We take a look at what went wrong for AS Roma as they are thumped by Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal
It was s Mo’ Salah masterclass at Anfield as the famous fab three of Liverpool thumped AS Roma by five goals to two. Salah struck twice in the first half against his former club to start off proceedings for the Merseysiders.
He then set up Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino inside the first 15 minutes of the second half and it looked like the Romans were going to get swept away and utterly dismantled by the end of the night.
Firmino would score again in the 69th minute to extend the lead to a dastardly 5-0.
However, Jurgen Klopp decided to take Salah off and Liverpool switched off for a bit and that cost them two very important goals– Dzeko pulled one back in the 81st minute before Perotti slotted home from the spot in the 85th– which means that if AS Roma can replicate the heroics from the Barcelona rout, in the second leg, they can still march on to the finals.
But it was not AS Roma’s night and let’s take a look at the three things they got wrong in their defeat at Anfield:
#3 Roma start off well but fail to capitalise on the momentum
Roma pegged Liverpool back into their defensive half right from the get-go. Eusebio Di Francesco’s men were pressing high up the pitch and forcing the Liverpool defenders to take the aerial route, thereby starving Salah and co. of precious service.
They even kept it up for a good 25 odd minutes and it looked like Liverpool were not going to have their way in their own yard.
However, once the attackers started to grow a bit weary, Liverpool shifted gears and Salah proved once again why he is one of the best finishers in the world right now with two delightful goals.
Roma should have gone for the kill and got a goal in the first half and piled the pressure on Liverpool.
They failed to do so when they had the momentum and paid the price for it as Klopp’s men showed no mercy and raked in five goals inside the next 40 odd minutes.
#2 Away woes remain unaddressed as Roma lose everywhere on the pitch
Once Salah got the first goal and Lovren struck the crossbar subsequently, you could see the Roma side coming off at the seams.
Suddenly, the surefooted defenders were backpedalling, the midfielders were all over the place and the strikers criminally bereft of any service at all.
The only way this night could have gone positively for Roma was if they could get an early goal and take the lead because as it has become increasingly clear over the course of this season that AS Roma were pretty poor away from home.
If you add a deficit to adversity, expect Roma to leak like weakly assembled cement sheets in a thunderstorm.
To put things into perspective, Roma have won only once in their last 14 trips in the Champions League. This leaves them having one more miracle to pull off.
The two quick goals at the death will certainly help but it will be quite a task keeping this Liverpool side from scoring and if they are to defend like they did tonight, eliminating Barcelona will end up being the highlight of their season.
#1 Roma defence in shambles as the Fab three run riot
Once again, it was Salah, Mane and Firmino who got the goals as the Reds run riot for the majority of the game and tore the Roma defence to shreds.
This is the first time in the Champions League that a team has had three players score more than eight goals in a single campaign.
That is absolutely incredible. That Salah, Firmino and Mane form the best-attacking trio in Europe is clear to everyone now.
And AS Roma had absolutely no idea how to deal with them. Choosing to go with a 3-4-2-1, once the initial high press inevitably lost its steam, Salah and Mane started attacking the channels after effectively bouncing off of Firmino.
Mane could even afford to squander two sitters and yet come away from the night with a smile on his face.
Salah proved that he is on an entirely different level right now and even the Romans will be surprised to see how far their former player has come in the span of a year.
Firmino was once again all industry and ever since Liverpool shifted gears, Roma just couldn’t keep up no matter how hard they tried.
They were uncharacteristically poor in defending set pieces too as Dejan Lovren was twice left unmarked in the box with his first effort being cruelly denied by the crossbar.
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