How Mohamed Salah made Kevin Strootman eat humble pie

AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman spoke before last night’s Champions League semi-final about how Roma had a plan to stop Mo Salah – and boy, oh boy, did the Egyptian make him look silly.

With the Italian side arriving in England in a bid to stifle the hype around this electric Liverpool side and in the process, make progress towards booking their place in the final of the competition, Dutchman Kevin Strootman told the Independent that a plan had been devised to stop Mohamed Salah wreaking havoc.

I was intrigued to see what they had come up with and aside from a 35-minute deadlock, Roma were entirely unable to prevent their former charge from blowing up their Champions League dreams.

“Now he has so much confidence and he just creates the chances himself and finds it easy in front of the goal,” Strootman told the Independent.

“I think it is confidence which is the main difference. It did a lot when he played here but now you see if he has a chance and he misses it, the next time he knows he will score.

“We have special tactics [for Salah] but I’m not going the share it! Italian defence, that is what I’m hoping for.”

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As far as I am concerned, not only was there no real sign of special tactics to deal with the prolific forward, but he seemed to be afforded a bizarre amount of space given that he was playing in a Champions League semi-final.

While the tie is far from over, with the Romans fortunate enough to grab two away goals in the final 15 minutes of the game, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side will need to win 3-0 at home to negate the three-goal advantage the Reds’ carry into the second leg.

With a Premier League game at the weekend for Liverpool against Stoke, it will be interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp rotates his squad to make sure his best side is fit for the return fixture next week Wednesday.

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