Grobbelaar backs Reds, claims Roma will wobble

LONDON • Bruce Grobbelaar made Roma wobble with his famous "spaghetti legs" antics in the 1984 European Cup final and the former Liverpool goalkeeper has backed his old club to land a knockout blow on the Italians again in the Champions League semi-finals tomorrow.

Liverpool host Roma in the last-four first leg, bringing back memories of Grobbelaar's memorable contribution to their fourth European Cup triumph 34 years ago.

The former Zimbabwe international spent 13 years with the Reds, but his most famous moment came at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

After a 1-1 draw in the final against Roma, Grobbelaar took centre stage in the penalty shoot-out.

When Ian Rush scored Liverpool's fourth spot-kick, it was time for Grobbelaar to produce his party piece, wobbling his legs from side to side and letting his body go limp as if overcome by nerves.

Grobbelaar's ploy paid off when Francesco Graziani missed, giving Liverpool the trophy.

"I made my legs like spaghetti, even the goal looked like spaghetti, so I ate it up. I paralysed Roma," he said.

Grobbelaar is confident Liverpool's current crop - inspired by 41-goal star Mohamed Salah - can emulate that 1984 success.

Salah, who joined Liverpool from Roma last year for £37 million (S$68.2 million), is the key man as the Reds look to make their first Champions League final appearance since 2007 and win the trophy for the first time since 2005.

"Liverpool will win the semi-final and final too. Football was invented by the English, don't forget. Roma must have been mad to sell Mo Salah," said Grobbelaar.

Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco said they were aware of Liverpool's prowess in attack.

"We will have to play very well up front but, at the same time, remain solid at the back. We need to focus on our strength and our tactical belief. We are aware that Liverpool (have) plenty of quality," he told Italian TV's Premium Sport.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2018, with the headline 'Grobbelaar backs Reds, claims Roma will wobble'. Print Edition | Subscribe