Radja Nainggolan admits he is looking forward to seeing his old teammate Mohamed Salah on Tuesday – but admits facing Liverpool represents the hardest possible semi-final opponent for Roma.
The two sides lock horns for a place in the Champions League final, with the first leg at Anfield on Tuesday evening.
The opponents met in the 1984 European Cup final and the 2018 edition has added spice with Salah having left Roma for Liverpool in a bargain £36.9million deal last summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have blasted 33 goals en route to the semi-finals, averaging out at 3.3 goals per game. And Nainggolan is all too aware of the task in hand against the five-times champions.
“I wasn’t happy with the draw, because in my view Liverpool were the toughest team out of the three,” said Nainggolan, with Bayern Munich facing Real Madrid in the other semi-final.
“It’s not that they have more quality than Real Madrid or Bayern, but they put a lot of hard work in and have nothing to lose. Real and Bayern might’ve underestimated Roma, but Liverpool are warriors, a bit like us.”
Discussing the reunion with Salah, Nainggolan admits there has been plenty of banter between the two sides following the quarter-finals.
“I spoke to Salah and he couldn’t believe we’d beaten Barcelona either,” the Belgium midfielder said. “He was joking on Instagram that we’ll never hear the end of Kostas Manolas saying he scored the winning goal.
“In all seriousness, it’ll be nice to see Momo again, we had a good rapport. He’s a good guy, sweet and respectful, as well as being an excellent player.
“I am not surprised by his success at Liverpool, as he always had the quality. The only difference now is perhaps he’s got more opportunities and also learned to keep a cool head in front of goal. I’m a fan of his.”
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