Roma underdogs heading into Champions League semifinals


Roma have been the talk of the football world since their stirring comeback victory to bounce Barcelona from Champions League, but that doesn’t mean everyone believes they can keep the momentum going. On Friday at UEFA HQ in Switzerland, Roma drew Liverpool in the semifinal round.

While the Reds have been in flying form, Roma will be happy to have avoided the likes of Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, who will be squaring off in their own semifinal tie. Roma will have to play the first leg at Anfield with the return tie set for Stadio Olimpico a week later.

While Roma would surely prefer to play Liverpool of the three, i Giallorossi will still head into the semifinal as second favorites. Two-time defending champions Real are favored at +200 to make it three straight Champions League crowns, with Bayern and Liverpool tied for second at +225 apiece. Roma are way down at +900, so there’s clearly plenty of doubt among handicappers in the Italian side’s chances.

Bookmakers are additionally slapping Roma with 9/2 odds of coming up with an outright victory at Anfield in the first leg. You don’t need to read a guide on placing sports bets to know that those aren’t particularly favorable odds for the Serie A club.

There are some interesting links between Roma and Liverpool, as well. Mohamed Salah, of course, spent each of the last two seasons with Roma, the first of which was a loan spell from Chelsea. Salah made the most of his time in Italy, bagging 29 goals across 65 appearances with the club.

That said, the Egyptian has taken his career to new heights in his first season under Jurgen Klopp back in England. Salah has scored a whopping 38 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, including a pair in the Reds’ dismantling of Manchester City in the quarterfinal round. In fact, Salah scored a goal in three of Liverpool’s four wins over the Premier League leaders this season.

Liverpool have also been linked with Roma goalkeeper Alisson. Those rumors have cooled a bit in recent weeks as Loris Karius has performed well in the Liverpool goal, but the 25-year-old Brazilian has emerged this season as one of the most talented keepers in the world. Alisson effectively stole the job of Wojciech Szczesny, who is set to replace Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus.

Klopp may still come calling for Alisson at some point, but in the meantime the keeper will get a first-hand opportunity to show the German manager that he’s the best keeper left in the competition.

Roma will travel to Anfield for the first leg on 24 April, with the second leg in Rome coming shortly thereafter on 2 May.

The Editor of RomaPress.us, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including ASRoma.com, EuroFantasyLeague.com, and ESPN.