Injuries threatening Liverpool outing with Roma for the semi-finals clash in Italy.

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool are without four first team-players for their Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma.

Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a season-ending knee injury in their 5-2 home win last Tuesday.

He joins Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Joel Matip as those unavailable to manager Jurgen Klopp but Sadio Mane may feature after recovering from a knock.

Roma winger Diego Perotti (ankle) will miss out, while midfielder Kevin Strootman (knock) is a doubt.

Liverpool will also be without assistant manager Zeljko Buvac, who will not be involved with the first team for the remainder of the season for personal reasons.

A 3-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico would take Roma through – just as it did when they stunned Barcelona in the quarter-final after losing 4-1 in Spain.

The next week features two potentially season-defining matches for Liverpool.

After the return leg in Rome, Klopp’s side face a trip to Chelsea on Sunday as they look to secure a top-four finish and qualification for next season’s Champions League.

“We created a basis and now we have to finish it. There are a few things to do. Let’s play the next game, try to make the best of it, then we’ll see,” Klopp told the club’s website.

Italian football writer James Horncastle

Liverpool like to invite teams onto them and hit them on the break. Once Liverpool made some adjustments in midfield in the first leg with James Milner coming short, they kept hitting balls over the top and Eusebio di Francesco and his team were slow to react.

They gave themselves a chance of another comeback with the two goals at the end but more than being the fruit of any tactical change, Mohamed Salah had gone off, the fear factor had declined and Liverpool had faded.

Liverpool have consistently shown is all they need is 15 or 20 minutes to blow teams away. It’s hard to see this Liverpool team not scoring – not just the Stadio Olimpico but anywhere this season.

European football writer Julien Laurens

You have to get your pressing right 99% of the time. It’s a very risky strategy and ultimately it was a risk that was too great to take as Liverpool, every time they went beyond midfield, it was one v one and you felt a goal was coming. They could have had eight or nine. I think Di Francesco sent his players in with a losing hand.

It’s like they never saw Salah play before ever. For the first goal Kostas Manolas invited him to shoot on his left foot. You’ve played with him. Everyone knew watching that Salah was waiting for an opening to bend the ball like he did. Manolas was so naive, that wasn’t Di Francesco’s fault.

He can’t change the approach now – he has to go for it and see what happens. Even if they lose 3-0, they have to try. You don’t score three goals by sitting deep.

European football writer Raphael Honigstein

Barcelona did Liverpool a favour by showing what can happen if you approach the game with the wrong mentality in the wrong spirit. I don’t think Liverpool will make the same mistake. They’ll realise their best way to succeed is just to play their own game and try to draw Roma forward before hitting them on the break – and not just sleepwalking to a 3-0 defeat like Barcelona did. I don’t see it happening twice.

You’d have seen one thing Liverpool don’t like is to play against deep teams who play on the break. I’m not saying Roma should play like Stoke did at the weekend but at least adjust a bit to keep yourself in the tie.

This Liverpool team were so happy to see that approach. It was very surprising to see an Italian manager fall into that trap – maybe a bit of inexperience at this level thinking ‘we stick to what we do and the other team have to adjust’.

MATCH FACTS

  • No team has ever overturned a 5-2 first-leg defeat away from home in the European Cup/Champions League. The last time there was such a scoreline in a first-leg of the competition was in 1999-00, with Valencia knocking out Lazio 5-3 on aggregate (5-2, 0-1).
  • Liverpool are yet to lose to Roma in the European Cup/Champions League in four meetings (W2 D2), with one of those draws in the 1984 final (1-1), which Liverpool won 4-2 on penalties in the Stadio Olimpico.
  • This is Liverpool’s 10th appearance in the semi-final of the European Cup – they’ve progressed to the final on seven of the previous nine occasions, losing only in 1964-65 against Inter Milan and in 2007-08 against Chelsea.
  • Roma are appearing in their first European semi-final for 27 years, when they faced Brondby in the Uefa Cup in 1990-91. Their only previous European Cup semi-final was in 1983-84, when they eliminated Dundee United to face Liverpool in the final.
  • Roma are the only team yet to concede a single goal at home in the Champions League this season (five games). They have also won all of their past four such games at the Olimpico (including two by three clear goals), but have never won five in a row.
  • Meanwhile, Liverpool are the only unbeaten side in the Champions League this season (W7 D4).
  • The Reds have scored 38 goals in this season’s competition, the most by an English team in a single Champions League campaign. In fact, since the new format was introduced in 2003-04, only Real Madrid (41 goals in 2013-14) scored more than Liverpool have this season.
  • Liverpool are the first side in Champions League history to see three players score eight or more goals in a single season (Salah 10, Firmino 10, Mane eight).
  • Mohamed Salah has scored in each of his past five Champions League starts for Liverpool, a feat only Steven Gerrard had previously accomplished for the club (between October 2007 and February 2008).
  • James Milner has provided eight assists in the Champions League this season (nine including qualifying), the joint most in a single campaign in the competition proper since the new format was introduced in 2003-04, level with Neymar in 16-17.