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Salah, Dzeko spearhead Liverpool v Roma in Champions League


Rome (AFP) – Edin Dzeko spearheads the Roma attack against a Mohamed Salah-led Liverpool as the hosts need to score big to overturn a 5-2 deficit in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco returns to his preferred 4-3-3 line-up with Patrik Schick and Stephan El Shaarawy backing up Bosnian ace Dzeko as the hosts chase a first appearance in the final since they lost on penalties to Liverpool in 1984 in Rome.

Di Francesco used a successful three-man defence for the 3-0 upset victory over Barcelona in the quarter-final, but that failed to reap the same benefits at Anfield Stadium last week.

Midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini replaces injured Kevin Strootman, joining captain Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan, with Juan Jesus overlooked after his poor form in the first leg.

Salah, who ran riot in the first leg with two goals and two assists, returns to his old stomping ground after leaving the Italian capital last summer.

The 25-year-old Egyptian is joined up front by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, as manager Jurgen Klopp went for the same formation as at Anfield last week with the expection of Georginio Wijnaldum who replaces the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Roma have not conceded a single goal at home in the Champions League this season, while Liverpool have scored 20 goals on the road in Europe.

Five-time winners Liverpool are favourites to reach their eighth final and first since 2007. 

Starting line-ups for the Champions League semi-final, second leg between Roma and Liverpool at the Stadio Olimpico (kick-off 1845 GMT):

AS Roma (4-3-3)

Alisson Becker; Alessandro Florenzi, Kostas Manolas, Federico Fazio, Aleksandar Kolarov; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Daniele De Rossi (capt),  Radja Nainggolan; Patrik Schick, Edin Dzeko, Stephan El Shaarawy

Coach: Eusebio Di Francesco

Liverpool (4-3-3)

Loris Karius; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson (capt), James Milner; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane

Coach: Jürgen Klopp (GER)

Referee: Damir Skomina (SLO)

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