There is history between Liverpool FC and their hosts in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and it was a bitter blow for AS Roma when the English club added to their triumph over them via penalties in the 1984 European Champion Clubs' Cup final by beating them again in last season's UEFA Cup.
Measure of revenge
Now, on Matchday Eight, with Liverpool having begun the second group stage with a home defeat against FC Barcelona, the Rome club believe they have a great opportunity to gain a measure of revenge. They reason that as Liverpool are unable to afford a second reverse they must abandon the cautious approach that has drawn criticism from opponents and that could present opportunities for Fabio Capello's team.
"History has shown that Liverpool have had one over on us," said Roma striker Marco Delvecchio. "It would be a fitting time to turn that around. We're at least as good as we were last season but this time we have to have some luck to beat Liverpool. If we play as well as we can at home we've a good chance of winning against one of the sides who stand between us and qualifying for the next round."
Roma were the only team to lower Liverpool's colours on their 13-match run to UEFA Cup celebration last year but it was not enough, that 1-0 victory at Anfield stadium courtesy of Gianni Guigou's strike, proving inadequate when stood alongside Michael Owen's brace in Rome two weeks before.
That 2-0 victory was Roma's first home defeat in nine games against English visitors. Until then they had conceded just one goal in that span - during the 1984 final. It was also Liverpool's only win in Italy with five previous visits producing one draw and four defeats.
Roma will require only a short debate on where the danger lies this time with last season's tormentor in Rome continuing to hold the upper hand over defences both at home and abroad. Owen, who shot Liverpool ahead against Barcelona before the Catalan club turned on the passing style, took his career tally to 98 goals from 178 games with the winner at Derby County FC on Saturday.
Owen has now scored 19 goals in the same number of club and international matches in the current season. The victory at Pride Park stadium stretched Liverpool's advantage at the head of the FA Premiership to three points and extended their unbeaten league run into double figures, though they were also indebted to goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek for a late penalty save from Fabrizio Ravanelli.
Draw in Turkey
Roma were congratulating themselves on their start to Group B after Emerson struck a last gasp equaliser to escape from the away game against Galatasaray SK with a draw. Despite enjoying 57 per cent of ball-possession they managed just one shot on target. Since then Roma have played three domestic fixtures and won them all.
A 3-1 win was recorded at Bologna FC with Walter Samuel, Gabriel Batistuta and Marcos Assunção on the scoresheet. Last Saturday, the champions looked set to drop two points in their home game against AC Venezia before Diego Fuser popped up with his first Serie A goal of the season in injury time to secure the win that puts Fabio Capello's side two points behind league leaders Internazionale FC in third place. Walter Samuel missed the match through suspension, which will also be Aldair's fate after he was ordered off for a foul.
Between those two league wins, a Roma side showing several changes entertained Piacenza FC in the Coppa Italia and overturned a 2-1 deficit from the first leg by scoring three times without reply. The marksmen were Christian Panucci, Antonio Cassano and Damiano Tommasi.
Following their game with Barcelona, Liverpool returned to the Premiership and scored a 1-0 win over Sunderland AFC thanks to Emile Heskey's first league goal of the season. Caretaker manager Phil Thompson praised his side for achieving the win despite being reduced to ten men after Dietmar Hamann was sent off. "With the spirit we have we are capable of winning more things and our European experience helped us when we were down to ten men" he said.
The loss of Hamann forced Thompson to withdraw Robbie Fowler at half-time, which proved to be the last appearance of the home-city striker in the famous red shirt. A few days later Leeds United AFC agreed to pay a fee of €17.5m for the England international.
Liverpool supporters will also have no sight of Markus Babbel in the near future. On the eve of Wednesday's game it was revealed that the German international defender, who had been thought to be edging his way back to fitness, will be missing for another three months. An illness which attacks the nervous system has seriously delayed Babbel's recovery programme.
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