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NYON, Switzerland, May 4, 2018 (News Wires) - AS Roma president Jim Pallotta is facing punishment from UEFA for his comments about referee decisions in his team's Champions League elimination against Liverpool.

UEFA says Pallotta has been charged with "improper conduct."

UEFA's disciplinary panel will judge the American official's case on May 31, after Liverpool plays Real Madrid in the final.

Pallotta was angry at decisions going against his team, including a penalty not awarded for an apparent handball by Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold in the second half of Wednesday's match.

Among Pallotta's comments, he challenged UEFA to quickly introduce video review of key incidents otherwise "stuff like this is just an absolute joke."

Liverpool won 7-6 on aggregate to reach the final on May 26 in Kiev.

LIVERPOOL, May 3, 2018 - Jurgen Klopp insists his Liverpool team will be ‘on fire’ in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 26.

His side beat Roma 7-6 on aggregate in the last four, after a 4-2 defeat in Rome, and now they will try and stop Zinedine Zidane’s men claiming a third consecutive Champions League crown in Kiev.

However, Klopp admitted the memories of losing to Manchester City on penalties in the League Cup in 2016 still haunt him.

“We were in a League Cup final and didn’t win it,” he said after the match in Rome. “People don’t tell me in the street since then: ‘Thank you for bringing us to the final.’

"We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. I see no trophies after these games. They don’t hang silver medals at Melwood. That’s a pity, but that’s the game. There’s still a job to do.

“Going to a final is really nice but winning is even nicer. We will be ready but it is Real Madrid. You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together.

Klopp also admitted his team needed some luck to reach the final, against a Roma side who refused to give in.

"It was the first time that we were not really as good as we can be, so we needed luck. That’s what we had," Klopp added.

“There was lots of space. But then our last line was too deep and you cannot play like this.

“It was the first semi-final for most of the boys so normal to have to keep nerves in. It was a little bit exciting – more exciting than I actually wanted.

"For both teams it would have been crazy had we played extra time. 7-6 sounds crazy because it is crazy."

LONDON, May 2, 2018 (News Wires) - Liverpool has issued detailed instructions for fans travelling to Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg at AS Roma, with the Merseyside club warning supporters not to attempt walking to and from the Stadio Olimpico under any circumstances.

The instructions come after an attack amidst fan chaos outside Anfield before last week's first leg left Liverpool supporter Sean Cox in a critical condition in hospital.

Liverpool ousted Roma 5-2 in the first tie and could reach the Champions league final for the first time since 2007 if they hold on to their lead in the second leg.

Travelling supporters have been asked to use the shuttle services, via the designated pickup locations, to reach Roma's home ground, including from the Fiumicino Airport.

Liverpool fans have also been urged not to travel alone, wear the club's colours or hang banners and scarves on Roman monuments.

They have also been asked to arrive at the stadium via the shuttle as early as possible, with gates opening at 1700 GMT, and fully co-operate with Italian authorities.

"... Liverpool officials are involved in ongoing discussions with the Italian authorities aimed at ensuring fans enjoy the best possible experience with safety and security at the top of the club's agenda as always," the Premier League club said on their website http://www.liverpoolfc.com.

The authorities will hold back Liverpool supporters for an extended period following the conclusion of the game, after which the shuttle buses, under full police protection, will carry the fans to Villa Borghese.

Pre-arranged taxis and coaches will be made available for fans once they reach Villa Borghese. Supporters have been advised against walking into the city.

Liverpool, UEFA and Roma condemned the perpetrators of the attack outside Anfield after two men from Rome were arrested and charged with violent disorder for the incident.

ROME, May 2, 2018 (Reuters) - AS Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco says his team must aim for a "miracle" against Liverpool with the Italian club trailing 5-2 ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg.

Roma came back from a 4-1 deficit in their quarter-final against Barcelona by winning the return leg in the Italian capital 3-0.

"We must have belief and with this mentality, with these fans and this passion around the team, try to perform another miracle - and saying miracle is perfectly fine," Di Francesco told reporters on Tuesday.

"Liverpool are really dangerous and they can hurt you as soon as you give them an inch. I want to clarify one thing -- in a Champions League semi-final in front of 70,000 people, do you expect a team just to yield?

"No, we've got to be a battling team who give all they can – then the game can end 4-1 either way, but what I want to see is enthusiasm and desire to go beyond the limits," he said.

Roma have not conceded a goal at home in this year's Champions League campaign.

"At home in Europe this season, we've only really struggled against Atletico Madrid," Di Francesco said.

"Since then we've managed to contain our opponents and I hope it's the same tomorrow. The passion of our fans should give us an extra push."

Liverpool's former Roma forward Mohamed Salah scored twice in the first leg and created two other goals as he ripped apart Di Francesco's defence.

"Mohamed Salah has outstanding quality when they go long – but we can't put three men on Salah. We've got to have the strength to put the right importance on our opponents, but also think of ourselves," Di Francesco said, adding that his team needed a similar display from striker Edin Dzeko.

"The players have got to take responsibility - Dzeko even more so as one of the key players in this team. I hope he will be the man who - even more than Salah in the first leg - makes a difference in this game," the Italian coach said.

"Our ambition should be to get to Kiev (for the final). I'll try and treat this game like any other. I've passed on my ideas to the team and will convince them that this is achievable," Di Francesco added.

Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan said the late goals the Serie A side scored at Anfield gave them hope.

"We managed to get two goals at the end which give us this hope of going through. We can't make the same mistakes as the first leg and I think every one of us is aware of what we did there, and that we can't repeat it here," Nainggolan said.

"In games like these, they can hurt you in a flash – we've got to focus for 90 minutes and try to overturn the tie. We know it will be difficult but it was difficult against Barcelona and we did it."

 

LONDON, May 1, 2018 (News agencies) - Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah has been voted Player of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) to complete the double of English soccer’s major individual awards.

Salah was chosen as player of the year by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) after an outstanding season in which he has scored 43 goals in all competitions.

The 25-year-old is the first African player to win the FWA award which began in 1948.
Salah narrowly beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in a ballot of over 400 FWA members, with the winning margin less than 20 votes. Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane was placed third.

“What a race it has been between two players who, in a relatively short time, have reached genuine world class. But Mo Salah is the worthiest of winners. He is also the first African to receive the award and we congratulate him on a magnificent season,” FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay said.

Salah has helped Liverpool, who are third in the Premier League, into the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 10 years.

The Merseyside club face AS Roma in the second leg in the Italian capital on Wednesday and lead 5-2 from the opening game at Anfield in which Salah scored twice and set up two other goals.

Salah will head to the World Cup in Russia in June to play for Egypt who have been drawn with the hosts, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay in Group A.

The inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year Award was won by Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby who was also crowned PFA Women’s Player of the Year last month.

LONDON, May 1, 2018 (News agencies) - Liverpool return to the scene of two of their most famous European triumphs amid tight security ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg clash in Rome.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are on the brink of reaching the final of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 2007 as they look to defend a three-goal advantage against AS Roma in the Italian capital.

But off-pitch tensions are high as Liverpool supporter Sean Cox lies in a coma after being attacked before last week’s first leg in Anfield.

Two Roma supporters were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and club legend Francesco Totti has appealed for “fair play, hospitality and respect for our opponents.”

Former Roma striker Mohamed Salah scored two brilliant goals and set up two more as Liverpool went five up at Anfield before two late goals gave Roma hope of a potential fightback.

Klopp’s side are bidding for a sixth European title having won two, in 1977 and 1984, at the Stadio Olimpico – the latter on penalties against Roma.

Both teams are third in their domestic leagues and in the running for Champions League football next season.

But Liverpool have suffered serious disruption in the buildup after Klopp’s right-hand man, Zeljko Buvac, dubbed “the brain” by the German, stepped aside for personal reasons this week.

Buvac, who was on the bench with Klopp for Saturday’s goalless draw against Stoke, has been the German’s trusted right-hand man for the last 17 years.

Added to the distractions is star striker Salah’s image-rights dispute with the Egyptian football association.

The Roma game also comes days before Liverpool clash with Chelsea in the Premier League. “Liverpool always has to take the slightly more difficult way and it’s again like this,” said Klopp.

“We created a basis and now we have to finish it.”

It’s a clash between two sides who have not won the domestic title in years. Liverpool won the last of their 18 Premier League titles 28 years ago.

Since then the Reds lifted the Champions league trophy in 2005, when they fought back to stun AC Milan on penalties after conceding three-first goals in Istanbul, and two years later when they lost to the Italians in Athens.

“Nothing is won so far,” warned Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, looking towards the May 26 final against either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in Kiev.

“There is a possibility of winning the Champions League - but we have a semi-final to finish first.”

“It would be a rare thing to do, a unique moment in our lives, in mine. It’s my first Champions League season.”

Klopp will be without midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, out for the season with a knee injury, with Georginio Wijnaldum likely to be the only change from the first leg.
Emre Can (back) and Adam Lallana (hamstring) are also struggling with injuries.

Eusebio Di Francesco looks set to be without Kevin Strootman as Roma target just their second final – 34 years after that fateful defeat to Liverpool.

The 28-year-old midfielder suffered a leg injury in the first leg and he still hasn’t been cleared to be fully fit. Di Francesco is likely to play a 4-3-3 formation, which will see Lorenzo Pellegrini replace the Dutch player.

Roma, who won the last of their three Serie A titles in 2001, warmed up for Liverpool with a 4-1 win over Chievo in which Edin Dzeko bagged a brace.

Having earned their place in the last four after overcoming a 3-0 first-leg deficit to Barcelona in the quarter-finals, Di Francesco believes he can mastermind what would be another spectacular comeback.

“We’ve done something extraordinary in the Champions League this season,” said Di Francesco.

“This team has had a great journey and we don’t want to stop now. We want to believe in this comeback.”

And Czech forward Patrik Schick warned they had spotted Liverpool’s weaknesses.
“We saw that they’re not as strong at the back as in attack, we have the chance to score three goals at home.

“In my opinion we have to go on the pitch without fear, with great determination and great courage.”

 

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