The two late goals in the first leg at Anfield have given the Giallorossi hope they can repeat their Barcelona heroics and beat Liverpool to reach the Champions League final
In the last few days the city has been trembling with excitement. No one speaks about anything else: there is only Roma v Liverpool, in the bars and in the restaurants, among friends or on the metro. It will be a great celebration of sport with an extraordinary atmosphere: trust me, the Olimpico will be an inferno.
For Roma it is only their second time in a European Cup semi-final, and therefore something historic: the climate inside the stadium will be even hotter and even more fiery than what we saw against Barcelona.
Roma are famous around the world for their fans: they have passion, love and heart. I witnessed it and it was something wonderful. Against Liverpool you will see the same total support for the team: the stadium will be completely clad in red and yellow, the fans will sing for 90 minutes and then it is up to the team to do the business.
The Roma fans are amazing. Even today, 15 years later, they stop when they see me and start to sing the song they sang about me when I was playing: it is incredible. They stop me everywhere, even at restaurants when I am out eating.
They still salute me every day. They were the first fans to make a banner saying “I love you” to a team in the 80s and there is an incredible passion for the players who play for the team.
The players are also fans of the team so there is total love between the supporters and the players and you will see the result of that against Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Everyone here believes that Roma can get through, just as they should. The two late goals at Anfield have given everyone hope and I believe too. They have to play the perfect game, just like they did against Barcelona because Liverpool are better than Barça in my opinion. If everything goes our way then Roma can do it. In the capital everyone is hoping and believing.
Liverpool, of course, have a former Roma player in their team, Mohamed Salah, and he will get a great reception. He did so well in the Roma shirt and got close to the fans. He had to leave because of finances and he will be greeted like a champion on his return to the club. In the Premier League, with Liverpool, he has taken another step forward: here in Italy he played a bit deeper and did not score as many goals.
As far as I am concerned he can win the Ballon d’Or: he is a fantastic player and it will all come down to who wins the Champions League. If he does that, then the Ballon d’Or could well go to Momo.
As far as the home team is concerned I think Daniele De Rossi could be decisive. He is the heart of this Roma side and a romanista, the fans’ hero. Against Barcelona he had an amazing assist and also scored from the penalty spot to make people believe the amazing comeback was on. One additional thing with him is that he can animate the fans at the Olimpico. Then we shouldn’t forget about Edin Dzeko, of course.
I have played at Anfield against Liverpool and that is an experience that is impossible to forget. The fans sing for 90 minutes and they are extraordinary. I brought my kids because you have to live that experience.
At the Olimpico the fans are further away but the Roma supporters are just as good as the Liverpool ones. You will see the colours, how much heart they put into it and the choreography of the tifo to help the team. The Olimpico will be an extraordinary sight for this incredible night of Champions League football.
Vincent Candela played for Roma between 1997 and 2005 and won the club’s third Scudetto in their history in 2001. He was voted into the Roma Hall of Fame in 2014. He was speaking to Fabrizio Romano