Liverpool vs. Barcelona: UEFA Champions League Semifinals Leg 2 Preview
With a 3-0 win in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals, Lionel Messi and Barcelona have shown Liverpool who the real boss is. Of course, Liverpool can turn the tables around in the second leg, but they are facing a tall task and high odds of upsetting Barcelona.
Read these takeaways from Nitrogen Sports Blog on the first leg of this matchup and outlook for Liverpool vs. Barcelona leg 2.
Klopp’s change of tactical plans not enough to suppress Messi’s masterful display
Jurgen Klopp did the only thing he could against an opposition lead by Lionel Messi in top form. He took a big chance. He changed his regular starting 11, which altered his tactics.
But, the bold move failed, Barcelona slowly took the Reds apart and Liverpool have a mountain to climb in the second leg.
The Messi vs. Salah derby had one clear winner
Two left-footed magicians with fans all over the world, the Messi – Salah saga is coming to a clear conclusion. In spite of being marked, at times, by as many as four Liverpool players, Messi scored twice and ran riot through the defense.
Salah played well and nearly scored at the tail-end of the game, but wasn’t able to duplicate the role he played in last season’s UCL semifinals matchup against AS Roma.
Suarez scored the opener in the first half, leaving Liverpool playing catch up. With acres of space left by an uninspired defensive line, Lionel Messi was able to pick his spots and find the back of the net twice.
Besides Messi, once again the man of the match, Barcelona’s Suarez, Alba and, especially, Vidal played an impressive game. The Chilean midfielder has gained a lot of critics since joining the Catalans.
Is there any glimmer of hope for Liverpool?
Despite their setback in the first leg of the Barcelona vs Liverpool semis, Liverpool simply can’t be taken lightly. Even by a stacked team like Barcelona. For one, Liverpool is a team brimming with elite talent, too.
On a good day, their attacking crew is capable of devouring defenses. The British side needs to get the best out Salah, Mane and van Dijk, their most influential players.
Of course, beating Barcelona in the second leg is going to be easier said than done. Barcelona are playing one of their best seasons in years. They easily won La Liga and are looking to bag the treble.
Sure, some view Barca as a team made up of Messi and a bunch of other players. However, the team is also defined by players not named Messi.
Manager Ernesto Valverde has assembled a competent, motivated side. Messi played a similar role in Argentina’s 2018 squad that failed in the World Cup.
The difference is the synergy the Argentine has together with his Barcelona teammates. The Catalans are going for gold, and, as history has shown, when Lionel Messi is in top form, there is barely a thing any player can do to stop him.
Lionel Messi showed in the first leg against Liverpool why he is generally considered the best player on the planet. Liverpool will have a steep height to climb if they are to complete a come-from-behind victory and book a spot in the UEFA Champions League finals.
Expect Nitrogen Sports Blog to keep an eye on the semis of the tournament, as we inch closer to the last game of the competition. For those who are just starting to appreciate this tournament, our UEFA Champions League guide should come in handy.