Champions League

Arrests made after 'attempted murder' ahead of Liverpool's Roma clash

2018-04-25 07:15
Football hooligans (Twitter)

Liverpool - Police have arrested two men following an attack ahead of Liverpool's Champions League semi-final first-leg against Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.

A Liverpool supporter is in a critical condition after he was attacked by Roma hooligans before the match, which ended in a 5-2 win for the Premier League club.

Mainstream English publications The Guardian, BBC Sport and Sky Sports are reporting that the two men, who are aged 25 and 26 and come from Rome, have been arrested on "suspicion of attempted murder".

Detective Inspector Paul Speight said police believed the 53-year-old victim was in Liverpool with his brother for the match.

“Witnesses report that the victim was hit with a belt and then fell to the ground. Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken by ambulance to Walton Neurological Centre, where he is being treated for a head injury. His condition is currently described as critical and his next of kin have been informed.

“The place where this incident occurred is right by the ground and was heaving with fans making their way to the game. I would appeal to anyone who has any information, or mobile phone footage of the incident to contact us urgently, as information they have could be vital to our investigation.”

There were clashes between Liverpool and Roma supporters shortly before kick-off.

Around 80 Roma fans are thought to have used a side road to reach an area populated by Liverpool supporters just outside their Anfield stadium.

One man was seen motionless on the road and BBC Sport footage showed another fan carrying a hammer amid reports Roma supporters used belts as weapons.

Sunday Times Football correspondent Jonathan Northcroft tweeted: "Roma fans have just attacked Liverpool supporters with belts, outside the Albert. One guy down getting treatment.

"The Roma group came out of Venmore Street, and attack was sudden."

Video footage later emerged on social media showing Roma thugs, dressed in black and with hoods and masks over their faces, carrying out their attack on the Liverpool supporters.

There were also clashes between fans in Liverpool city centre before the match, with the Italians again seen to provoke the incident.

Roma fans also have a history of targeting English supporters in the Italian capital, with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United fans both complaining of assaults during their visits in recent years.

The trouble at Anfield followed disturbing scenes during Liverpool's quarter-final win over Manchester City when fans threw missiles at the visitors' team bus.

To avoid a repeat of those scenes, extra police were drafted in for the Roma match, while tactical road closures kept fans away from the visitors' team bus.

Despite those measures, Liverpool fans still let off flares and smoke bombs, while some climbed on top of police vans.

Read more on:    liverpool  |  roma  |  champions league  |  soccer
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