Police have arrested two people on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was seriously injured in an incident before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma at Anfield on Tuesday (Apr 24).
|Liverpool fans cheer on their team during the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match against AS Roma at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England. (Oli SCARFF/AFP) |
A Liverpool supporter was attacked by Roma hooligans before the match, which ended in a 5-2 win for the Premier League club.
Merseyside Police said in a statement: "During one incident, a 53-year-old man, believed to be a Liverpool fan, was assaulted near to the ground during what is believed to have been an altercation between Roma and Liverpool fans.
"Two men, aged 25 and 26 years from Rome, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and have been taken to a police station where they will be interviewed by detectives."
The police added that the victim is in a critical condition and is being treated at Walton Neurological Centre.
Liverpool said in a statement that they are "shocked and appalled" at the incident.
"Our thoughts, in the first instance, are with the victim and his family at this very traumatic time. We will be offering them our support," the statement added.
"The club has been liasing with the emergency services since the incident occurred and will continue to do so."
Seven others were also arrested for various offences, including affray, assault, possession of offensive weapons, possession of controlled drug, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.
The police said that detectives are also investigating the use of flares outside Anfield stadium prior to the game.
"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," police said.
CLASHES BEFORE THE GAME
Clashes erupted between Liverpool and Roma supporters shortly before kick-off.
Around 80 Roma fans are thought to have used a side road to reach an area populated by Liverpool supporters just outside their Anfield stadium.
One man was seen motionless on the road and BBC Sport footage showed another fan carrying a hammer amid reports Roma supporters used belts as weapons.
Sunday Times Football correspondent Jonathan Northcroft tweeted: "Roma fans have just attacked Liverpool supporters with belts, outside the Albert. One guy down getting treatment.
Video footage later emerged on social media showing Roma thugs, dressed in black and with hoods and masks over their faces, carrying out their attack on the Liverpool supporters.
There were also clashes between fans in Liverpool city centre before the match, with the Italians again seen to provoke the incident.
Roma fans also have a history of targeting English supporters in the Italian capital, with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United fans both complaining of assaults during their visits in recent years.
The trouble at Anfield followed disturbing scenes during Liverpool's quarter-final win over Manchester City when fans threw missiles at the visitors' team bus.
To avoid a repeat of those scenes, extra police were drafted in for the Roma match, while tactical road closures kept fans away from the visitors' team bus.
Despite those measures, Liverpool fans still let off flares and smoke bombs, while some climbed on top of police vans.