STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Mo Salah: Liverpool star faces emotional return to Roma

No sooner had Mohamed Salah crushed Manchester City's Champions League dreams this week, the messages between Liverpo...

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 3:08 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2018 3:08 PM

No sooner had Mohamed Salah crushed Manchester City's Champions League dreams this week, the messages between Liverpool and Rome went into overdrive.

Those exchanges are now likely to be put on hold with Liverpool star Salah being pitted against his former employer, Roma, in the semifinal of the Champions League.

Speaking to CNN ahead of the draw, Salah said he had already been messaging his former teammates, offering his congratulations after Roma's astonishing victory over Barcelona.

But while he holds good memories of Rome and speaks fondly of his old team, he says Liverpool were the club his friends in Italy wanted to avoid in the final four.

"They've all said: 'We don't want to play against Liverpool,'" Salah told CNN International in an exclusive interview.

"It would be nice to go back to Rome, it's my old club. I love the fans there and they love me too.

"I still talk to most of the players there. We were very close to each other and we are good friends.

"Of course, I have happy memories. We played together for two years and were fighting together in all the games. We had a good time in the dressing room. "

READ: 'There's something very special about Liverpool,' says Salah

'Unbelievable'

Salah spent two years playing in Serie A with Roma, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances last season before joining Liverpool last June for a then club-record fee of $49 million.

While progressing to the Champions League final is Salah's primary concern, he can't wait to see one former colleague in particular at the Serie A club.

"Totti," Salah says with a smile, referring to Francesco Totti, who retired from football last May after a career spanning 24 years at Roma, the only club he played for and where he's revered by the fans.

"He is amazing, unbelievable," says Salah. "He has everything. I love him. I have a good relationship with him, he's very nice."

READ: Was Ronaldo's overhead kick the best goal ever?

READ: Agonizing for Juventus

Goals, goals, and more goals

While Salah may not have reached that point of adulation at Anfield quite yet, his recent exploits have led to him becoming one of the most popular players the club has seen for years.

The winger has scored 39 goals so far this campaign, 29 of those coming in the league to leave him on the brink of securing the coveted golden boot.

On Friday, the 25-year-old became the first ever player to be awarded with the Premier League player of the month award for a third time in the same season.

READ: Buffon: Referee has 'garbage bin' for heart

He has scored seven goals in his past four games in all competitions, and is determined to lead Liverpool past Roma, the team it defeated in the 1984 European Cup final.

Real Madrid, the 12-times winner, remains favorite for the competition, though its opponent, Bayern Munich, will be confident of springing a surprise after the Spanish giant only just scraped through to the last four.

But if Liverpool can overcome Roma, could it win the competition for a sixth time?

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news and features

"We can, we are in the semifinal," Salah said. "I always say that we take it step-by-step but we are in the semifinal, everything can happen.

"Everyone went into the quarterfinal with this emotion that we have to win, we can do it. Now with the semifinal, it's two games to the last step."

In the semifinal first leg Liverpool will host Roma at Anfield on April 24, with the return at the Stadio Olimpico in Italy's capital on May 2.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Columbus
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 82°
Oxford
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 86°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 86°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather