LIVERPOOL, England — Merseyside Police have confirmed that two men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a 53-year-old man was left in critical condition prior to Liverpool’s Champions League match with Roma on Tuesday.
The injured man was seriously assaulted near Anfield on Tuesday evening during an altercation between both sets of supporters, police say.
Two men from Rome, aged 25 and 26, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and have been taken to a police station, where they will be interviewed by detectives.
Merseyside Police’s chief superintendent Dave Charnock said in a statement: “The vast majority of the 52,500 fans attending the game were well behaved and went to watch a good game of football.
— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) April 24, 2018
“However, a minority of fans from both Liverpool and Roma were involved in isolated pockets of disorder in the city centre and near to the ground.
“During one incident a 53-year-old man, believed to be a Liverpool fan, was assaulted near to the ground during what is believed to have been an altercation between Roma and Liverpool fans.
“He is currently being treated for his injuries at Walton Neurological Centre, where his condition is described as critical.”
Liverpool also released a statement saying they were “shocked and appalled” to learn a supporter had been left in such a condition.
“Our thoughts, in the first instance, are with the victim and his family at this very traumatic time,” the club added. “We will be offering them our full support.
“The club has been liaising with the emergency services since the incident occurred and will continue to do so.
“Liverpool FC directs supporters and those in attendance at the game to Merseyside Police’s appeal for information.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 24, 2018
In total, nine males were arrested before and after Tuesday’s match for offences that included attempted murder, affray, assault, possession of offensive weapons, possession of a controlled drug, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.
Meanwhile, Merseyside Police say they are also investigating the use of flares outside the stadium prior to kickoff.
Charnock continued: “A number of those in the crowd that had gathered to greet the Liverpool team coach were in possession of flares and work is ongoing to identify those responsible and to establish if offences have been committed under the Fireworks Regulation Act 2004 or Section 80 of the Explosives Act 1875.
“We will be reviewing CCTV footage, our own body worn camera footage and working with the club to identify those involved in any of these incidents so we can put them before the courts.”
After throwing objects to damage the Manchester City bus ahead of the quarterfinals, Liverpool fans again took to the streets ahead of the first leg of the semifinals against Roma.
The Italian side’s bus was diverted away from where fans gathered on Anfield Road, but fans still gathered atop police vans and let off flares for their own team.
Police were on alert around the stadium, filming the scenes to catch any revellers who crossed a line.
After the incident against Manchester City, UEFA charged Liverpool with acts of damage and crowd disturbances after cans and bottles were thrown at the bus as it drove along Anfield Road. The case will be heard after the season.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had asked fans to behave ahead of the semifinal against Roma.
UEFA condemned the attack and said they are “waiting to receive full reports before deciding on potential disciplinary charges.”
“UEFA is deeply shocked by the vile attack that occurred ahead of the Liverpool FC vs. AS Roma match and our thoughts are with the victim and his family,” a UEFA statement read.
“The perpetrators of this ignominious attack have no place in and around football and we trust they will be dealt with [in the] utmost severity by the authorities.”
Roma also released a statement in which they said they condemned “in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent behaviour of a small minority of travelling fans who brought shame on the club and the vast majority of Roma’s well-behaved supporters at Anfield after getting involved in clashes with Liverpool supporters before last night’s fixture.
“There is no place for this type of vile behavior in football and the club is now cooperating with Liverpool Football Club, UEFA and the authorities.
“The club’s thoughts and prayers are with the 53-year-old Liverpool fan in hospital and his family at this time.”
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