ROME — Authorities in Rome sealed off some of the city's most famous monuments to protect them from vandalism as thousands of Liverpool fans gathered in the city center Wednesday ahead of a Champions League match.
Concerns of fan violence surrounded the match after two men from Rome were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an assault outside the stadium before the first leg in Liverpool.
Protective barriers were put up around the Trevi Fountain as well as the Fountain of the Barcaccia in front of the Spanish Steps. The latter was damaged by Feyenoord fans ahead of a Europa League match three years ago.
Meanwhile, supporters of both clubs met at Rome's City Hall to condemn violence and express solidarity with Sean Cox, the Liverpool supporter who was injured in the clashes last week. During the event, fans held up signs saying "Forza Sean" — "Go Sean."
"Football is important, we all love football. I think Rome and Liverpool share that as a passion but what happened last week is hugely over the line. That's not about football," said Gareth Roberts, editor of the Liverpool magazine The Anfield Wrap.
There were no signs of trouble hours before the match as the English fans gathered in designated fan zones at a cobblestone piazza in Rome's historic center and near the Coliseum.
"Roma fans are fine," Liverpool supporter Kevin Blair said. "There's a small number of idiots, but mostly they are very good guys. ... It's the same with any club, everyone has their problems."
Shuttle buses were set to carry thousands of Liverpool fans from the city center to the stadium, where they would be picked up again after the match.
"Under no circumstances should supporters attempt to walk to the Stadio Olimpico," Liverpool said in advice to its fans in Rome.