Shocking video footage and images have emerged of Liverpool fans being attacked with belts outside Anfield on a night marred by violent scenes.
Shocking moment Liverpool fans are attacked with belts outside Anfield before Roma match
It comes as two men from Rome were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a 53-year-old Liverpool fan was attacked and left in a critical condition ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final against Roma .
Ten minutes before kick-off up to 20 Roma fans reportedly burst onto Walton Breck Road near the ground before whipping fans with belts outside The Albert pub.
Witnesses said that one of the fans was armed with a hammer.
Video footage posted on social media, in which a group of hooded men attack one man while another lies on the ground nearby, appears to show part of the incident.
Sunday Times football journalist Jonathan Northcroft took to Twitter after scenes turned violent on Tuesday night.
Fans on top of a police van before the match (PA)
He wrote: “Roma fans have just attacked Liverpool supporters with belts, outside the Albert. About 20. One guy down getting treatment.”
He added: “The Roma group came out ofVenmoreSt, and attack was sudden. Picked an older Liverpool fan and attacked him.
"A lot of police around but they were slow on the scene. Poor guy is still down. Horrible stuff.”
BBC Sport reporter David Ornstein also appeared to witness the scenes.
He said on Twitter: “Pre-match trouble outside Anfield started when group of Roma fans arrived via Venmore St, burst on to Walton Breck Rd & attacked, many using belts. #LFC fan knocked to floor & received lengthy medical treatment. Skirmishes, projectiles, at least 1 hammer in hand, police arrived.”
The man left fighting for his life isbeing treated for his injuries at Walton Neurological Centre, Merseyside Police said.
Liverpool Football Club said it was "shocked and appalled" by the incident and urged fans and those who attended the game to help Merseyside Police with their appeal for information.
Mounted police escort a coach carrying the Liverpool team before kickoff (AFP/Getty Images)
Detective Inspector Paul Speight, said: "We believe the victim was in Liverpool with his brother for the Liverpool v Roma semi-final and was assaulted during an altercation between Roma and Liverpool fans near to the Albert pub at about 7.35pm.
"Witnesses report that the victim was hit with a belt and then fell to the ground.
"Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken by ambulance to Walton Neurological Centre, where he is being treated for a head injury. His condition is currently described as critical and his next of kin have been informed."
The Liverpool fan's alleged assailants, aged 25 and 26, were among nine men aged between 20 and 43 who were arrested for various offences before and after the match.
The offences included affray, assault, possession of offensive weapons, possession of a controlled drug, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.
Anyone with information or mobile phone footage of the disorder was urged to contact police.
Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent Dave Charnock said: "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.
"And I would appeal to anyone who has any information, or mobile phone footage, in relation to any of these incidents to contact us."
In a statement, Liverpool FC said: "(We are) shocked and appalled after a Liverpool supporter was left in a critical condition having been attacked prior to the Champions League fixture against AS Roma .
"Our thoughts, in the first instance, are with the victim and his family at this very traumatic time. We will be offering them our full support."
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