Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool - Lionel Messi masterclass leaves The Reds with a mountain to climb! - Match Review

in #liverpool5 years ago

Enjoying their best ever Premier League season, Liverpool came into this tie full of confidence that they could match any side in the world and make it through to the Champions League final once again. Defeating Barcelona was always going to be a gigantic challenge but now with half of the tie complete, even the most optimistic supporter's hopes of them achieving back to back finals will be low. It was a hard fought game and Liverpool did better than the 3-0 scoreline may suggest but a former Kop idol and two goals from possibly the greatest player of all time sank Liverpool on their trip to Spain leaving them with a mountain to climb if they want to progress to the final this season.


Coming into the game there were question marks over Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino, two of Liverpool's most important players. While Van Dijk overcame his knock and was named in the starting lineup Firmino would only feature from the bench, a worrying sign for Liverpool fans as if he was fit he surely would have started. Jurgen Klopp made a few changes from the side who smashed Huddersfield 5-0 ahead of this game, some expected such as recalling Fabinho but his other decisions raised eyebrows. Joe Gomez came into the side to play right-back ahead of Trent Alexander Arnold, while Gomez has played there many times before and is considered stronger defensively he has only played 30 minutes of first team action spread over 3 games since returning from a lengthy spell out with a broken leg. Captain Jordan Henderson who has been utilised more offensively as of late and has been involved in creating several goals since the switch was also left out of the team, replaced by James Milner to play in midfield alongside Fabinho and Keita. Gini Wijnaldum was moved from midfield to fill in for Firmino in the attacking trio playing in the number 9 position with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane either side.

Barca lined up with the two former Liverpool players Phillipe Coutinho and Luis Suarez joining Lionel Messi in a front three. Sergio Busquets played in the deep role with Rakitic and Vidal joining him in the midfield. Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto were fullbacks through the 4-3-3 system they set up as would often change into a 3-4-3 with those moving up and playing more offensively while Busquets dropped back and played as a defender.


The game started off well for Liverpool, they seemed to have Barcelona's defence panicking unable to deal with the constant pressure. In the early moments of the game, Liverpool took possession in the middle and launched short counter attacks a couple of which nearly came off but Sadio Mane who most seemed to fall to couldn't find the finishing touch. While there was always a constant threat that Barca could turn it on at any moment things were looking good for Liverpool who seemed to be in control of the game, then on the 20th minute Naby Keita fell to the ground signalling he had injured his groin and would be unable to continue. It was a shame as Keita had been doing well up to this point breaking up the Barca play before they had a chance to string anything together, he was replaced by Jordan Henderson.

Shortly after this change, Barca struck and it was Luis Suarez who got the goal. A few years ago every time Suarez stuck the ball into the back of the net was a moment of elation for Liverpool fans but now he was playing against them and it stunned them into silence. It was a well-taken goal by the former Red, the ball was switched over to Coutinho on the left wing and he cut it back for Jordi Alba. The left-back took a touch to control it and then played in a low cross which caught out Joel Matip and was tucked away by Suarez who came sliding in at close range. Despite falling a goal behind Liverpool responded well continuing to play as they were before the goal. Before the half came to an end they would get one more chance. A ball was played over the top from deep by Joe Gomez and Mane made the ideal run to get on the end of it inside the Barca penalty area, it seemed for all the world he would place it past Ter Stegen but the Liverpool striker hit it over the bar.


After the half time break Liverpool once again came out strongly and for 25 minutes or so they seemed to dominate the game, they were able to continually dispossess Barca in midfield and then attack in waves. Chances fell to Wijnaldum, Milner, Salah and Mane but no Liverpool player could keep the ball either on target or away from Ter Stegen. Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde responded to the pressure by bringing off Coutinho and adding another defender in Semedo to help protect his sides lead.

The changes had the desired effect and in a 4-4-2 formation with Semedo at right back with Roberto in front of him for protection Liverpool's attacks down the left were much easy for them to handle. Messi was able to gain more influence and around the 75th he'd score Barca's second of the game. Messi picked up the ball and dribbled it for a few yards which drew Liverpool's players towards him as it had always taken several of them to stop him. Once they were all close to him he casually played it forward and the ball made it's way to Suarez in the box in acres of space, he struck a shot which beat Allison but hit the crossbar. Messi reacted quickest of those on the scene and collected it as it rebounded off the frame of the goal where he gathered it to his chest and walked it in over the line.


Following the goal, Barca was in full control and seemed to be on the hunt to try and kill the tie off, on the 82nd minute they grabbed the 3rd goal with a sensational free-kick from Lionel Messi. Very few other players in the world would have even attempted to take the shot on as it seemed too far away and too central. None of that mattered to Messi though who stepped up with one intention and smashed the ball precisely into the top corner from at least 35-yards out leaving Allison helpless to stop it. Anybody with any doubts who the greatest player in the world is got a prime example of just who stupidly talented Messi is and why for me, he is number 1.

Liverpool went down fighting and towards the end of the game Mo Salah had the chance to pull a goal back when the ball dropped to him inside the penalty area, it seemed like an easy finish but the Liverpool forward placed it against the post. Liverpool will not give up and may still believe they can pull off yet another European fightback but an away goal would have made it much more likely. They failed to score though and now have to take on Barca at Anfield knowing they have to win by at least 3 and cannot afford to give them a single goal, an extremely tough proposition but it has been done before. In the meantime, Liverpool will need to dust themselves off and focus on Saturday where they recommence their hunt for the Premier League title against Newcastle.


Messi was the difference between the two teams

For sure, when he is at his best it is almost impossible to stop him.

Such a great match it was and hard luck for the Liverpool fans. But yet they still have hope on winning 4 goals to nil in the 2nd league. Huh.. I always just watch them say this and only tell them one phrase that's "the field will tell soon.
Congratulations to the Barcelona fans and I hope they prove Liverpool wrong in the 2nd league for me. You did great with your review and I know we might meet again after the second league.
Good piece and keep the review spirit up always

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I still can't believe they lost 3.0 when they had so many opportunities. Liverpool still need a few extra players who have class and you can rely on them.Mane had a terrible miss in front of goal and should of at least forced a save from the keeper keeping it on target. I think they can do well in the second leg, but the horse may have already bolted.

Yes, I am hoping whether they end up winning the league or not this season they add another quality striker to the ranks.

I am not completely giving up hope for the 2nd leg but it's a big ask, had they scored at least 1 away goal I would have been much more confident.

Saying that, if Liverpool scores early at Anfield the place will go nuts.

Hi jclark,

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It was always going to be a big ask going to Barcelona.

Messi is still on the top, despite the fact of the huge shitstorm above his head after releasing a scandal with taxes. How huge you have to be, to challenge everything, including governments and own mindset, and at the end win everything.
And speaking about the post, I am just missing here a short footage with highlights of the game - some worst/best actions and goals. beside of that, article is just great.

Messi is certainly a phenomenon, as you say he has a lot more going on than just football yet is still capable of performing miles above anyone else.

Thank you for the kind words, I have thought about posting highlights of the game. They are available online elsewhere.

I am a big Messi fan and my heart is still with him no matter what I hear about him :L

Heyy there @jclard, I see another nice review from you!
I watched the game, and I was cheering for Liverpool. Unfortunately the third magnificent goal of Messi made the things a lot more complex and difficult for Liverpool.

Unbelievable that the guys couldn't score a goal in the second half. They were so close, but in the end Barcelona did score with the few chances they had in the second half.

I am wondering what Liverpool can do the next match, but I am afraid this 3-0 can't be fixed :( We will see...

In the Premier League City is also doing a great job by not losing any points in the last games. Liverpool deserves to win a price this season, but it doesn't look very well on both Premier League and Champions League.

Still it is a very amusing season!

I'm not a football fan and know very little about it but I know Messi. The truth is, no matter if you're a fan or not, unless you're living under the rock, you can't escape hearing his name. i believe he's a great player and it takes a lot of self control to perform very well while you're dealing with a lot of problems.
Nice blog, congratulations.

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