What Rio Ferdinand said about Roma defenders against Mo Salah was bang on the money

AS Roma players will be having nightmares about Mohamed Salah for quite some time.

If it wasn’t for two late goals from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti, Liverpool could probably book their flights to Kiev already and all thanks to their attacking masterclass at Anfield on Tuesday night.

With just ten minutes left to play, the Reds sensationally led the tie 5-0 and Salah had contributed no less than two goals and two assists amidst the rout.

He opened the scoring after just 35 minutes, thwarting Alisson with a sensational left-footed strike into the far top corner.

Then, just before half-time, he bagged himself another goal with a sublime chip over the Brazilian shot stopper after Roberto Firmino found him with the perfect through ball.

And while Liverpool deserve great credit for their attacking brilliance on the night, Roma set themselves up for failure with some questionable tactics and terrible execution.

Playing a high-line against the Reds was never going to end well and the likes of Kostas Manolas and Juan Jesus simply had no answer to Salah and co.

It was a point picked up on by former defender Rio Ferdinand who clashed with his fair share of mercurial forwards during his illustrious career.

And, aside from all the due praise to Salah, he feels the Roma defenders failed to do their research and even allowed the sensational Anfield atmosphere to get to their heads.

After watching a clip of Salah’s mercurial opening strike, Ferdinand began: “When you’re a defender in situations like that, leading up to a game – especially of this magnitude – you watch videos of these players.

“It doesn’t look like any of these players are watching videos of these players.

“When they’re out there, acknowledging that he’s left-footed, he wants to be on that side of the pitch, put him on his weak foot and make it difficult.”

Gary Lineker then waded into the debate, noting: “He’s scored so many goals like that this season, it’s the same with Messi as well.”

To that, Ferdinand continued: “Mentality is the key thing. Sometimes you go into games like this, the crowd plays its part, you can lose yourselves in these situations. A lot of these Roma players lost themselves.”

And when a clip of Salah’s assist to Sadio Mane was shown, Ferdinand was back at it again.

“Again, that run there was exactly the same one he made against Manchester City. Are you watching the tapes of these players?” Ferdinand asked.

“But sometimes they’re that good, the pass and the weight of pass is so good, it takes you out the game.”

We imagine that happens quite a lot when you’re playing against Salah, Rio.

It makes an interesting point, though. It’s no news to any of these Roma players that Salah will cut in on his left-foot, but playing against the man himself is a different ball game and more preparation was probably required.

Roma thought they knew what was coming yet thoroughly underestimated the task at hand.