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Liverpool v Roma preview: Tactics, analysis & betting for Champions League semi

Last Updated April 25 2018, 08:49Football
Jurgen Klopp takes on Eusebio Di Francesco
Jurgen Klopp takes on Eusebio Di Francesco

We break down the key players and tactics for Liverpool's Champions League semi-final tie with Roma.

Liverpool host Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night hoping Anfield can have a similar effect on the Italians as it did on Manchester City in the last round, but where will this tie be won and lost?

Jurgen Klopp's men host the first leg and will hope for something similar to the 3-0 win over City, but Roma proved against Barcelona that they are never out of a tie as they came from 4-1 down to go through on away goals.

Liverpool are 8/15 to win their first leg at Anfield, with Roma 9/2 and the draw at 10/3.

As always with these huge games it could come down to the smallest of margins - Paul Higham looks at the key factors to look at for this game.

Can Roma stop Salah?

Mo Salah celebrates after scoring v Man City in the Champions League
Mo Salah will be Liverpool's key man against Roma

It’s the question being asked in almost every Liverpool game but it still proves to be the big one as the newly-crowned PFA Player of the Year has been in phenomenal form this year and could just fire Liverpool to European glory.

Salah, who is 5/2 to score first at Anfield, has found the back of the net in his last nine games at home and in 32 of the 46 matches he has played this campaign, and if anything he’s getting better as he’s netted 35 in his last 34 games.

Roma would be stupid not to make a plan to contain him, but the Italians do have the inside track of course with Salah being a former player, but he’s certainly elevated himself to the next level since joining Liverpool and he again will be the key to the game.

Will first leg at Anfield be crucial?

Liverpool's famous Kop, pictured during their Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow
Can Liverpool do enough at Anfield to beat Roma in the Champions League?

The spine-tingling Anfield atmosphere should be evident again and many a big European team has crumbled against a sea of noise and red wave of attacking football, but in Roma Liverpool face a team that know all is not lost after a first leg defeat.

A 3-0 win over City was enough in the end for Liverpool, but Roma lost 4-1 away in Barcelona only to then go through on away goals after a 3-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico – the Italians' own fortress which has yet to be breached this season in the Champions League.

Liverpool have lost only one of their last 20 home European games but with Roma also so strong at home, perhaps keeping the back door closed may be even more important than banging them in at the other end.

Liverpool to repeat their Manchester City first leg victory and win 3-0 is 11/1.

Liverpool v Roma tactics

Edin Dzeko
Edin Dzeko could prove a thorn in Liverpool's side for Roma

There’ll be nothing new from Liverpool, they’ll line up in a 4-3-3 and it’ll be the same team that took on Manchester City in the last round - they’ll look to start fast and try to blow Roma out of the water in the first leg.

Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco also favours a 4-3-3 formation but changed to a back three in the second leg against Barcelona to flood the midfield with Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and Kevin Strootman and nullify Lionel Messi – that may seem a decent option to cope with Salah.

One thing that won’t change for the Italians though is they’ll try to get Edin Dzeko involved as often as possible. He’s been key for them this season and replicating West Brom’s use of set plays and Manchester United’s use of Romelu Lukaku to trouble Liverpool’s defence could provide a blueprint.

Edin Dezko to score in 90 minutes is 15/8.

Liverpool v Roma form guide

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp was furious with West Brom draw ahead of Roma tie

Blowing a 2-0 lead at bottom side West Brom is the headline of Liverpool's recent form, but mitigating circumstances of them having one eye on this game, plus three of the back four - Joe Gomez, Alberto Moreno and Ragnar Klavan - not playing this Tuesday help write that one off.

The manner of West Brom's goals, coming from set pieces, will be a concern but in truth Liverpool's defending overall has been much better since Virgil van Dijk joined, and allowing just one goal in two games against Man City is as good as it gets defensively.

Klopp's men are also the top scorers in the Champions League with 33, but they've also only conceded seven, while Roma have only scored 15 and let in 12, but it is that last round win over Barcelona which will make Liverpool sit up and take notice.

The Italians have won back-to-back games to warm up for Liverpool and are locked in a three-way battle with Inter and Lazio for two Champions League places so have plenty to play for at the business end of the season.

Odds correct as of 1400 BST 23/04/18

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