5,000 Liverpool fans expected in Rome for semi-final game on 2 May.
Liverpool football club has thanked Italian security authorities for providing the "most up-to-date detail" regarding the safety of its fans travelling to the Champions League semi-final second leg against AS Roma at Rome's Olympic Stadium on 2 May.
Representatives from the Premier League club attended a high-level meeting with Rome security chiefs along with officials from AS Roma and UEFA, the governing body of European football, at Italy's interior ministry on 27 April.
The unprecedented move was requested amid security concerns over the upcoming game which follows clashes between supporters of AS Roma and Liverpool outside Anfield Stadium on 24 April. The violence took place before the match, which Liverpool won 5-2, and resulted in the serious assault of a Liverpool fan. The victim, 53-year-old Sean Cox from Ireland, remains in a critical condition at a specialist neurological centre.
Two Italians, known to police as members of the hardcore AS Roma “ultras” Fedayn group, have been charged in relation to the incident and are in prison awaiting trial. The attack has fuelled concerns for the safety of Liverpool fans travelling to the semi-final in Rome on 2 May, with supporters being advised to travel to and from the stadium on special shuttle bus services.
Italian newspapers are reporting that Rome security chiefs are considering the introduction of a three-day alcohol ban from 1-3 May. The ban would prohibit the sale, consumption and transport of alcohol on the streets of the city centre and the area around the stadium. On 27 April Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi said she had a "long and cordial" telephone conversation with her Liverpool counterpart Joe Anderson who she invited to visit the Italian capital.
Rome is expecting the arrival of 5,000 Liverpool fans, of which around 1,000 are considered a security risk, according to Italian news agency ANSA. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has urged the club's fans to "behave" themselves but said that since his arrival at Liverpool in 2015 he "never heard anything" about the 1,000 alleged problem supporters. However he expressed confidence that Rome police would "keep an eye" on fans that might be at risk of causing trouble. More than 1,000 police officers will be on duty at the Olympic Stadium, and Liverpool fans without a ticket for the match are warned not to travel to Rome.
The British embassy in Rome has issued important travel advice for Liverpool fans, including the location of ticket collection points, information on how to get to the stadium, and areas of the city to avoid.
In order for AS Roma to progress the club must overturn a three-goal away defeat, for the second time in less than a month, after securing a "miraculous" 3-0 victory over Barcelona in Rome on 10 April. Although Roma has not lost any of the five home games in the current UEFA Champions League, Liverpool is unbeaten in Europe this season.
The tension leading up to the 2 May game is compounded by the fact that the only time AS Roma made it to a European Cup Final - in 1984 - the Rome side was beaten at its home stadium by Liverpool.