Jurgen Klopp and his coaches put the Liverpool players through their paces on the evening before their semi-final first leg clash against AS Roma.
The Reds know they will again require a big effort and top-class performance at Anfield, with a trip to Rome on the horizon.
A place in the Champions League final is up for grabs and tempting to think about, but the manager has continually preached the importance of focusing on the current job.
The key decision for Klopp will come in midfield, though captain Jordan Henderson should start and took part in the pre-match press conference.
What is for certain is that Mohamed Salah will be in the starting lineup, fresh from winning the Player of the Year award and having scored 41 goals this season. He’ll face his former side on Tuesday evening.
While the starting XI might be straightforward to choose from, there will also be a battle for the spots on the bench.
It’s the biggest night of the season for the Reds and Klopp’s team selection will go a long way toward determining how successful Liverpool can be.Liverpool squad
Goalkeepers: Karius, Mignolet, Ward
Defenders: Van Dijk, Lovren, Klavan, Masterson, Clyne, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Robertson, Moreno
Midfielders: Henderson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Woodburn, Jones
Forwards: Salah, Firmino, Mane, Ings, Solanke, Camacho
Jordan Henderson is readying himself for one of the biggest games of his career tomorrow evening as Liverpool face AS Roma in the first leg of the sides' Champions League semi-final.
And the captain is determined to ensure he takes only good memories from Tuesday's Anfield clash by helping to secure a result that ultimately sees Jürgen Klopp's team into the tournament's final.
Henderson had made just five European Cup appearances in six seasons with the club prior to this term - all of which came during a forgettable 2014-15 campaign that ended in a group-stage exit.
As such, tomorrow's fixture represents a personal landmark for the midfielder, one he does not want to end in disappointment.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: "It's one of, if not the biggest game [of my career]. The semi-finals of the Champions League at Anfield, it doesn't get much bigger than that really.
"It'll be a huge night and we want to remember it after for the right reasons in terms of the atmosphere but, most important, the result as well.
"It's a big game for us but hopefully it's the first of many big games to come in the next few years."
Liverpool claimed an ultimately unassailable three-goal lead in the first leg of their quarter-final tie against Manchester City thanks in no small part to the efforts of a partisan Anfield crowd.
And Henderson expects more of the same from the home support when Roma come to town.
He added: "I'm excited just to go out and play in front of the fans at Anfield, it will be an incredible atmosphere.
"You see the fans, you pull up at Anfield and it's a special occasion, it really gets you going.
"When you're pulling up here on the bus and the fans are outside singing, it's an amazing feeling getting ready for the game."
Despite the convincing manner of Liverpool's win in the last round, Henderson does not believe the order of the ties - first leg on Merseyside, second in Italy - is necessarily an advantage.
The skipper is also anticipating a different test from Eusebio Di Francesco's side to that posed by the Premier League champions.
"You can swing it round both ways, to be honest," he declared.
"At the end of the day, it's two games of football and you've got to go and try and win them both, as difficult as that will be against a very good side.
"You've just got to go out there and stay focused on what your job is, take it step-by-step, [play] the first game and then focus on the second leg afterwards.
"It's a different side, different players, different manager, different way of playing, so they'll ask different questions.
"We've got to make sure we're ready for them, and we [ask] them questions as well, like I know we can.
"If we do that then hopefully it can put us in a good position going to Rome."
Liverpool were in training on Monday evening ahead of the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Serie A side AS Roma.
The Reds conducted a session at Melwood 24 hours before they host the Italian club in the opening match of a tie that has a place in the European Cup showpiece as its prize.
Take a look at how Jürgen Klopp's team have been preparing for the clash with our gallery from the training ground below.
Photos by John Powell
With Liverpool and AS Roma set to kick off their Champions League semi-final at Anfield on Tuesday night, guest writer Scott Fleming analyses the Italians' evolution under new management this term…
1984, 2001, 2002, 2018.
Liverpool aren’t exactly unfamiliar with AS Roma, having met – and defeated – the Italians three times before in continental competition.
But the Roma side that visits Anfield for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg is a very different proposition to Nils Liedholm’s class of ’84, Fabio Capello’s 2001-02 vintage, and to the Mohamed Salah-inspired incarnation that racked up a club record points haul but still finished second to Juventus in Serie A last season.
Since then, positions of power have changed hands and the squad has been transformed. Coach Luciano Spalletti and sporting director Walter Sabatini both joined Inter Milan last summer and were replaced by Eusebio Di Francesco and Monchi respectively.
Di Francesco turned out for Roma as a midfielder between 1997 and 2001 but made his name in management with the remarkable work he did at Sassuolo, a small club from a small town in the Emilia-Romagna region who were playing in the Italian equivalent of League One this time 10 years ago but became established in the top flight and even enjoyed a Europa League campaign under the guidance of ‘EDF’.
In Italian football, the role of the sporting director is almost as important as that of the coach, hence why the capture of Monchi was such a coup. Full name Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, the former goalkeeper is renowned for launching the likes of Dani Alves and Ivan Rakitic into stardom in his time at Sevilla.
Both men certainly had a lot of work on their hands when they arrived in the Eternal City. Monchi negotiated the sales of Salah, Leandro Paredes and Antonio Rudiger to Liverpool, Zenit St Petersburg and Chelsea respectively before using his scouting nous to bring in a host of replacements from the Netherlands, Turkey and Di Francesco’s old haunt Sassuolo.
Meanwhile, the coach’s biggest challenge was to fill the void left by his former teammate Francesco Totti, the Roma legend who retired and became one of the club’s directors last May after 25 years’ service at the Stadio Olimpico.
I Giallorossi (Yellow and Reds) didn’t start the season in blistering form, with some in Italy questioning Di Francesco’s insistence on his preferred 4-3-3 system and whether it got the best out of Radja Nainggolan, the Belgian midfielder who netted 14 goals in all competitions last season when playing alongside Salah as the ‘two’ in Spalletti’s 3-4-2-1.
But then they clicked into gear in a big way, going on a run of 11 wins in 13 games between September and November. As of now, much like Jürgen Klopp’s Reds, Roma are on course to secure another season’s participation in the Champions League, although the top-four battle is much tighter in Italy than it is in England, with only one point separating Roma, Lazio and Inter in third, fourth and fifth.
And they have already really distinguished themselves in this year’s competition, going on a journey to the last four that has been just as full of drama and romance as Liverpool’s.
Roma defied expectations from the very start, finishing top of a classic ‘group of death’ that featured Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, beating the then-English champions 3-0 along the way.
In the last 16, they found themselves 2-1 down to an underrated Shakhtar Donetsk side but turned it around with an Edin Dzeko winner and a gritty second-leg showing in Rome. Then there’s the miracle against Barcelona. Trailing 4-1 after the quarter-final first leg at Camp Nou, Di Francesco set his team up in a 3-4-2-1 system for the return tie – an extremely bold move.
The tactician was turning his back on a formation he’d not only played for most of the season, but for most of his career, the dynamic 4-3-3 he learnt from mentor Zdenek Zeman, an enigmatic, chain-smoking Czech who has coached Roma twice and is known for playing some of the most attacking football ever seen in Europe’s major leagues.
“The best coach I ever worked with in terms of attacking football was Zdenek Zeman,” said Di Francesco in a recent UEFA.com interview. “I learned the most from him and over time he left me with a particular philosophy.”
The switch also meant Di Francesco putting his trust in the likes of back-up defender Juan Jesus and young striker Patrik Schick, who was making his very first Champions League appearance. Suffice to say, it worked, goals from Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas turning the tie on its head on an unforgettable night at the Olimpico earlier this month.
It was an incredible achievement not just in the context of the tie, but in the wider context of a lean era for Italian clubs in Europe. Excluding Juventus, Roma are only the second Serie A side to reach the Champions League semi-finals in the last 11 years.
The question now becomes: what approach will Di Francesco adopt to try and get the better of Klopp, Salah and co? He will surely have watched with interest the second leg of Liverpool’s quarter-final against Manchester City, where Pep Guardiola had a certain amount of early success with three at the back before being picked off by the Reds’ quick attackers at the other end. The 3-4-2-1 was deployed once again in the recent Rome derby against Lazio, suggesting the set-up for Barcelona wasn’t a one-off.
Roma don’t appear quite as formidable going forward as they were last term, scoring eight fewer goals in their Champions League campaign than Liverpool managed in the group stage alone, but they counter-balance that with a strong defensive record, shipping just 27 in Serie A to date.
Liverpool will not only have to cope with the threat of Nainggolan, Dzeko and young Turkish winger Cengiz Under – who isn’t a natural fit for 3-4-2-1 but could be an effective impact sub. They’ll also have to find a way past Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, one of the highest-rated stoppers in Europe on current form.
The Reds have produced an exceptional European campaign so far, beating Hoffenheim in the playoffs before topping a group including Sevilla, Spartak Moscow and Maribor.
Speaking at Anfield ahead of the first-leg clash, Henderson cut a confident figure, but stressed the need for focus.
“We’ve done so well this season to get here to this stage, we’ve just got to keep going, keep working hard,” he told reporters.
“It will be a different game [to the quarter-final against City] obviously, they’ll maybe ask different questions.
“But we’ve played a lot of good sides in Europe this season and we’ve [done] well so far.”
The captain also discussed Mohamed Salah‘s PFA Player of the Year award, revealing he voted for City’s Kevin De Bruyne, as well as paying tribute to his Roma counterpart Daniele De Rossi.
Henderson then explained the impact of the Anfield atmosphere, saying “it gives us a great lift as a team,” and hailed Klopp as “one of the best managers in the world.”
“He’s a fantastic manager, always keeps you on your toes, looks for more, pushes you to improve. Everybody in the squad feels privileged to work with him,” he added.
Klopp has already been in the dugout for one Champions League final, when Borussia Dortmund lost to Bayern Munich back in 2013.
This time around he will be hoping to go one better, with Henderson determined to lift the sixth European Cup in Liverpool’s storied history.
Mohamed Salah has been lauded by none other than Pele after the Liverpool forward was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year.
Salah received the prestigious accolade at a special ceremony in London on Sunday, having won the poll of his peers from the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs.
And that led to Brazil legend Pele complimenting the Egyptian, scorer of 41 goals in just 46 appearances to date in his remarkable debut season at Anfield, on Twitter on Monday.
"Congratulations on your award, @22mosalah," the three-time World Cup-winner replied to Salah's own tweet, in which he said he was 'truly honoured' to have collected the prize.
"What a season. And more to come in the Champions League and World Cup. It's been great to watch you."
LFC Foundation and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) launched a joint programme today to encourage youngsters in Malawi to access education and health services designed to help in the fight against HIV.
Reds forward Sadio Mane was on hand to help officially launch the new programme at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, where he attended a training session with coaches from Malawi and the LFC Foundation.
As part of a week-long visit by the Malawi team, Foundation coaches delivered an intensive training session to provide them with the essential skills needed to deliver a range of high-quality sports sessions with youngsters back in Malawi - a key target group for the initiative.
Senegalese star Mane is lending his support to the new programme after visiting the LSTM back in December to find out more about it.
In Malawi, the number of people living with HIV is one of the highest in the world; young people account for 50 per cent of new infections, and incidences are highest among 15 to 17-year-olds.
Knowledge around prevention and transmission of disease is essential among young people who often have low levels of awareness and are therefore more likely to contract it or be living with it unknowingly.
The new joint project will deliver sports-based public engagement activities in Malawi to provide more youth-friendly platforms for young people to access a range of available health services and education about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Using the medium of football and the power of the LFC badge the programme will aim to engage with youngsters and in particular the hard-to-reach group of young males aged 14 to 22 who are least likely to access health education and services, such as self-testing and treatment plans.
Andrea Cooper, head of the LFC Foundation, commented: “This is such an exciting, progressive project for the LFC Foundation and we are delighted to be working alongside the very talented team at LSTM to deliver it.
“Using our joint expertise, we can work together to start to make a real difference in this important area and help to improve the health and life chances of young people in Malawi.”
LSTM’s director, professor Janet Hemingway CBE, added: “We are excited to be working with the LFC Foundation on this important project, which will provide new, youth-friendly platforms for engagement with health services.
“Football’s appeal is universal with the power to break down barriers and reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing.
“LSTM has a long history of addressing important global health issues, and working with a global brand’s charity, such as the LFC Foundation, will enable us to further impact the lives of people in vulnerable populations.”
Jordan Henderson hopes Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final clash with AS Roma can represent the beginning of ‘something special’ for the Reds’ squad.
Roma visit Anfield on Tuesday evening for the first leg of a last-four tie that will determine who advances to next month’s final in Kiev.
Liverpool captain Henderson addressed the media on Monday and discussed a wide range of topics, including the importance of the semi-final both personally and collectively, the newly-crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year Mohamed Salah and his Roma counterpart Daniele De Rossi.
Read on for a transcript of the No.14’s press conference...
On who got his vote for PFA award and Salah winning the trophy…
I voted for De Bruyne, obviously. I couldn’t vote for Mo. I’m obviously delighted for Mo, I think he deserves it thoroughly. He’s been fantastic throughout the season, his records and stats speak for themselves really, and his performances as well. He’s been a massive player for us this season and hopefully he can continue that form over the next few weeks.
On whether Salah can build a legacy at Liverpool and become a legend of the club…
Definitely. He’s a fantastic player, obviously he’s up there with the world’s best and there’ll be other clubs that want to maybe take him away but I feel as though he’s in a great place [with] a great set of lads, a great team [and] a great manager, going in the right direction. We want to create our own history [and] win things here. I think that would be very special and I’m sure Mo will want to be a part of that. He’s a big part of it now and I’m sure he will be for many years to come.
On how significant the semi-final is, both individually and for the team…
[It’s a] Huge moment, yes, a huge game, a huge two games. But hopefully this is the start of something special for this squad. I feel as though the manager’s been brilliant since he came to the club. We’ve improved every season and we’ve done so well this season to get to this stage. We’ve just got to keep going, keep working hard, keep improving and like I say, hopefully this is the start of many huge games to come in the next few years at Liverpool and it would be nice to look back at this one with fond memories of not only the atmosphere, but the result as well.
LFC's 2017-18 UCL stats
On how Liverpool have dealt with losing Philippe Coutinho and whether there is now more ‘collective effort’ in the team…
I felt as though there was a collective effort when Phil was here. He was another big player for us but I feel as though we’ve coped well since he’s left. The front three have been outstanding, all have chipped in, all have created chances, scoring goals and it’s working really well so far, so we’ve got to continue to play like we always have this season. [We’ve] kept going, kept improving no matter who we’ve played. It’s a big test for us, a big challenge against a really good side in Roma, but one that I feel we’re ready for. We’ve got to put on the same performance or a similar performance, if not better, than the last round against City in both legs. If we do that then hopefully we can get through to the final.
On how this tie will differ to the last round against Manchester City…
It’ll be a different game obviously because it’s a different team, different players, different manager and probably a different way of playing. They’ll maybe ask different questions than City did, but we’ve played a lot of good sides this season in Europe who have asked a lot of questions of us and we’ve answered them well so far. We’ve got a little bit more preparation to do later today and then first thing in the morning as well, and look to implement that in the game tomorrow night. They’re a strong side so they’re going to ask questions, but we just need to be ready and keep doing what we’ve been doing well - playing at that high intensity, creating chances and scoring goals.
On his respect for Roma captain De Rossi…
Fantastic player and fantastic leader for many years for Roma. He is a huge player and has been around for a long time. He’s a very experienced player, so he’ll be used to this sort of game, the size of the game, and he’ll be looking forward to it I’m sure. But I feel as though we’ve got experience in the team as well; maybe not as much as him, but I feel as though we’re ready to go and challenge. They’ve got other experienced players in the team, they’ve got a good balance of players. It’s a good challenge for us and one we’re looking forward to taking on.
On why European nights bring out the best in Liverpool…
At Anfield, the atmosphere is unbelievable, which gives us a great lift as a team. That’s really helped us on big occasions like this so far, so hopefully tomorrow night it will be no different. I’m sure the crowd will be unbelievable, but the performance needs to match it and we need to get a good result. I am sure the atmosphere in Rome will be brilliant as well and it’s a tough place to go, so we need to give everything tomorrow night and I am sure the fans will be electric again.
On the impact of Jürgen Klopp on the Reds’ squad…
He is one of the best managers in the world. First and foremost, football and tactically, it goes without question how knowledgeable he is within the game. You can see that in the performances, style of play and how we play football. But the other side, off the field, he’s a fantastic human, very genuine and has great passion for football. I think that transcends throughout the team; you can see that in the we are playing and the way are team play. He is a fantastic manager, he always keeps you on your toes, he always looks for more, keeps pushing you to improve, never wants the standards to drop and always wants you to maintain those high standards no matter who we’re playing. He is an amazing manager and everybody in the squad feels privileged to be working with him. I feel I have improved a lot since he came to this football club - and hopefully I can improve a lot more over the next few years.
On the magnitude of the semi-final…
Playing in the semi-final of the Champions League at Anfield is a huge occasion, not only for me but for many of the players. It’s what you dream about, playing against the best teams in Europe and Roma are certainly that. It’ll be a fantastic night, a huge night, but you’ve got to keep your focus on what’s important. The important thing is you’ve got to do your job to the best of your ability, keep doing the right things and give everything in the game. When you look back at the game, you want to remember it for the right reasons – I know the atmosphere will be amazing, but you want to look back having put on a fantastic performance for the team and also having got the result as well.
Last Updated: 23/04/18 8:37pmCharlie Nicholas provides his midweek European predictions
Charlie Nicholas provides us with his European predictions as Liverpool and Arsenal look to establish first-leg semi-final leads.
Jurgen Klopp's men will be looking to take advantage of a favourable draw on Tuesday as they host Barcelona's conquerors Roma, while Wednesday sees Bayern Munich clash with fellow European giants Real Madrid.
Then, on Thursday night, Arsenal face the task of hosting favourites Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final four, with the winner facing either Marseille or RB Salzburg in the final in Lyon.
Here's what Charlie is predicting for the three ties...Liverpool v Roma (Tuesday, 7.45pm)
I think it will be a very tight game. They haven't struggled with it quite as much this season, but it still isn't as easy for Liverpool when teams sit back, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane far more dangerous when they have space to attack.Mohamed Salah faces his former club when Liverpool play Roma
I covered Roma's first leg against Barcelona and they were unlucky to concede four goals. They know this Liverpool attack is as dangerous as Barca's so there's no reason for them to open up.
What Roma did against Barca was double up and squeezed Lionel Messi and they'll do the same against Salah, who they obviously know well, so I actually think Mane is their main threat.
Mane is the one who has the really dynamic speed in behind and with the focus of their marking being on Roberto Firmino and Salah, it should leave him the chance to execute his brilliant ability to operate on the shoulders of defenders.Sadio Mane could play a key role against Roma, says Nicholas
Liverpool need to win this game as a draw makes Roma favourites, but I think they will get the victory, perhaps with a late goal in a performance which will require patience.
Charlie predicts: 1-0 and Mane to score first (33/1 with Sky Bet)Bayern Munich v Real Madrid (Wednesday, 7.45pm)
How can you really go against Real Madrid? They're the first team to win back-to-back titles and always have a chance with Cristiano Ronaldo's goals.Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Real Madrid's attack at the Allianz Arena
However, I just feel Bayern have started to click. I've just got a fancy for them to go on and win this tournament, with Jupp Heynkes repeating his feat of completing the treble before walking away.
The players are just so comfortable in their skins under this man and for some of them, it will be a fond farewell. I see Robert Lewandowski leaving in the summer and time is perhaps up on Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who will all be eager to go out on a high.
Charlie predicts: 3-1 and Lewandowski to score 1st (28/1 with Sky Bet)Arsenal v Atletico Madrid (Thursday, 7.45pm)
Arsenal finally made the breakthrough announcement they needed, with Arsene Wenger confirming his departure at the end of the season, but I don't think the Gunners were overly impressive at the weekend.Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of the season
I thought it was a really strange selection not starting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Alexandre Lacazette has found himself some scoring form but he's probably still thinking he wishes his move to Atletico Madrid had gone through in the summer.
Atletico are heavy favourites for me with their defensive strength and Arsenal's backline constantly making me nervous. How Shkodran Mustafi is still in the team is beyond me, but the competition isn't really there.Alexandre Lacazette has scored six goals in his last six matches in all competitions for Arsenal
There's not much between these two sides other than their defences and I can see Arsenal scoring a couple of times at the Emirates Stadium, but my concern is keeping that concentration to prevent Atletico snatching a vital away goal.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 and Lacazette to score first (25/1 with Sky Bet)Play Super 6 for £250k
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Jürgen Klopp today issued a message to Liverpool supporters ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with AS Roma at Anfield, declaring: "You've been the true star of this European campaign - now let's show our best to the world."
The Reds take on the Italian side in the first leg of the semi-final tie tomorrow night as they aim to take a step towards a first European Cup final since 2007, and the manager has stressed what a crucial role fans can play once again - just as they have done all season long.
Watch Klopp's message to supporters in our free video below.
Liverpool Football Club would like to advise supporters attending Tuesday's Champions League semi-final match against AS Roma that the coach arrival route will take place along Arkles Lane, near to Anfield stadium.
LFC reminds fans that the use of flares and other pyrotechnics in and around football stadiums is prohibited. Supporters who do ignite such devices will face arrest and prosecution. The club has been charged recently by UEFA for Liverpool supporters using pyrotechnics during recent matches, which will result in sanctions being imposed on the club and could result in ticket allocations being reduced at future games.
Liverpool Football Club would like to thank supporters in advance who show their support in a friendly, respectful and considerate manner.