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Stats: Klopp set for landmark with European record-breakers

Tue, 24/04/2018 - 09:30

Jürgen Klopp will take charge of Liverpool for the 150th time when they face AS Roma in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield on Tuesday night.

And the German can boast the best record of any Reds manager in their first 25 games in Europe - losing just twice.

His side have scored 56 goals in that time too, with the 39 netted in this season's Champions League, including qualifiers, a club-record haul for a single campaign.

For more need-to-know pre-match facts and figures, courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea, read on...

Liverpool have hosted Italian clubs at Anfield on 10 previous occasions, winning six times and losing four.

The Reds scored in nine of those 10 meetings, with Roma the only team to keep a clean sheet, in 2001.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have both registered nine goals in the 2017-18 Champions League, which equals the club record of most goals scored in a single European campaign. Dean Saunders scored nine in five appearances during the 1991-92 UEFA Cup.

Firmino is just two goals short of recording 50 for the Reds in all competitions.

Salah's next goal will see him set a new club record by scoring in 33 different games during a single campaign - beating Ian Rush's landmark from 1983-84.

Liverpool have found the net in 13 of their last 14 Champions League games and are unbeaten during that run, winning eight games and drawing six.

The Reds have failed to score in only four of their last 35 games played at Anfield in all competitions, while they have lost only one of the last 27 home fixtures.

Salah has scored in each of the last nine home games in league and cup in which he has started, scoring 14 times in that run.

At the back, the Reds have kept six clean sheets in their last eight Champions League games.

They have not conceded a goal at home in the last five games at Anfield in all competitions - their longest run since 2006-07 when they recorded eight home shutouts in succession.

This will be Liverpool's 18th semi-final in European competition and their 10th in the European Cup. 

Of the 17 they have played at Anfield they have won 13, with three draws and a single defeat - to Leeds United in the 1971 Fairs Cup.

The Reds hope to reach their 13th final and their eighth in Europe's premier club competition.

The previous time the last four of the European Cup was represented by a team from each of England, Germany, Italy and Spain was 1981. That year Liverpool lifted the trophy, beating Real Madrid in the final thanks to Alan Kennedy's goal in Paris.

This is Roma 12th season in the European Cup. They reached their only final in their debut campaign in 1983-84, when they lost to Liverpool, on penalties, at their own ground.

In England, I Giallorossi have played 19 times, winning only once - at Anfield in the 2001 UEFA Cup (1-0).

Since that victory they have not kept a clean sheet in 11 visits to the country.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Three key battles that could decide LFC v Roma

Tue, 24/04/2018 - 09:00

Liverpool host AS Roma under the Anfield floodlights on Tuesday night as the two sides contest the first leg of their eagerly anticipated Champions League semi-final.

The eventual victor of the two-legged tie will book a final date with either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26.

The Reds have lost just one of their five previous meetings with Roma. The most famous clash with I Giallorossi came in 1984 when Liverpool took on the Italians at their own Stadio Olimpico in the European Cup final and beat them on penalties.

In the most recent encounter with Roma, during the 2001-02 Champions League second group stages, a Jari Litmanen penalty and a glancing header from Emile Heskey helped the Reds secure a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Jürgen Klopp's side would surely settle for a repeat of that result on Tuesday night and we've picked out three key battles that could help decide the first leg in Liverpool.

Edin Dzeko v Virgil van Dijk

Target man Edin Dzeko provides Roma's main goal threat and, after netting a club-record 39 goals in all competitions last season, he's scored 20 of their 69 strikes this term.

With winger Stephan El Shaarawy next in the club standings on eight goals for the season, it could even be argued that the visitors are over-reliant on the 6'4" striker.

The 32-year-old has scored or assisted in Roma's last five Champions League games and was pivotal in their sensational aggregate win over FC Barcelona on away goals in the last round.

Dzeko netted away in the 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp and hit the opener at the Stadio Olimpico to spark the thrilling three-goal comeback against the Spanish side.

Excellent in the air and a great finisher, the Bosnian plays in the centre of an attacking trio - usually flanked by El Shaarawy and recently Cengiz Under - which allows Dzeko to concentrate his efforts in and around the area, where he is most effective.

Nullifying the former Manchester City striker would go a long way to weakening Roma and Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk is likely to be the man tasked with doing just that.

The ball-playing Netherlands skipper has helped tighten up the Reds defence since his arrival from Southampton in January and leads the team with a whopping 7.7 clearances per game in the Champions League.

Also standing at 6'4" tall, the aerial and physical battle with Dzeko should be intriguing.

Mohamed Salah v Aleksandar Kolarov

Signed in the summer from Manchester City, left-back Aleksandar Kolarov has quickly become a fixture in Eusebio Di Francesco's side, featuring in 41 of Roma's 47 games in all competitions this season.

The set-piece specialist scored the winning free-kick on his debut (which certainly helps to win over the fans when you used to play for arch-rivals Lazio) and leads the team with 13 assists.

Urged to get forward down the flank in an attacking 4-3-3 system - or pushed into midfield in the 3-5-2 alternative used in the second leg against Barcelona - six of those assists have been pin-point crosses while another two have come from marauding runs into the box that have resulted in penalties.

Another three have come from free-kicks and corners.

However, the 32-year-old is likely to be lining up against Liverpool's record-breaking 41-goal forward Mohamed Salah at Anfield and it's his defensive capabilities that should be tested to the maximum.

The Serbia international will have to call on all his experience and guile to do something that few opponents have managed this season: stop Salah.

If the left-back is too busy tracking LFC's No.11 to bomb forward and augment Roma's attack, the Reds will have stemmed a key supply-line for the forwards.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain v Radja Nainggolan

Tenacious Belgian international Radja Nainggolan is renowned for his dominating displays as the powerhouse of Roma's midfield but the 29-year-old can adopt a more finessed approach when required too.

Usually lining up alongside Kevin Strootman and Daniele De Rossi in a three-man central midfield, Nainggolan has recently been pushed into a more advanced role by Di Francesco and was the driving force in the aforementioned 3-0 win over Barcelona.

Playing ahead of his usual midfield partners as part of a 3-5-2 he was available to receive the ball in attacking positions and unleash high-quality through balls or powerful shots on goal.

His alternative position also allows the imposing Belgian to hustle high up the pitch and disrupt the opposition. It worked perfectly against Barcelona and it was a role he reprised five days later in the Derby della Capitale against Lazio and again at the weekend against SPAL.

While many of Roma's first-team regulars were rested ahead of Tuesday's clash with Liverpool, Nainggolan pulled on the captain's armband and scored his fourth goal of the season in a 3-0 win over the Serie A strugglers.

It's a role not too dissimilar to that which Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fulfils with the Reds and the duo could be in direct competition at Anfield.

Liverpool's summer signing from Arsenal can operate all across midfield, but four of his five goals for the Reds, and seven of his eight assists, have come when playing in a more central role.

Strong on the ball and capable of carrying possession from deep, the England international excelled in the quarter-finals against Manchester City when he was pitted against highly-rated Brazil midfielder Fernandinho - a player also adept at both the attacking and defensive sides of the game.

Categories: LFC NEWS