Prior to this afternoon’s UEFA Champions League semi-final draw, many would have considered it a mere inevitability that Liverpool and Roma would be paired against each other. Why? Mohamed Salah, of course.
It is worth recalling just how angry the Giallorossi fans were last summer when they learned that their star player would be leaving. Livid does not even begin to describe their feelings. They hold no particular grudge against the player himself – they have grown accustomed to seeing star players move on to bigger and supposedly better things – but it was a huge early blow to their confidence in newly-appointed sporting director Monchi.
At that point, very few could have imagined that the two sides would end up meeting in the latter stages of Europe’s premier club competition less than 12 months on. However, that is exactly what will happen later this month. The Reds will take on Eusebio Di Francesco’s team at Anfield first, before Salah and his new teammates travel to the Italian capital where a cauldron-like atmosphere will await them.
It remains to be seen how Salah will handle such an occasion, though given his current form it is hard to imagine that too many would bet against him having a decisive say in who progresses to the final in Kyiv on the 26th May.
Jordan Russell (@JordRuss96)