Roma focused on Liverpool not just Salah, says Eusebio Di Francesco
Roma manager, Eusebio Di Francesco says it will concentrate on more than just stopping Mohamed Salah in the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, reports skysports.com.
Roma, who beat Barcelona in the quarter-finals, is facing its former striker for the first time since his £34.3m move last summer.
The Egypt international has already scored 41 goals this season and has been named PFA Player of the Year.
But speaking before the first leg at Anfield today, Di Francesco said Roma benefited from not focusing solely on Lionel Messi in the last round.
“We haven’t prepared the game to shut down Salah,” he said. “Obviously we have a keen eye on our opposition’s star players, like him or Messi, but we’ve prepared the game based on our opposition not one player.
It is a view shared by Roma’s former Manchester City defender, Aleksandar Kolarov.
“Against Barcelona, we played as a team, we did not focus on Messi and by playing in this way we can achieve great things,” he said.
“It is not about stopping one player. Liverpool are not only Salah, they have a number of good players.”
Roma staged a stunning comeback to draw 4-4 against Barcelona and progress on away goals after being 3-0 down in the first leg and Di Franceso believes they will have to be at their best again to beat a side managed by Jurgen Klopp.
“They are a great quality team,” he added. “They have showed it both in the Premier League and the Champions League. It will be tough to impose our football.
“We need to play as a team more than ever because we are facing a rival which is different to Barcelona in terms of pace and we have to match them in that respect.
“The most important thing is the mentality, we need to keep our shape and keep our defence as short as possible against a team which is deadly on the break.
“I really like his [Klopp’s] philosophy.