5 things Liverpool fans NEED to know about Roma
4. Beware, the Premier League cast-offs
On paper, Liverpool may find reason for optimism when looking at Roma’s first-choice XI, which features three players not considered good enough by Premier League clubs over recent years.
Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov were both allowed to leave Manchester City, while centre-back Federico Fazio is hardly remembered fondly at Tottenham. But this trio should not be ignored – each, in their own unique way, play an important role for Roma.
Fazio has evolved into a commanding defensive leader whose aggression and timing have helped him overcome a speed shortage; Kolarov offers pinpoint left-footed crosses and danger from long range; while up front, Dzeko could be integral to the Italian side’s chances of progress.
Liverpool are one of the best pressing teams in Europe today. They make it difficult for opponents to play through midfield, congesting space and using turnovers to launch instantaneous counters. But with Dzeko an effective outlet, Roma can simply bypass midfield altogether with a ball over the top to their centre-forward, whose hold-up play is superb.
5. Ünder could steal Salah’s thunder
Whether or not Cengiz Ünder starts against Liverpool is dependent on what system Di Francesco goes with. If he opts for the 3-5-2 that downed Barcelona, the Turkish winger can expect to be on the bench. However, he will almost certainly enter the fray at some stage, and when he does he’s likely to pose a threat.
This is the 20-year-old’s first campaign in the Italian capital, but he has quickly asserted himself as a big-game player. His away goal against Shakhtar helped Roma through to the Champions League quarter-finals, where he proceeded to set up Kostas Manolas’s tie-clinching header against Barcelona.
Tricky and aggressive on the ball, Ünder is gradually filling the vacancy left by Salah on Roma’s right side. He will be aiming to go one better by taking the spotlight away from his predecessor when the two teams meet.