- Champions League Betting Preview: Roma vs. Liverpool – Final close for Reds who must resist Roma fightback
Champions League Betting Preview: Roma vs. Liverpool – Final close for Reds who must resist Roma fightback
Liverpool take a three-goal advantage to Italy in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie with Roma on Wednesday evening.
The Reds are in pole position to book their place in the final in Kiev after smashing five past Eusebio Di Francesco’s side at Anfield. However, two late Giallorossi goals last Tuesday evening have home supporters dreaming of another epic turnaround and their first European final in 27 years.
Roma need not look far for inspiration to come back from their first-leg 5-2 defeat. In the quarter-finals of this season’s competition, the Italians found themselves 4-1 down to the mighty Barcelona after the first leg. Despite being written off, goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured an unlikely progression on away goals. An identical scoreline this week would ensure the same outcome.
The 1984 European Cup runners-up warmed up for Liverpool in apt style, thrashing Chievo 4-1 at the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend to solidify their position in the top four of Serie A. That’s another scoreline which would satisfy Romans on Wednesday – but the odds aren’t in the hosts’ favour. Paddy Power have priced Roma at a lofty 17/2 to secure the minimum three-goal victory to make the final at Liverpool’s expense, with the visitors having one foot in the final at 1/16.
While Roma refused to let continental aspirations affect their domestic ones at the weekend, a much-changed Liverpool could only draw 0-0 with Stoke City, meaning their own top-four hopes in the Premier League are still all but certain. The likes of Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson missed the match against the Potters but are likely to return in Rome.
As such, Di Francesco will have to come up with a new strategy to keep Liverpool’s fearsome attacking trio of Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah at bay. At Anfield, the Giallorossi boss favoured a risky high defensive line, which backfired due to a lack of effective pressing from his side. Any away goals would make Roma’s task even more daunting but, as they’ll need to push forward more and more as the 90 minutes play out, space will inevitably open up for the three.
With two attacking mindsets, it’s hard to see Liverpool failing to score at the Stadio Olimpico. Over 3.5 goals is priced at 6/5 and could be a wise bet, while a home win with both teams to score is at 27/10.
After his sensational performance in the reverse leg, Salah will be the man who Roma defenders fear most. The mercurial Egyptian humiliated his former employers at Anfield, scoring twice and putting in a fine all-round performance before being replaced with 15 minutes left to play. Liverpool’s subsequent collapse – conceding twice in the remainder of the match as they took their foot off the accelerator – is no coincidence.
However, Salah is shorter than evens to score at any time, meaning punters may want to place their money elsewhere in the scorers market. Roberto Firmino has scored the same amount of goals as Salah (10) in this season’s Champions League and he’s at 19/10 to score at any point over the 90 minutes, or 7/1 to break the deadlock. With Roma likely to press from the start, Edin Dzeko’s stock is even more enticing at 51/10 to net first. He also grabbed a double in the win over Chievo on Saturday so he’s in good form.
Liverpool’s history in Italy isn’t overly impressive, with just two victories in eight matches since 2001. However, the Reds haven’t lost to an Italian side by three goals since way back in 1965 in what was also a European Cup semi-final. Having won the first leg in England, Liverpool let the advantage slip in a 3-0 defeat to Inter Milan. Jurgen Klopp will hope that’s not a bad omen, and he’ll surely take a more narrow defeat. Roma are at 37/10 to win by a single goal or 13/2 to win by two goals.
A tense night looks to be in store at the Stadio Olimpico, with Liverpool fully aware of their opponents’ potential to turn the tie on its head. But with the Reds’ mass of attacking talent and pure speed, it’s difficult to see the visitors failing to find a way past goalkeeper Alisson over the course of the game. An early goal would settle any lingering nerves and Klopp’s charges are at evens to get the first one.
Conversely, a Roma goal in the first 15 minutes would have Liverpool fans biting their nails. But, after the miracle of the turnaround against the Catalans, can lightning strike twice in the matter of a few weeks? We don’t think so. There will be goals in the Italian capital, but Liverpool will get at least one, leaving Di Francesco and Roma’s obstacle-filled path to the final almost completely blocked.
To find out the best online betting sites to have a flutter on this much anticipated fixture check out our betting site reviews.