Match Preview: Liverpool vs Barcelona

Barcelona visit Liverpool with a comfortable three-goal advantage for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final encounter with the Reds.

Lionel Messi magic put Barcelona in command of the semi-final, guiding the Catalans to a 3-0 victory at Camp Nou last week.

The Catalans travel to Anfield, knowing an away goal could be enough to book their place in the final, as Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho return to Anfield.

Liverpool secured a vital 3-2 win at Newcastle on Friday, putting the pressure on Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Team news

Mohamed Salah suffered a head injury at St James’ Park over the weekend, and is a major doubt for the Reds, as he needs to wait for a further assessment to discover the extent of it.

Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino is officially out of the game against Barca, while midfielders Naby Keita and Adam Lallana also remain sidelined.

Ousmane Dembele suffered a hamstring tear at Celta Vigo on Saturday, which will keep him out of the Champions League clash with the Reds.

Rafinha has been out of action since November after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament and will not return until next term, Valverde having no further casualties to account for.

What did the managers say

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes his team has had a successful season, even if they fail to win a trophy at the end.

“A lot of supporters from other clubs will be happy if we fail. They’re still behind us [in the table], apart from Man City. It’s all okay, really,” Klopp said via Goal.

“At the very beginning when I came to Liverpool, I realized this club has to do it the hard way, so we’ll do it the hard way. That’s how it is because luck is not constantly with us.

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“It’s not like, ‘wow, again!’ We have to really work for it and the boys are ready and the whole club is ready for that. I was not sure against Newcastle if we could do it, but we did it. I’m absolutely proud.

“Whatever happens, it will be a very, very successful season and I’m pretty sure that all our supporters can see it like this.”

Ernesto Valverde said the tie is still open after the 3-0 victory over the Reds last Wednesday.

“Last year we went in the quarter-finals with three goals [against Roma] and they came back to us. The tie is open, there is no reason to trust us,” Valverde said via Express.

“It is clear that they have pressed us and that we have suffered to keep a clean sheet, but it is also true that we have managed to do so.

“The match has been matched, there have been minutes in which they have been better and minutes in which we have been better. They have the capacity to make us suffer, us and anyone.”

Stats

This will be the 10th clash between these two European giants, with the record perfectly balanced at three wins apiece.

Barcelona suffered their first defeat since January at Celta Vigo on Saturday night, as Ernesto Valverde opted to rest some of his starts for the upcoming trip to Anfield.

Liverpool have also lost only one game since January – it was the 3-0 defeat in the first leg of the semi-finals with the Catalans last week.

This is going to be Barcelona’s third trip to England this season, as the Catalans won 1-0 against Manchester United and 4-2 against Tottenham earlier in the competition.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are brilliant at home this season. They’ve won 19 of the 23 games so far, losing only to Chelsea in the EFL Cup back in September.

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