Brendan Rodgers continues the hunt for his maiden European glory, with Jose Mourino’s men waiting to host Leicester City on Thursday evening.
The atmosphere in Rome, especially inside the Stadio Olimpico, will be electrifying. But that would not bother the representatives of the Premier League, as suggested by Rodgers.
Thursday’s Europa Conference League affair anticipates a jaw-dropping second leg encounter between a master of Europe and one with little European success. In all, the game has a greater significance than what you can feel in the air.
The Giallorossi have not won anything since embracing their Coppa Italia title in the 2007–08 season. Leicester have seen some remarkable highs in recent times. Yet, the club awaits their first piece of European silverware.
Both teams have enjoyed a bitter run of results over the last few weeks, with Roma winning just one of their last five games in all competitions.
Leicester’s last win came in the Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg against PSV Eindhoven earlier last month. Since then, a triumph has not crossed their paths. Last weekend, they got rattled by Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur.
The recent form (in the last five matches across all competitions)
Leicester City: L-D-D-D-L
Roma will miss the expertise of Henrikh Mkhitaryan on Thursday night as the Armenian playmaker has been ruled out for the next three weeks due to a muscle injury. Sérgio Oliveira could replace him in the midfield. Other than that, Mourinho should get all his star players fit for the match.
Ryan Bertrand and Wilfred Ndidi will remain sidelined with their respective injuries, but the return to fitness of James Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall could prove to be a massive boost to the Foxes’ confidence. Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes, and Ademola Lookman are all likely to start the game.
Roma (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Oliveira, Zalewski; Pellegrini, Zaniolo; Abraham
Leicester City (4-3-3): Schmeichel; Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Pereira; Maddison, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Barnes, Vardy, Lookman
With Roma managing to salvage a draw from the away leg, the home side would obviously be considered favourites ahead of the match. But, as the away goal is not an advantage anymore in European competitions, Rodgers will be hopeful of stunning the capital on Thursday night.