After 80 minutes of the first leg, the tie was over. Liverpool lead 5-0, and there was no way Roma would be coming back from that. But then Edin Dzeko scored, as the first-leg preview suggested he would, and a penalty from Diego Perotti ensured Roma headed home with hope in their hearts.
No side has ever overturned a 5-0 first leg defeat in European history, but four of the 23 teams who have lost 5-2 have managed to turn it around. In the last 14 seasons there have been six Champions League semi-final first legs where the home side won without a clean sheet, and five of those home sides reached the final.
Manchester United were the exception, losing 3-0 at AC Milan after a 3-2 home win. As United were the only home side to concede two in the first leg, does this give added hope to Roma?
More pertinently, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side faced essentially the same deficit against Barcelona in the last round, but beat them 3-0 to reach the semi-finals, and they also beat Chelsea by the same score line in the group stage. Another 3-0 here and they will reach their first final since 1984, and only their second ever. Roma will have belief after their Barca heroics, but is it a realistic possibility?
I giallorossi certainly have the defensive record for it, as they have yet to concede at the Stadio Olimpico in the Champions League this season. They certainly should have though, as their opponents in Rome have collectively amassed 10 clear-cut chances, and even an average return on those would’ve seen them concede three goals.
Roma will be fearful of Liverpool’s devastating attack too. Only two teams in the past 18 seasons have scored more Champions League goals than they have, and their haul of seven away from home in the knock-out stages is only one shy of Roma’s home tally in the competition this season.
While the result itself may be harder to predict, it’s impossible to see Liverpool failing to reach the final, and they are priced at 2/55 with Redbet to get through. There surely has to be plenty of goals in this match too.
Liverpool are capable of scoring anywhere, and have found the net In 21 of their 25 away games in all competitions this season. With Roma needing a bare minimum of three, but the visitors eminently capable of scoring on the counter, there should be goals galore here.
In the first leg preview I suggested a bet on over 2.5 goals, with a tentative suggestion for over 3.5. As we now know there were seven, and whilst a repeat is unlikely, there’s definitely a good chance we see at least four goals once again.
Matchbook’s odds for over 2.5 goals are 4/11, or even money for over 3.5 goals, and both bets should definitely be in your thoughts here. There was also a successful ‘both teams to score’ tip in the previous preview, and it looks the way to go again. Simply put, Roma have to score, and Liverpool almost certainly will.
You can get odds of 1/3 with at top football betting sites for both teams to score - a tidy looking bet. In the scorer market it would be logical to go for Mohamed Salah as the most likely scorer, and I certainly wouldn’t dissuade you from doing so. Who would bet against a player who is chasing down Ian Rush’s record of 47 goals in a season from getting one here?
However, I’m also going to make a case for Roberto Firmino here. The Brazilian would be making headlines everywhere this season were it not for Salah’s superhuman efforts in front of goal. One area where Firmino does have an edge over his Egyptian team mate is for away goals in the Champions League.
Liverpool’s number nine has six away from home, which is a tally only Cristiano Ronaldo can top, and you can get 7/1 with 888sport that Firmino opens the scoring, or 37/19 with the same firm that he bags a goal at any time.
Edin Dzeko was the Roma tip last time out, and with the Italian side having far fewer goal threats than their English visitors, the Bosnian has to be their scorer selection once again. Much like Firmino he has scored more European goals on the road, but when no Roma player has more than two at the Stadio Olimpico, it’s hard to make a case for anyone else.
BetBright offer 10/11 that the former Manchester City man scores at some point. The tip for the match result has to be a Roma win, which is priced at 7/5 with Sportnation, but it will surely be Liverpool who advance to the final on May 26th.