AS Roma were all over the shop with their tactics against Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Whatever game-plan the Italians had intended for their trip to Anfield, it unraveled within a chaotic 68 minutes as Liverpool romped their way into a 5-0 lead. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all found the net in an outstanding attacking performance from Liverpool.
The visitors did manage to salvage some respectability with two late goals, but the Reds still carry an overwhelming advantage going into the return leg.
In the BT Sport studio, there was no shortage of criticism for the way Roma set up on Merseyside.
Frank Lampard noted: “Roma came here and almost gave them a free pass to the final."
De Rossi drops salty 'long ball' comment
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand simply decided: “I think the Roma manager has to take full responsibility for the result, I think today he let his players down, the way he set them up."
All that considered then, it was perhaps bizarre that one of the most prominent tactical criticisms was aimed in Liverpool's direction.
It came virtue of Roma captain Daniele De Rossi who, despite also praising Liverpool, couldn't help making a salty comment about his opponents pandering to the use of long balls.
Speaking to Mediaset Premium, the Italian said: "Not having seen the game back, it would be wrong for me to give a tactical view of what happened.
"Liverpool are strong, let's not forget, and they did very well, but we had 20-25 very good minutes at the start.
"They constantly went for the long ball, from any area of the pitch.
"And it's difficult to cover that space when there are players who are always faster than you.
"We got the feeling they were going over the midfield completely, so we couldn't intercept the ball."
Are Liverpool a long ball team? Not at all, but the Reds deployed the tactic far more than usual on Tuesday night and for very good reason with Roma playing a bizarrely high line against Liverpool's rapid frontline.
Liverpool fans hit back on Twitter
And, as a result, Kopites had the perfect response to De Rossi's salty comment. Take a look at the tweets below:
The gist: Roma were asking to be exposed over the top with such a high line, and especially so against Salah, Firmino and Mane.
It is no major criticism that Liverpool played this way and you'll struggle to find a supporter who would overly value the style with which they chased a Champions League final.
The fact of the matter is that Liverpool are on the brink of achieving something truly special.
From Loris Karius through to Salah and Klopp, this current Liverpool side have the chance to go down in history over the next month.
Do you think Liverpool will win the Champions League this season? Have your say in the comments section below.
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