Both AS Roma and Liverpool got the exact draw they wanted for the Champions League Semifinals. Each side breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced that they would be squaring off with each other rather than juggernauts Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. However, only one of these teams will be playing in the Champions League Final in Kyiv on May 26. Liverpool are favored to advance and will be hosting Roma in the first leg of their tie.
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Liverpool vs. AS Roma
Date and Time: April 24, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET
Location: Anfield, Liverpool, England
Television Coverage: FS1
Betting Line: Liverpool -1, O/U 3
How they got here
Liverpool got to the knockout stages by topping a group that included Sevilla. The Reds hammered Porto in the Round of 16 and followed that up with a master class performance against Manchester City in the Quarterfinals earlier this month. They defeated Porto and Manchester City by a combined margin of 10-1 over both legs.
Things were much trickier for Roma. Roma unexpectedly topped both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in the Group Stage to earn a favorable draw against Shakhtar Donetsk. They only advanced over the Ukrainian side due to away goals and were expected to be trampled by Barcelona in the Quarterfinals. That looked certain after a 4-1 loss in Camp Nou, but fate smiled on the club and they were able to stun the Blaugrana 3-0 at home to advance.
Many of the names on Liverpool’s injury table are familiar sights. Joel Matip has already been declared out for the season and Adam Lallana, Emre Can, and Nathaniel Clyne will not be able to face Roma in the first leg.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful to have two familiar faces available for this match though. Center back Dejan Lovren was hampered in Liverpool’s win over Bournemouth last Saturday, while fellow defender Joe Gomez has been out for nearly a month due to an ankle injury. The club seems optimistic that both will be able to play after sitting out the club’s Premier League tilt this week.
The news for Roma is a lot less dire. Right back Rick Karsdorp tore his ACL in his Serie A debut and has been out since October, but he is the only definite scratch against Liverpool. Forward Gregoire Defrel may or may not be available due to an ankle injury.
What to watch for
Alisson Becker has had to face some very good offenses thus far in the Champions League, and he will be tested again by Liverpool. The Reds offense has been firing on all cylinders over the last few months. The trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mo Salah have been very tough to hold down. Salah looks set to notch the most goals of anyone in the Premier League, and he will be looking to best his former club.
Leading the charge for Roma is Salah’s former partner, Edin Dzeko. It took a while for Dzeko to get going without the playmaking ability of Salah to help out, but he was fantastic against Barcelona. He was able to tear apart Barcelona’s back line in both legs of the tie and has appeared rejuvenated in recent weeks. If Lovren and Gomez are still hobbled, Dzeko could have a big day.
Champions League Semifinals Free Picks
Anfield will be rocking when Liverpool hosts Roma on Tuesday night. Liverpool’s fans played a part in the team’s upset over Manchester City and will be a factor again versus Roma. The most important factor will be Salah though. He will dazzle and be the difference maker in a big win for Liverpool.
Champions League Semifinals Prediction: Liverpool 3, Roma 1
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