2017/18 UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg: 5 key players to watch out for

Five-time European champions Liverpool will travel to Rome, the Italian capital, to take on Serie A heavyweights AS Roma in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night (May 2). The Merseysiders were on course to kill the tie in the first leg as they went 5-0 up in the 68th minute before conceding two clumsy goals in the final 10 minutes to keep Roma interested for the second leg at their home. As such, the AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg is expected to be anything but a cakewalk for Jurgen Klopp’s men as they seek to make it out of the UEFA Champions League semi-final and reach their first final in more than 10 years. Eusebio Di Francesco and his side will be hoping that they can repeat their heroics from the quarter-final stage where they overturned a 4-1 deficit in front of home fans against a highly fancied Barcelona side.

Fans of both clubs across the world will be eagerly awaiting the result of this match as the winner will meet either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Kiev later this month. Both the teams have many talented players in their respective squads and Liverpool’s hero, Mohamed Salah will also be returning to his former hunting ground since his move to Liverpool last summer. The Egyptian scored two majestic goals in the first leg and will once again be a key man as the two teams go head to head in the return leg.

Here, we list down five players to watch out for in the AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg tie at the Stadio Olimpico:

1. Edin Dzeko (AS Roma)

One of the most underrated strikers in the world football, Edin Dzeko has been a revelation since his move to the Serie A team and is also AS Roma’s top goal scorer in the Champions League with 7 goals registered to his name, including one in the first leg of this tie against Liverpool. The Bosnian international likes to bully the defenders and is strong in the air, which is Liverpool’s weakness to an extent. Bosnia’s all-time leading goalscorer was also the top goal scorer in the Europa League last season and he will be looking forward to finishing his CL campaign with a strong tally of goals. The former Manchester City striker will be locking horns against Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren in the Liverpool vs AS Roma 2nd leg and his form will certainly be key as Roma hope to make it past the UEFA Champions League semi-final stage.

2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

The AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg tie will be a big game for Mohamed Salah as the Egyptian will be playing at his former hunting ground for the first time since a summer move to Jurgen Klopp’s side. Having scored 43 goals in the 2017/18 season, Salah has comfortably been the signing of this summer and has also bagged the coveted PFA player of the year 2018. With 10 goals in the current Champions League campaign, Salah has also been in scintillating form in the Europe’s elite competition and has been instrumental in Liverpool’s run to the UEFA Champions League semi-final as he scored crucial goals in Liverpool’s quarter-final tie against Manchester City as well. Mohamed Salah will certainly one of the top players to watch out for in the Liverpool vs AS Roma 2nd leg tie on Wednesday night.

3. Alisson Becker (AS Roma)

Liverpool are one of a number of clubs reportedly interested in Alisson, who holds the No.1 jersey for Brazil ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson. Aged 25, the goalkeeper has displayed his outstanding shot-stopping abilities this season, particularly against Atletico Madrid and Chelsea in the Champions League group stage, and is yet to concede a goal in five European home games. Alisson was slightly below-par in the 1st leg of this tie at Anfield as he shipped out an unprecedented 5 goals against Liverpool’s rampaging front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino. Come the AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg, the Brazilian shot-stopper will be keen to make amends as his side aim to overturn a 5-2 deficit and progress past the UEFA Champions League semi-final stage for the first time since the 1983/84 season.

4. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Mohamed Salah is likely to get most of the attention from the opposing defenders and this may give Roberto Firmino a bit of freedom in the game which can massively affect the outcome of the Liverpool vs AS Roma 2nd leg match. The Brazilian is the pivotal figure of Jurgen Klopp’s system at Liverpool and most of their games revolve around him. Having scored 10 goals in the CL this season, including two goals in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against AS Roma, Firmino is Liverpool’s joint-highest goal scorer in the tournament alongside Salah. The Brazilian has recently a new long-term deal with the Reds and is known to get the best out of his teammates and Liverpool usually play well whenever he is in his form. He creates space for his teammates with his intelligent gameplay and that helps them to thrive in and link up with each other. Firmino will be a key man in the AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg UEFA Champions League tie.

5. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)

Many eyebrows were raised when Liverpool decided to sign a player from Championship side Hull City to plug in their problematic left-back position over the last summer. What has actually transpired is quite amazing as Andy Robertson has quickly established himself as the club’s first-choice left-back and has arguably even been the best in his position in the country this season. Robertson is a key cog in Jurgen Klopp’s heavy-metal philosophy at the Anfield club as other than being a rock in Liverpool’s defence, his pin-point crosses and tireless running on the left flank have been a treat to watch. In the AS Roma vs Liverpool 2nd leg, the home side will go all out offensive as they have a 5-2 deficit to overturn and Robertson will have to be at his very best to lead his team out of the UEFA Champions League semi-final and into the big final.

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