Arrest made after 'serious assault' ahead of Liverpool's Roma clash

LIVERPOOL: Police have arrested a man following a "serious assault" ahead of Liverpool's Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.

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: "We can confirm a man has been arrested following an assault near to the Albert public house earlier this evening.

"He has been taken to a police station where he will be interviewed by detectives.

"The 53-year-old victim is currently being treated for his injuries."

There were clashes 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.

"The Roma group came out of Venmore Street, and attack was sudden."

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. — AFP