Tag Archives: Edin Dzeko

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.”

Roma complete miraculous comeback to oust Barca from Champions League

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A spectacular second-leg performance saw Roma comeback and defeat Barcelona 3-0 (4-4 on aggregate) and reach the Champions League semi-finals on their sole away goal.

Barca were huge favourites to progress after a 4-1 first-leg win, but they were utterly dismantled at Stadio Olimpico.

There were early signs of danger as Roma got a dream start when Edin Dzeko struck early from close range and Daniele de Rossi added a second-half penalty as Gerard Pique bundled Dzeko over in the box.

With time running out, defender Kostas Manolas scored the crucial third goal, heading Cengiz Under’s cross in at the near post with eight minutes remaining.

The goals by de Rossi and Manolas also meant that the pair would make amends for their own-goal blunders in the first-leg at the Camp Nou last week.

The crowd at the Stadio Olimpico erupted at the final whistle as the Roma substitutes and coaching staff piled on to the pitch to celebrated with the players — it had taken the team 34 years to reach this stage of the competition.

There were tears in the stands from those watching, not quite believing what they had witnessed, while Barca, unbeaten in La Liga, saw their dreams for a treble extinguished.

“It is difficult to believe but we did it and did it in style,” Dzeko said after the game. “Nobody believed in us before the game — they gave us a 5% chance of winning — but against such a team like Barcelona, you expect that after losing the first game 4-1.”

“The win is difficult to describe. We lost against Fiorentina in the league three days ago but we played an amazing game today and had even more chances to score. It was great teamwork from the first to the last minute. It is the first time in history to knock out Barcelona 3-0 and that makes it even more special.”

“We will enjoy the semi-finals — I do not fear anyone. They are all top teams. I am just happy to see my team in the draw.”

Eden Hazard: Chelsea playmaker insists club does not need new strikers

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Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has insisted that the club does not need to buy a new striker in the January transfer window.

The Blues have already made enquires in the interest of signing several forwards with tall stature despite their age, including Roma’s Edin Dzeko, 31, West Ham’s Andy Carroll, 29, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch, 36.

However, Hazard, 27, has backed the Blues’ current pair of Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi to flourish at Chelsea, instead claiming that the signing of tall target men may not fit into the Premier League champions’ style.

“I think we’re happy with the team we have. It depends how you want to play,” he said. “We have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy. If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another one].”

“Football is simple — keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did [against Brighton]. Because we are missing chances people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals, we are the best attack in the league and no-one can say we need a striker.”

Chelsea have scored 45 league goals this season — the same as London rivals Arsenal, but fewer than the rest of the top six Premier League sides. They are understood to be in advanced talks with Roma about a £44m deal for Bosnia striker Dzeko and left wing-back Emerson Palmieri.

But Hazard, who scored twice in his side’s 4-0 win over Brighton on Saturday, says the arrival of a big man could affect their current playing style.

“Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big,” added Hazard. “It’s simple. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy.”

Premier League champions Chelsea humiliated at Roma

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Premier League champions Chelsea were humiliated at Roma as the Serie A runners-up earned a comprehensive 3-0 victory.

Roma’s rout had begun in just 39 seconds, with their first goal immediately following an attack on the other end. Pedro had shot weakly at Alisson Becker, allowing Roma to clear with the ball lobbed long to to Edin Dzeko, who knocked it down to the edge of the Chelsea box for Stephan El Shaarawy to catch it on the half volley and sent the ball fizzing into the corner.

Antonio Rudiger, on his return to his former club gifted them their second as he through to Thibaut Courtois, while Stephan El Shaarawy sprinted between the two players and slotted home clinically for his second.

While Chelsea continued to challenge Becker through attempts from Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata but failed to make a breakthrough.

Their defensive frailties was subsequently exploited for a third time as Cesc Fabregas gives the ball away outside his own penalty area, allowing Diego Perotti a shoot from the edge of the area that into left-hand corner past the Courtois.

Roma should have got their fourth when Chelsea’s defenders all ran to Dzeko, who managed to square to a totally unmarked Perotti, but he fired over when he should have finished.

The Blues were hugely fortunate that Atletico Madrid failed to beat Qarabag, allowing them an easier chance to qualify.

They currently four points above third-placed Atletico — and a win in their next Champions League game at Qarabag will take them through.

As for Roma, a team currently fifth in Serie A, now lead the group by a point.