Roma 'made it easy' for Liverpool to build lead - Eusebio Di Francesco
Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco said his side "made it easy" for Liverpool to run out to a 5-2 win, though he retained hope of another dramatic second-leg comeback.
Mohamed Salah led a ferocious Liverpool attack to a 5-0 lead in the semifinal first leg at Anfield, before Roma were able to cut the deficit to three -- the same as they faced against Barcelona in the previous round.
And Di Francesco said the late rally kept him optimistic for the return leg, when he vowed to put on a "very different" display than his players showed in England.
"We said before the Barcelona game that we believed totally in our chances and I say the same now," the manager told Mediaset Premium. "The team today lost its confidence too much and got totally disbanded, but that shouldn't happen, it doesn't matter how many setbacks there are or goals conceded.
"We will see a very different Roma in the second leg. If you lose numerous duels around the pitch, you're going to lose the game. If we got here it's because we fought and won duels against many very talented players.
"If the opposition has the ball and is preparing a pass, you can't just stand there and wait for it to come in, especially when it's an easy enough situation to read. We made it easy for them."
Di Francesco also defended his decision to start with a 3-5-2 formation that allowed Liverpool to get in behind the three-man defense with a number of long balls forward, instead blaming Roma's woes on giving away possession.
"We had that system in the first 20 minutes, when it was very even, so that wasn't the issue," Di Francesco said. "We continued to lose every one-on-one situation and give the ball away very cheaply. ...
"I don't want to see anyone on trial now, as preparing games on paper is not the same thing and tactics become relative if we can't keep the ball or make a simple pass.
"Their attacking moves almost all happened when we lost the ball. If they allowed us some three against three moves, it means we have the quality. Our centre-backs were caught when they should've turned and blocked. Losing all these duels showed we were a little below Liverpool in terms of physicality and pace."
Roma sporting director Monchi said the two late goals kept the Giallorossi on life support, as any larger deficit would have been too daunting to overcome.
"We were dead, but now we have a little bit of life and must use that the way we did against Barcelona," he said. "We must have faith and believe. I think the fans will be behind us, 90 minutes at the Olimpico for a side like Liverpool will be very difficult."
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