Mohamed Salah shines with two goals and two assists against Roma

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A Mohamed Salah masterclass helped Liverpool take control of their Champions League semi-final — but two late Roma away goals gave the Italian giants a glimmer of hope for the second leg.

Liverpool repeatedly breached the visitors’ high defensive line and scored five times in the opening 68 minutes at a raucous Anfield.

Salah, 25, scored twice and assisted two other goals. He curled his first into the top corner from the edge of the box — and then clipped the ball over Alisson for a second.

The Egyptian International then ran down the right and squared for Sadio Mane to make it 3-0 — before doing the same to set up Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool then became only the second team to score five goals in a Champions League semi-final match when Firmino headed in James Milner’s corner.

With his side leading 5-0, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp took off Salah — and Roma gave themselves a chance for next week’s return leg at the Stadio Olimpico.

Edin Dzeko lashed home from Radja Nainggolan’s pass, before Diego Perotti put a penalty into the top right corner after Milner handled Nainggolan’s shot.

Roma need only look to the last round for inspiration — they lost the first leg in Barcelona 4-1 before winning 3-0 in Italy to progress on away goals.

A repeat of the latter scoreline this time would take them into the final against Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.

Man in critical condition from Liverpool-Roma pre-match assault

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Two men from Rome have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was left in a critical condition when he was attacked before Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final match against Roma.

Police and paramedics were called to the Albert pub shortly before the first leg match kicked off, where they found the victim, believed to be a 53-year-old man from Ireland, who had suffered a head injury.

Merseyside police said the men arrested were aged 25 and 26 and one of them was apprehended inside the ground. They were among nine men, aged between 20 and 43 years, arrested on suspicion of various offences, including affray, actual bodily harm and possession of offensive weapons, among others.

Officers appealed for witnesses of the incident in which the 53-year-old was injured to come forward. They said forensic examination had been carried out at the scene and CCTV footage from the area would be reviewed. Police believed that the victim was in Liverpool with his brother for the match.

“Witnesses report that the victim was hit with a belt and then fell to the ground. Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken by ambulance to Walton Neurological Centre, where he is being treated for a head injury. His condition is currently described as critical and his next of kin have been informed.”

“The place where this incident occurred is right by the ground and was heaving with fans making their way to the game. I would appeal to anyone who has any information, or mobile phone footage of the incident to contact us urgently, as information they have could be vital to our investigation.”

Such video footage does appear to exist, with clips posted to Twitter showing clashes between supporters with ambulances in attendance, and suggestions that a group of Roma fans had used belts as weapons.

14-year-old Everton fan became football’s first “remote” mascot

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Jack McLinden, 14, became part of football history as he served as a “remote” matchday mascot for the Premier League game against Newcastle United with the aid of a robot.

McLinden has multiple health conditions and severely reduced mobility but was able to experience joining his heroes on the pitch thanks to the AV1 telepresence robot.

Everton captain, Phil Jagielka, carried the unit onto the pitch Jack enjoying the occasion in real-time from his home via a camera, microphone and speaker linked to his tablet and by also interacting with the players in the tunnel.

The Norwegian company, No Isolation, designed AV1 to help children with long-term illness and to attend school from home and, partnered with the UK charity, WellChild, to give the Merseyside teenager an unforgettable Goodison Park experience.

Everton’s head of engagement, Scott McLeod, said: “The most important thing for everybody at the club is that we have had the opportunity, through this amazing technology and the work with No Isolation and WellChild, to do something incredible for an inspirational young Evertonian.”

“We are thrilled to have had the chance to do this for Jack and we hope it has provided him with a memory he will always treasure.”

His mother, Michelle Wignall, added: “We are thrilled that through No Isolation and Everton Football Club Jack is able to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Everton won against Newcastle by 1-0 thanks to Theo Walcott’s goal, and Jack also got a bird’s-eye view of manager Sam Allardyce’s news conference.

“Sam carried the robot in for his press conference and it was just lovely of him,” said Michelle. “He introduced him and at the end he thanked Jack for the 1-0 win as if it was down to Jack.”

Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool will be back at their best against Roma

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Virgil van Dijk has admitted Liverpool let their standards slip against West Bromwich Albion but insisted that their home game against Roma will prove a welcome and contrasting proposition.

Liverpool squandered a two-goal lead on their visit to West Brom after struggling to cope with set pieces late on but Van Dijk is confident they will rise to the occasion in the semi-final first leg.

“We need to do better,” he said. “You have to tell each other the truth you cannot be nice and happy when we want to achieve so much as a team and a club. A draw is not good enough but there is no reason to panic. There is no need to stress.”

“I don’t worry at all. They [West Brom] are fighting for their lives so in the end they are very direct, balls into the channel, work hard, trying to get fouls and free-kicks and we didn’t cope with that how we should have. To concede two goals from set pieces as well where we have always the same roles to do and we didn’t do that. So it is disappointing but I am not worried at all.”

After witnessing Roma’s extraordinary comeback against FC Barcelona to advance from the quarter-finals on away goals, Liverpool, who will hold their pre-match team meeting on Monday, will not be taking anything for granted against the Serie A side.

“It will be hard work and we need to be ready for anything and then obviously the tough game in Rome,” Van Dijk added. “That will be a hard one as well, but we need to enjoy that because not many players, teams come to this stage and have the chance of getting to a final. We will prepare as well as we can and see what happens.”

“I have not played against Dzeko before but everyone knows the result against Barcelona. They are a very good team and we have to be ready. I don’t fear anyone. We play a different style to Roma. It will be a different game to this one. The system we played at the end today won’t be the same.”