Barcelona host Liverpool at the Camp Nou for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final encounter on Wednesday night.
Barcelona secured their 26th La Liga title over the weekend, winning 1-0 against Levante. The Catalans now host Liverpool, as they chase the third Treble in the history of the club.
Good news for Barcelona is the fact that they will be able to rest their players between both ties against the English club, while Liverpool remain firmly in the hunt for their first Premier League title in 30 years.
The Merseyside Reds travel to Camp Nou on the back of a 5-0 win over Huddersfield on Friday night. Jurgen Klopp’s side will be looking to book their place in the Champions League final for a second successive year.
Liverpool are on an amazing run of 10 consecutive wins across all competitions, which should be a big confidence boost before their most important game of the season.
Brazilian midfielder Rafinha, who has been sidelined since November is the only guaranteed absentee for Barcelona.
Ernesto Valverde doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns before the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 30, 2019
Liverpool are sweating over the fitness of Roberto Firmino, who missed the game against Huddersfield last Friday.
Midfielders Fabinho and Adam Lallana are also a major doubt for Jurgen Klopp before the Reds’ trip to Barcelona.
What did the managers say
Ernesto Valverde said winning La Liga was fundamental for his Barcelona side.
“Happy because it has been difficult for us. We’ve done it with time to go, we have more challenges this season, but this was fundamental to us,” he said via Barca TV.
“It is a collective triumph and it has been going for many months now. It is not easy to win the competition, even if we did it with time to spare. Now we have to turn to the other attractive challenges until the end of the season”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is not afraid of Camp Nou, saying Barcelona’s stadium is no temple of football.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 30, 2019
“The Camp Nou is just a stadium. It is pretty big, but it is no temple of football,” he said via Goal.
“It had to arrive at some point. You see the other teams who have a bad time when they play there and now we will experience it. Although of course, we hope to play well.”
“If you play against Barcelona, you are certainly not favorites,” he added. “This is a fantastic game for all football supporters.”
Barcelona are in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time since winning their fifth European title four seasons ago, although they have won only two of their last five contests at this stage.
Liverpool are unbeaten at Camp Nou, recording two wins and two draws on their four previous visits.
The last Champions League meeting between these clubs came in the Round of 16 back in 2006-07, with Liverpool progressing on away goals. (Barca 1-2 L’pool at Camp Nou; L’pool 0-1 Barca at Anfield)
🌉 Brooklyn Bridge, NYC! 🇺🇸🍎
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 29, 2019
Barcelona’s home record against English clubs is W21 D11 L2, the two defeats both inflicted by Liverpool.
The Catalans, however, have suffered only one defeat at home during the 2018-19 campaign (3-4 against Betis in November 2018), while their last defeat came in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals against Sevilla back in January.
Liverpool are unbeaten are also unbeaten since January (2-1 to Wolverhampton) – they have played 19 games in all competitions since then.