stop.


Liverpool have the ball in the back of the net… But it’s ruled offside. Mane turns a Robertson cross home, and the linesman’s flag goes up. Correct decision, but the Reds are flying now.

Flag 35Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Roma (Mohamed Salah)

The home side are in front! Salah curls a beautiful strike into the top corner and puts his hands up in a non-celebration against his former club.

A man for the big occasions. In fact, a man for EVERY occasion!


Liverpool can smell blood and they’re pouring forward for a second before half-time.

Flag 45Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Roma (Mohamed Salah) 

The man is world class. Liverpool break through the middle and Salah lifts the ball over Alisson with a delicate chip to double his tally for the night and his team’s lead.


43 goals in all competitions this season. Unstoppable.


Second half – The game has restarted and Roma have made one change with 22-year-old Czech forward Patrick Schick on for Cengiz Under.


Liverpool win a free-kick 25 yards out from goal and Alexander-Arnold steps up, but hits the wall with his set-piece.


Shouts for hand ball at both ends as Lovren tackles Nainggolan before climbing to his feet. Then Salah tries to square the ball, but it comes off the leg of Jesus. No penos there.

Flag 55Mins

Liverpool 3-0 Roma (Sadio Mane) 

They’ve got a third! Roma’s defence is all over the place and Salah beats the offside trap to get away down the right. Unselfishly, he cuts the ball back to Mane, who has the simplest of finishes.

Reds fans dreaming of Kiev!

Flag 62Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 4-0 Roma (Roberto Firmino) 

Wow, this is some showing from Liverpool. They’re running Roma ragged and Salah tees up Firmino for a tap-in. Devastating stuff.


Two Roma changes – De Rossi makes way for Maxime Gonalons, while Jesus is off with Diego Perotti on in his place. They’re switching from a back five to a flat back four, it seems.

Flag 69Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 5-0 Roma (Roberto Firmino) 

What is going on?!? There’s a FIFTH goal for Liverpool, as Firmino heads home from a corner and Roma have completely fallen to pieces.


Reds legend Robbie Fowler, speaking on BBC 5 Live just now:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day — but it’s been dismantled in an hour!”


There’s a rare chance for Roma — Schick gets up highest to head at goal but Karius makes the block.


The Kop give Salah a well-deserved standing ovation, as the Egyptian makes way for Danny Ings.

Flag 81Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 5-1 Roma (Edin Dzeko) 

The Italians have pulled one back. Lovren misjudges the cross and Dzeko kills it with his chest, before calmly slotting beyond Karius.



Flag 85Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 5-2 Roma (Diego Perotti) 

A shot hits Milner on the arm and the referee points to the spot. Substitute Perotti steps up to dispatch an excellent penalty, and Roma look a little shaken despite their three-goal advantage.


Just the four minutes of time added on to play now.


Late substitution – Firmino makes way for Ragnar Klavan.

About the author:

Ben Blake


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