Having taken a three-goal lead into an away second leg in the last round when they faed Manchester City, Liverpool will be confident of a result against Roma tonight that puts them into the final of this season’s Champions League.
Roma, though, will also feel confident according to goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Or at least as though they still have a chance thanks to overcoming a three-goal deficit at home in the second leg in the last round against Barcelona.
“We made a good start, but after the first goal we dropped mentally and physically,” the Roma goalkeeper said ahead of Wednesday’s second leg kickoff. ”We could not stop them. What determines everything [now] is the attitude.
“On the field we have to be careful. Fortunately, we have scored two from the first leg, so we are still alive. We were sad after the Liverpool game but the coach said to us the next day, ‘we have to believe we can do it.’ That’s all we can do.”
Roma believed before and managed a miraculous result, overcoming not just a lopsided first leg scoreline against Barcelona but an opponent many at the time were setting out as favourites to win the entire competition.
Having done it once, they’ve certainly earned the right to believe they can do it again. Yet having done it once, Liverpool will be more prepared for the kind of fightback Roma might stage tonight at the Stadio Olimpico.
And Liverpool’s attack pose a different kind of threat, with Alisson wary of not just former Roma star Mohamed Salah but also Europe’s top false nine this season, Roberto Firmino, who he knows will make things tough for them.
“It’s hard to contain Salah,” Alisson acknowledged. “He has innate talent and now has an incredible confidence, But we can stop him playing as a team. Liverpool, on the other hand, has collective quality. They’re tough and smart and fast.
“I think of Firmino, too. He is phenomenal. He does not give any points of reference and this is very annoying to his opponents. This will require teamwork and not just defence.”