A Liverpool has been ‘attacked with a metal pole’ in Rome ahead of the Reds’ crucial Champions League semi-final second leg with Roma.
Over 5,000 supporters are expected to travel to the Italian capital for the clash over the next 24 hours, with plenty starting to jet into the historic city.
Jurgen Klopp’s men take on the Serie A side on Wednesday night – as the Merseyside club boast a 5-2 advantage after the first leg – former Roma winger Mo Salah bagged a brace, with Roberto Firmino also scored twice alongside Sadio Mane.
Liverpool fan Sean Cox remains in intensive care after being attacked ahead of the first leg in England.
And with over 24 hours before the second leg, Carl Johnson, from Prescot, says that he was attacked with a metal bar while walking back to his hotel with his friend Peter Saunders, 29, at around 10.30 last night after leaving The Drunken Ship Pub, as originally reported by the Liverpool Echo.
So far it appears to be an isolated incident, and fans in Rome have reported a ‘great’ atmosphere with no violence so far.
Neither Peter or Carl were wearing anything which could identify them as Liverpool supporters and at this point it is not clear whether the attack was football related.
Carl told the Liverpool Echo: “We came out of the pub at around 10.30. Not many Liverpool fans were out so the two of us were on the way back to the hotel.
“We got a few hundred yards from the hotel which is on Violo Del Gallo and two scooters came out of nowhere. The two passengers on the back got off and attacked us, one had a small metal bar.
“We tried to fight back but the drivers got off. We ran off.”
Luckily for Carl, he received only minor bruising from the incident, however he contacted the ECHO in the hope of warning other fans to stay safe and in large groups.
He added: “We were wearing no LFC colours or clothing. We both had jeans and dark coloured jackets.
“I would just like to warn people to stay in numbers. It seems like the only way these cowards don’t attack.”
Despite the incident, Carl and Peter have said there’s a “great” atmosphere in Rome, and that the vast majority of fans have been polite and friendly.
Speaking from near Rome’s famous Trefi Fountain, they told the ECHO: “We’re at the Trefi Fountain now, hundreds of Liverpool fans are having a sing song. All the locals today have been great going out of their way to speak to Reds.
“So far today, it’s been all good from what I’ve seen.”
Earlier this month the club issued important safety and security advice for anyone travelling to Rome.
Following talks with the Italian authorities on Friday, the Reds have now been provided with information about meeting points, transport to and from the Stadio Olimpico and ticket checks.
Supporters have been warned that drinking alcohol on the streets of Rome will be prohibited and not to hang banners or scarves on monuments of national importance such as foundations and statues.
They have been also recommended to stay away from areas where ‘ambushes and severe beatings’ have occurred in the past.
These include, Duca d’Aosta (Duke of Aosta) bridge, which crosses the Tiber towards Roma’s ground, the Olympic Stadium, and key squares in the city centre.
Rome police chief Giampietro Lionetti said: “There is a lot of history between the two sets of fans, and it will be our job to keep them all safe.”