They shouldn’t be here: not in the Champions League, certainly not in the last four. For all Roma’s rich reputation, it has little to do with Europe’s greatest prize.
Nobody envisaged this. When they were drawn in a group with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, it was assumed Roma would fall away and be left to concentrate on the Europa League after Christmas. How wrong that assumption proved to be.
Roma sustained blows in the first half of the competition, rode them and made it to the last 16, knocking Shakhtar Donetsk out on away goals and then — most spectacularly of all — doing the same to Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
They have been knocked down, but Roma keep getting up. That was why Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was eager to apply perspective: his team are not facing lightweights. They are squaring up to Europe’s giantkillers.
Roma might be surprise guests at this stage but they are here to make their presence felt and those who know Monchi, their renowned sporting director, were struck by the confidence on his face when the draw was made. They want another scalp.
‘It is not a coincidence we are here,’ said Aleksandar Kolarov. ‘We deserve to be here. We have the duty to try to win it.
‘The Champions League carries along a special atmosphere. Against Barcelona we played as a team. By playing this way we can achieve great things.’
Edin Dzeko, former Manchester City and current Roma team-mate, added:
‘Everyone expected us to go out to Atletico and Chelsea.
‘But we believed we could go through. If you have beaten Atletico, Barcelona and Chelsea, you have quality. You have to go until the end. We have that belief.’
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