It was a draw that brought delight to Merseyside and Rome and anguish to Madrid and Munich.
The Champions League semi-final draw was made on Friday and it ensured that one of this season’s cinderella sides, Liverpool or Roma will be in the final in Kiev as they were drawn against each other, in a rematch of the 1984 European Cup Final that Liverpool won 1-0.
Two heavyweights in the draw, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will meet in the other semi-final. The first leg will be the 25th match between the sides, making it the most played fixture in UEFA club competition. It will also be the sides’ seventh semi-final meeting. Bayern have won four to Real Madrid’s two so far.
Semi-Final Stats and Reaction: Liverpool v Roma
- Mohamed Salah returns to Roma after leaving for Liverpool in the summer. He has scored 29 Premier League goals this term, as many as he managed in two Serie A campaigns for the Giallorossi (14 and then 15).
- Edin Džeko scored three goals in 11 games against Liverpool during his four-and-a-half seasons at Manchester City, but none of them came in a victory. His overall record against the Reds was three wins, four draws and four defeats. Federico Fazio (Tottenham, 2014–16) and Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City, 2010–17) also have Premier League experience.
- Roma won their first three two-legged knockout ties against English clubs – but have since lost six out of six.
- Liverpool’s overall record against Italian clubs is W9 D5 L11; in two-legged knockout ties, they have won four and lost two.
- Džeko and Salah scored for Roma in a 2-1 friendly win against Liverpool in St Louis in August 2016. The Italian side had also been victorious when the teams met in Boston two years earlier, while in 2004 Liverpool were 2-1 victors in another US friendly in East Rutherford.
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager: “If anybody think this is the easiest draw then I cannot help this person; they obviously didn’t see both games against Barcelona. The second leg was outstanding, it was outstanding what they did. They should probably have won four or five-nil – I was really impressed.”
Daniele De Rossi, Roma captain: “Liverpool have made a statement like we did. They beat the side that I thought were the favourites. They have a great coach. Like Barcelona and Shakhtar [Roma’s previous knockout opponents], we have huge respect for them. But we have a chance.”
Monchi, Roma sporting director: “This seems to be a perfect opportunity for us to find the joy we weren’t able to find many years ago, but it will be difficult because Liverpool are a very strong side. We need to think of ourselves and do what we showed against Barcelona.”
Semi-Final Stats and Reaction: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
- The first leg is the 25th match between the sides, making it the most played fixture in UEFA club competition.
- This will be the sides’ seventh semi-final meeting. Bayern have won four to Real Madrid’s two so far.
- Madrid have won their last five matches against Bayern, scoring 13 goals and conceding four.
Cristiano Ronaldo has seven goals in his last three appearances against Bayern – and nine in six matches overall.
- Toni Kroos began his career with Bayern, making over 200 appearances for the club before moving to Madrid in 2014.
- James Rodríguez is in the first of a two-year loan at Bayern from Madrid. Arjen Robben spent two seasons with the Merengues before moving to Germany in 2009, winning the Liga title in 2007/08.
Jupp Heynckes, Bayern coach: “It’s a cracking tie. A gigantic fixture. I have good memories of our treble season [in 2012/13]. We played against Juventus and Barcelona at home in the first legs. I hope that’s a good omen.”
Hasan Salihamidžić, Bayern sporting director: “A really top opponent. We went out to them last year. This year, we want to do better. If you want to reach the final, you have to be able to beat every team. I’m optimistic.”
Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director of institutional relations: “We need to get a good result in Munich to take back to the Bernabéu. At this stage of the competition, it’s impossible that you don’t suffer. If we have to do so in order to get to the final, so be it. It’s been a tough Champions League thus far, drawing Paris, Juve and now Bayern.”