A balanced performance should be sufficient to see Liverpool through to the Champions League final in the second leg of their semi-final tie away to Roma on Wednesday (19:45 BST).
Liverpool travel to Italy with a healthy advantage following their 5-2 victory at Anfield last week. A goal from Sadio Mane and doubles from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino put them in command before a degree of laxity set in and allowed Roma two late goals.
That could prove problematic given what Roma achieved in their incredible comeback against Barcelona in the quarter-finals. There, they overturned a 1-4 first-leg defeat to go through on away goals with a 3-0 victory in the return. Spurred on by an electric atmosphere inside the Stadio Olimpico, they achieved the seemingly impossible.
Three goals did, indeed, prove to be a superable margin in the last eight. Not only did Roma recover to defeat Barcelona, but their fellow Italians Juventus came back from a 0-3 first-leg defeat to tie Real Madrid at 3-3 on aggregate, only for a late penalty to see their opponents through. Liverpool were, however, able to manage successfully that same advantage in their tie with Manchester City, eventually going through 5-1 on aggregate.
It is therefore difficult to see them falling into the same trap as Barcelona, who were needlessly cautious in their return leg against a Roma side who perhaps didn’t deserve such deferential treatment. Liverpool received warning of the dangers of dropping their intensity during the closing moments of the first leg and will be keen not to allow Roma too much territory high up the pitch in areas where towering striker Edin Dzeko can cause damage.
It must also be noted that the first leg of the tie between Roma and Barcelona was a lot closer than the scoreline suggested in terms of the balance of chances, whereas at Anfield, Liverpool comfortably created more clear-cut opportunities than their visitors.
Even if Liverpool were to concede on Wednesday, even if they were to lose, it is unlikely they would do so without scoring at least once themselves. Roma’s defensive problems were evident in their struggles when they tried to push forward with a high line at Anfield. Given that their hosts will need to take the initiative, Liverpool can expect to have space to exploit on the counter-attack against a back line that lacks the necessary athleticism to match them.
The sheer pace, power and ingenuity of the Liverpool was far too much for Roma to deal with during the first leg, and there is no reason to expect that to be any different at the Stadio Olimpico. Salah is in the form of his life and was involved in four of the five goals at Anfield, Firmino has also been excellent this season and while Mane missed a couple of very good chances during the first leg, his movement in behind provides another potent threat.
It is possible to construct arguments in Roma’s favour. They have a good historical record at home to English clubs in Europe, having won nine out of 16, and recorded a 3-0 victory over Chelsea in October that if repeated in midweek would see them through. They have scored three or more goals on home soil a further seven times this season, while Liverpool have conceded three or more on five occasions. An early goal could create a swell of support capable of driving them on to another famous comeback.
Yet the overwhelming sensation is that it was a loosening of focus from Liverpool more than Roma’s own initiative that led to their late flurry of chances at Anfield, and that Liverpool are the better side by a fair margin. Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to allow such sloppiness again and has the tools at his disposal not only to secure Liverpool’s place in their first Champions League final in over a decade but to do so with victory at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.
Our Preview’s Roma vs. Liverpool Betting Tips Verdict
If you are looking to place a bet with one of the UK online sports betting sites on the Champions League second leg match between Roma and Liverpool, then our preview’s advice is simple: