De Rossi: ‘Long ball game hurt us’

Daniele De Rossi believes Liverpool destroyed Roma’s tactics with an old-fashioned long ball game. “They were going over the midfield completely.”

The Reds were 5-0 up at Anfield at one stage in the Champions League semi-final, with Mohamed Salah scoring two and providing two assists, but Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti’s penalty sealed the 5-2 result.

“We know Salah is a great player and also a great person. I’m happy for him, even if it cost us. He has improved so much in the final third and is becoming as decisive as we all thought he could be,” De Rossi told Mediaset Premium.

“We can cling to what we’ve already done in the quarter-final, which certainly tells us it’s possible. It’s our duty to believe and to try, for us and above all for the people who love Roma.

“The only difference is that against Barcelona I saw a game that was unlucky, with many dubious incidents. Here we started strong, but then suffered under their pace and the ferocity of their attacks. We have to learn those lessons for the second leg.

“We felt at Camp Nou that we were really in it and could certainly break them down. Here, we had a total black-out. We still need three goals, Liverpool are on the same level as Barcelona, so we know it’s possible. It can be done and we’ve done it before.

“We know our fans believe, we want to give them another night like the one they had against Barcelona.”

Was the three-man defence a bad idea in hindsight, particularly a high line against such a rapid front three?

“Not having seen the game back, it would be wrong for me to give a tactical view of what happened. Liverpool are strong, let’s not forget, and they did very well, but we had 20-25 very good minutes at the start.

“They constantly went for the long ball, from any area of the pitch, and it’s difficult to cover that space when there are players who are always faster than you.

“We got the feeling they were going over the midfield completely, so we couldn’t intercept the ball.”

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