When we opened the Italian papers on Wednesday after Liverpool’s 5-2 rout of Roma in the Champions League semi-final, we thought it would be chaos, but it wasn’t.
In fact, there was actual hope.
The Serie A side’s two late goals have given the press and fans something to cling onto, helped by the fact this very same side were thumped 4-1 by Barcelona, only to turn the tie around with a 3-0 home win.
For example, Corriere dello Sport’s front page simply states: “From Rome, it can be done”, with the article inside’s headline claiming: “It’s not over”.
Gazzetta dello Sport are a bit more direct with their “Roma KO” front page, with a play on words “Conto Salahto”, meaning the result was a ‘hefty bill’, using ‘Salahto’ instead of ‘salato’.
Inside, the newspaper focuses more on the Egyptian, labelling him as ‘savage’ for what he did to his former team, ‘appearing to be Messi, but at twice the speed’.
Onto the local press now, as Il Tempo label what happened last night an ‘English mess’, leading to their team needing ‘another miracle’, with Il Messaggero feeling much the same, focusing on the two away goals.
One of the things that stood out from all of this is how little has been made of Eusebio di Francesco’s tactics generally, although Gazzetta dello Sport do dedicate a whole section to them, describing the decision to go three at the back against Liverpool’s attack a ‘reckless tactical exercise’.
It seems Eusebio di Francesco firmly believes he made the right choice, blaming the players for ‘losing their heads’ after a while and making ‘too many mistakes’.
Finally, just because we cover them on a regular basis, we decided to check what Il Mattino, the Naples based newspaper, made of the whole thing from a more neutral point of view: “Salah without mercy, Liverpool crush Roma”.
That sounds about right, to be honest.