Roma began the second half of the season in much of the same manner as they began the first, with a completely dominating performance. Francesco Totti, Alessandro Florenzi, Radja Nainggolan & Maicon began the match from the bench while Daniele De Rossi, Leandro CastÃ¡n & Adem LjajiÄ all returned from suspension. Despite being unbeaten away to Roma in nearly eight years, Livorno's run of seven consecutive away defeats this season continued in Rome.
In a lot of ways, this match mirrored last week's fixture against Genoa. Livorno, joint bottom of the table with Bologna, were given little and did even less. They never threatened, giving Morgan De Sanctis another cleansheet where he did not have to make a single save. The highlight of the night for the visitors was limited to former Roma player, Leandro Greco's roulette in the opening minutes. It ended there because it was only moments later that Mattia Destro was heading over to his favourite corner flag for that familiar dance we all know and love. Mattia's movement was a constant threat for much of the evening, having scored four goals in seven since returning from injury.
Roma's performance was at its brightest from the half hour mark to the half time break. In a span of a little under ten minutes, Roma fired seven shots towards Livorno's goal, the final being Kevin Strootman's clean up goal on Destro's chip that was blocked. Mattia put the ball into the net again just before half, but it was called back for Leandro CastÃ¡n being in an offside position. The second half was largely the same, but with perhaps not as much dominance from Roma. I think it's fair to say there was a collective sigh of relief amongst all romanisti along with Adem LjajiÄ himself, when he finally got the goal his performance deserved.
Adem LjajiÄ - He looked energized this evening, perhaps rested from sitting out last week's victory over Genoa. His give & go with Destro before assisting on Mattia's opening goal was just the beginning of a heavily involved match for Adem. He continued to threaten all match, before eventually getting his goal.
Mattia Destro - He has yet to play a full ninety minutes in Serie A this season, but it hasn't been able to keep him from catching up with the team leaders in goal tallies. His movement was on full display today, despite Livorno playing with three centre-backs. He could have scored two, three, maybe even four goals in the first half alone but a combination of good keeping, goal line clearance and an offside call kept him at one.
Kevin Strootman - Kevin is always a big part of any Roma match and he was able to get his fifth goal of the season today, joining Florenzi & Benatia as club top scorers. It was fitting that he scored on Destro's goal line saved chip, as he was the one who sent Mattia in on goal in the first place.
Daniele De Rossi - Although De Rossi didn't show up in the major statistical categories, he ran the show today. He led the match in tackles and passes, showing his worth on both ends of the pitch. He created a great chance for Destro in the first half, but birthday boy Bardi was able to push it away. He was so intimidating that his aura caused Greco to run into Paulinho, resulting in them both tumbling to the ground. Daniele was given a foul on the play.
Fly in the Ointment
If there's one thing that needs to be pointed out, it is the obvious fact that for as many chances that Roma created, the finishing was borderline dreadful. In a 3-0 victory these misses are much less consequential and painful to watch. But in a match against a better side, or the best side (that we happen to face on Tuesday), they can decide a match. We've seen time and again how not being able to find a goal can give a much inferior side the confidence to hold out for the remainder of a match. And we've also seen how not putting away a chance can lead to an entirely different result. This isn't a new problem, but one that will catch up to Roma if it wants to remain at the top of the table.
Who's Your Man of The Match?
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Daniele De Rossi