Napoli request fixture change

Napoli have lodged a request to play the final two rounds of the Serie A season simultaneously with Juventus.

The two sides have rarely played at the same time during this campaign and it has been a source of many complaints from Coach Maurizio Sarri.

The gap at the top of the table with only four games to go is just one point and it’s all to play for.

While the final matches of the season are generally played at the same time, Napoli have formally appealed for the penultimate round to see them on the field simultaneously with Juventus too.

It’ll be a very tricky round on the weekend of May 13, as Juve visit third-placed Roma and Napoli are away to Sampdoria.

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Roma and Milan consider Zaza

Milan and Roma are on high alert after reports Simone Zaza has been told he can leave Valencia this summer.

According to Superdeporte, Zaza, his father Antonio, Coach Marcelino and director of sport Pablo Longoria had a summit at the club headquarters this morning.

It is rumoured Zaza was told he can start looking for another team, as he will not get more playing time next season.

He is one of several players ready to leave Valencia, as they struggle with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Milan and Roma are believed to be interested in bringing Zaza back to Serie A, according to Calciomercato.com.

It hasn’t been a bad campaign by any means, as the 26-year-old scored 12 goals with two assists in 30 Liga matches.

However, nine of those were scored in the opening 10 rounds and he found the net only twice in 2018.

Valencia bought Zaza from Juventus for €18m after an initial loan period in January 2017.

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Roma thugs identified

Italian media have identified the two Roma ultras arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide after leaving a Liverpool fan in critical condition.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the pair under arrest are 21-year-old Filippo Lombardi and 29-year-old Daniele Sciuscio.

The Italian police who were accompanying the Roma fans during the trip to Liverpool apparently recognised them during the attack and collaborated with the local authorities to capture them inside Anfield.

It seems they did not travel with the official ultras party, so came to the stadium separately and may well have bought their tickets to the game off touts.

They are both part of organised ultras group Fedayn and on social media have pictures of themselves attending the Champions League Round of 16 trip to Shakhtar Donetsk’s stadium in Kharkiv.

Lombardi had a message on social media calling for violence against “those in uniform.”

The Liverpool fan, 53-year-old Sean Cox, is in an induced coma with fears of brain damage and is still considered to be in critical condition.

He was struck by a belt, swung using the buckle as a form of mace, a tactic often used by ultras in Italy because a belt can rarely be confiscated as a potential weapon.

Along with the nine people under arrest – seven of them Italian – the police in Liverpool and Rome are also said to be looking for another 11 Roma supporters who took part in the attack on Cox.

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Player Ratings: Liverpool 5-2 Roma

Did anyone emerge from the Anfield mauling with some Roma pride in the Football Italia Player Ratings?

Words: Tom Scholes

Alisson: 5

A rating for each goal that went past him tonight. As much as I really rate and enjoy watching Alisson, he was quite poor this evening. However, blame for some of the goals cannot be placed at the Brazilian’s feet, as his defence left him with no choice but rush out or make errors he normally wouldn’t.

Federico Fazio: 3

How on earth can anyone expect Fazio to play in a back three, in a high line, against this Liverpool attack? The system didn’t help the former Tottenham man, but dear me he was so poor! Looked thoroughly overwhelmed by everything at Anfield and was pretty much a fish out of water from first minute to last. I don’t actually think there are enough characters to fully describe how I feel about this Roma defence.

Juan Jesus: 2

Inter fans know this version of Juan Jesus. In recent weeks he’s actually been quite good and looked like he may have shaken off any dodgy defensive performances, but nope, not on this occasion. He was the textbook definition of dreadful, making mistakes all night, being out of position and looked scarred out of his boots whenever Mohamed Salah ran against him. I’ve never given a rating of two before for a player, but try and give me reasons why he shouldn’t be rated this badly?

Kostas Manolas: 4

When you have Salah on the edge of the box, trying to cut inside on to his left foot, what is the one thing you don’t do? That’s right, you don’t show him on to his left foot. Manolas mustn’t have gotten the memo on that one, as it was his lack of closing down and showing Salah on to his favoured side that allowed the Egyptian to open the scoring. Manolas did recover after the goal and looked somewhat better, but still not quite good enough.

Aleksandar Kolarov: 5

I felt Kolarov wasn’t too bad tonight, but yet another player who wasn’t good enough in the large majority of the match. He got into good crossing positions and managed to hit the crossbar, but overall his delivery wasn’t too productive and defensively was often found lacking.

Alessandro Florenzi: 4

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t actually remember Florenzi producing much tonight on the right flank. The Liverpool attack pinned him back so often that he almost completely abandoned his attacking duties. A very strange performance from someone who is usually so assured and experienced.

Kevin Strootman: 4

Strootman is usually a calm and confident midfielder, but tonight he looked very much out of his depth. Liverpool just bypassed him, Radja Nainggolan and Daniele De Rossi all evening and Strootman couldn’t even get hold of the ball and try to create something. Again, very poor but you’d expect him to be better in the second leg.

Daniele De Rossi: 4

Same as Strootman, just completely bypassed by quick passing from the home side and couldn’t cut anything out. The pace was always going to be some kind of issue for such a veteran player, but his positioning was all over the pitch tonight and occasionally completely lost track of whoever he was meant to be marking. 

Radja Nainggolan: 5

I expected the Belgian to add a bit of energy to the Roma attacks and pin the Liverpool defence back, but he didn’t do that as often as I or many other viewers expected. He was quite effective in the opening stages of the game and towards the end when Roma eventually staged a mini comeback but inbetween, he was relatively ineffective and out of the game.

Cenzig Under: 4

Under was definitely one of the players to watch going into this tie with his pace and unpredictability potentially being a dangerous weapon for Roma, but he was hauled off at half time and was unseen for the majority of the first 45 minutes. Whenever he did get on to the ball, he didn’t produce anything productive or meaningful.

Edin Dzeko: 6

Perhaps the only player who came come out of this game for Roma with a bit of pride after his goal and attempts at holding up the ball, Dzeko always looked like he was trying to piece something together, but for whatever reason it never quite worked. He’ll hope for more chances in the Olimpico than he got tonight, and you’ll bet your house that he’ll take at least one if it comes his way.

Subs:

Patrik Schick: 5

Quite effective in the latter stages, but largely out of the game from his arrival at half-time.

Maxime Gonalons: N/A

The former Lyon man came on for the tiring De Rossi half way through the second half and added a bit of stability in midfield, helped largely by the removal of Salah.

Diego Perotti: 6

You’d expect Perotti to start next week following his brief showing, scoring a delightful penalty and attacking the Liverpool back four at pace. If Roma stand any chance of producing yet another ‘Romantada’, Perotti has to start.

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Henderson: ‘Now finish Roma off’

Jordan Henderson warned Liverpool still have to “finish them off” at the Olimpico after a 5-2 first leg win over Roma.

The tie had been over at 5-0, but Edin Dzeko and a Diego Perotti penalty means the Giallorossi can go through with a 3-0 victory – something they already achieved in the Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona.

“It felt as though we were in full control, but we basically gave them two goals, you can’t do that in the Champions League. At the same time we played well, we will go there with a three goal advantage,” the captain told BT Sport.

“Overall we have got to stay positive. We knew it would not be easy tonight, we know it will not be easy there. It will be a challenge, but one we will look forward to and one we will hopefully finish them off.”

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