Roma says fans 'brought shame on club' after Irish man left 'critical' in clashes
An Irish man is in a critical condition in hospital after he was attacked ahead of the Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Roma outside Anfield on Tuesday night.
Two men from Rome, aged 25 and 26, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The Irish man (53) was at the game with his brother. He was seriously assaulted outside The Albert pub just outside the football ground at around 7.35pm just 10 minutes before kick off.
It was reported he was hit with a belt and treated at the scene for a head injury.
He was then taken to Walton Neurological Centre where his condition is described as critical. His family have been informed.
Footage on social media showed fans attacking each other while a man lay on the ground.
During the game police entered the stadium and arrested the two men.
Liverpool Football Club said it was "shocked and appalled" by the incident and urged fans and those who attended the game to help Merseyside Police with their appeal for information.
Roma said it condemned the incident "in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent behavior of a small minority of traveling fans who brought shame on the club".
"There is no place for this type of vile behavior in football and the club is now cooperating with Liverpool Football Club, UEFA and the authorities," the club said.
"The club’s thoughts and prayers are with the 53-year-old Liverpool fan in hospital and his family at this time."
Roma fans have just attacked Liverpool supporters with belts, outside the Albert. About 20. One guy down getting treatment— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) April 24, 2018
The Roma group came out of Venmore St, and attack was sudden. Picked an older Liverpool fan and atracked him. A lot of police around but they were slow on the scene. Poor guy is still down. Horrible stuff.— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) April 24, 2018
Detective Inspector Paul Speight urged anyone with information to contact police. He said: “Witnesses report that the victim was hit with a belt and then fell to the ground. 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.”
In a statement, Liverpool FC said: "Our thoughts, in the first instance, are with the victim and his family at this very traumatic time. We will be offering them our full support.
"The club has been liaising with the emergency services since the incident occurred and will continue to do so.
"Liverpool FC directs supporters and those in attendance at the game to Merseyside Police's appeal for information."
After the game police said nine men - including the two arrested for the attack - were arrested for a range of offences. Police are also investigating the use of flares outside the ground which were set off as the team coaches arrived at the ground.
Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent Dave Charnock, added: "The vast majority of the 52,500 fans attending the game were well behaved and went to watch a good game of football.
"However, a minority of fans from both Liverpool and Roma were involved in isolated pockets of disorder in the city centre and near to the ground."
Mr Charnock said: "We will be reviewing CCTV footage, our own body worn camera footage and working with the club to identify those involved in any of these incidents so we can put them before the courts.
"And I would appeal to anyone who has any information, or mobile phone footage, in relation to any of these incidents to contact us.
"Finally, I would like to thank the Liverpool Football Club stewards and the police officers who were out on the ground tonight for their hard work and professionalism throughout the evening."
Belfast Telegraph Digital