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My old pals at Roma were all desperate to avoid us, says Salah

Familiar face: Mohamed Salah will come up against Roma, who sold him to Liverpool in the summer
Familiar face: Mohamed Salah will come up against Roma, who sold him to Liverpool in the summer

By Carl Markham

Liverpool have been drawn against Roma in the Champions League semi-finals and Reds forward Mohamed Salah revealed his former team-mates wanted to avoid his side.

The Reds are the last English side remaining in Europe's premier club competition after beating Manchester City 5-1 across two legs to join Italian side Roma, German giants Bayern Munich and reigning champions Real Madrid in the final four.

Though Real have won the tournament 12 times and Bayern have been crowned champions on five occasions, Salah said his ex-colleagues informed him the last thing they wanted was to be drawn against Liverpool.

Roma beat Barcelona in astonishing fashion in the quarter-finals, overturning a 4-1 first-leg deficit by winning 3-0 in Italy on Tuesday to progress on away goals, and they will once again be away from home as the first leg is at Anfield on April 24 before the return fixture on May 2.

Speaking ahead of the draw, Salah said of his old team-mates: "They've all said, 'We don't want to play against Liverpool'.

"It would be nice to go back to Rome, it's my old club. I love the fans there and they love me too.

"I still talk to most of the players there. We were very close and we are good friends.

"Of course, I have happy memories. We played together for two years and were fighting together in all the games. We had a good time in the dressing room."

Roma may have lost Salah to Liverpool last summer but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp insisted their display against Barcelona epitomised how strong they still are.

"It will be two difficult games because they are a fantastic side," Klopp, whose side face Bournemouth tomorrow, added.

"You saw the two games against Barcelona. If somebody only saw these two games then you already know pretty much everything about Roma.

"They have had a good season after a difficult transfer window last year. They lost Mo and Emerson Palmieri, and they are still having a good season and fighting for the Champions League again. I watched the second leg against Barcelona - that was outstandingly good."

The game is a repeat of 1984 European Cup final, when Liverpool won on penalties to secure their fourth title.

Roma sporting director Monchi believes the tie also offers the Italians hope of progress.

"It feels like a great opportunity to chase the joy we were not able to experience so many years ago, but of course it will be difficult because Liverpool are an extremely strong side," he said.

In the other semi-final, Bayern Munich face Real Madrid, with the first leg in Germany on April 25.

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