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CL Preview: Liverpool looks to finish the deal vs. Roma

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Real Madrid is already into the Champions League final. It would appear that Liverpool has one foot in the match as well, but there are 90 minutes more to take care of before that is for sure.

The Reds hold a 5-2 first-leg advantage after stomping Roma at the Kop, but it’s that 1 that has fans worried. After a stunning first 70 minutes that looked to be the best Liverpool performance maybe in years, the final 20 ticks were nervy, ruining the clean sheet and giving the second leg in the Italian capital more than a smidge of intrigue.

Can Roma do it again?

The Italian club stunned runaway La Liga champions Barcelona just last round, reversing a 4-1 first-leg deficit and winning the second meeting 3-0 and advancing on away goals. Now, they’ll need a repeat performance of that once-in-a-generation comeback, a task so tall considering Liverpool’s form.

But Barcelona was in good form too. In fact, they haven’t lost all season in league play, a stunning invincible record that has seen them already confirmed as league champions. Somehow, Roma kept Lionel Messi and company out of the net and grabbed the three goals required to advance.

And yet, if Barcelona was a mountain to climb, this is Kilimanjaro. The Reds feature Mohamed Salah, a player not only in contention for Premier League Player of the Season, but also maybe in the best form of any attacker in the world. If Liverpool scores once, Roma would need four. If Liverpool scores twice, Roma would need six, effectively ending the tie.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp thinks that while Barcelona may have been naive, Liverpool certainly is not, thanks to red flags from the comeback in the previous round. “Barcelona thought probably that it’s decided,” he said. “Everybody is telling us that it’s possible for Roma to beat us 3-0 or 4-0. Nobody told Barcelona. Not that I needed it but, we have the warning.”

The main scoring threat for Roma could come in the form of former Premier League striker Edin Dzeko. The Bosnia & Herzegovina international will play against Liverpool for the 13th time in his career across all competitions, the most against any team he has ever faced, level with Bayern Munich. He has four goals in those games, but Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco expects big things from their leader.

“All the players need to feel responsible and be pleased about that [feeling],” Di Francesco said in his pre-match press conference. “As coach, I’m pleased to have this responsibility, but the players are the ones doing it on the pitch. Even more so with Dzeko – I hope he can be our Salah from the first leg, so he can pull things back and determine a great comeback. A player of his quality, ability – it’s right that he has this responsibility.”

Part of winning the Champions League is shocking the world, part of it is overcoming adversity, but part of it is also taking care of business. That is what Liverpool need to do on Wednesday, with kickoff from Stadio Olimpico at 2:45 p.m. ET. If they complete the performance, a date with Real Madrid in the final awaits – a worthy adversary expected to prevail but also with plenty of fallacies. That opportunity will not come if they do not take care of business.

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

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Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.

Report: Everton could land Juventus’ Kean after all

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Everton could end up with one of the hottest prospects in world soccer.

Moise Kean may wind up leaving Juventus due to the club’s failure to offload fellow strikers Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

And Kean, 19, was poised for a breakthrough to the first team, to the extent that Juve reportedly turned down a $33 million bid from Everton.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The Toffees, however, may have new life due to the Higuain/Mandzukic problem, and Sky Sports Italia reports that Kean may indeed be an option for Marco Silva‘s club. He could join Michael Keane, if he’s keen.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kean elected to leave Italy given the racial abuse he’s suffered in Serie A (Though racism is everywhere, of course).

The same report says Kean turned down a Barcelona offer because he would’ve headed on loan, while Arsenal is also said to be in the mix.

Kean scored six Serie A goals with an assist in just 13 matches for Juventus last season after scoring four times for Hellas Verona on loan.