The sides drew 1-1 in normal time before Liverpool edged out Roma on penalties thanks to goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, who famously produced his “spaghetti legs” technique to put off the opposing players.
In anticipation of the semi-final, Liverpool CEO Peter Moore unearthed the club’s scouting reports on Roma ahead of the 1984 final.
Eagerly looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with our old friends @ASRomaEN In anticipation, we went through the archives today and found these gems – scouting reports from Tom Saunders,including recommending Bruce doesn't move his feet on penalties. No mention of his knees pic.twitter.com/B4nkJVQzyc
— Peter Moore (@PeterMooreLFC) April 18, 2018
The reports were produced by Tom Saunders, Liverpool’s Youth Development Officer between 1968 and 1986 and the man who discovered Grobbellar.
Moore posted images of the reports on Twitter, adding: “Eagerly looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with our old friends @ASRomaEN.
“In anticipation, we went through the archives today and found these gems – scouting reports from Tom Saunders, including recommending Bruce [Grobbellar] doesn’t move his feet on penalties. No mention of his knees.”
The titbit on Grobbellar – Saunders suggested the stopper “stands his ground until the kick is taken” – isn’t the only interesting observation in the reports.
Saunders indicated Roma captain Agostino Di Bartolomei usually struck his penalties powerfully to the goalkeeper’s left. Against Liverpool, he found the net by going down the middle.
He also noted Roma striker Roberto Pruzzo “is a good header of the ball.” Indeed, Pruzzo equalised for the Italians in the first half with a looping header.
Liverpool’s goal in normal time came as a result of Roma goalkeeper Franco Tancredi collecting and dropping the ball in his own penalty area. In his report, Saunders called Tancredi “a very volatile goalkeeper ” who had “made mistakes” in past games.
Saunders clearly put a lot of time and research into his scouting. It would be interesting to see other reports on big matches from the past and present to judge how much those methods have changed since 1984.
Liverpool play Roma on Tuesday at Anfield in the first leg of their semi-final, and play the reverse fixture a week later in the Italian capital.