Barcelona put one foot in the Champions League final by recording a 3-0 first leg victory over Liverpool at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. Even with a second leg to come at Anfield on Tuesday night, the Merseysider’s have a mountain to climb to recover the tie. In truth, Liverpool gave a spirited display, but in the end, as so often Lionel Messi made the difference for the Catalan giants.
Barcelona produce heavy victory
The visitors were in the tie for much of the clash. However, the home side took until the 26th minute, as Luis Suarez poked home from close-range after a pinpoint Jordi Alba cross dissected the Liverpool defence. The former Reds striker did hide his delight at scoring against his former employers.
At the other end of the pitch, Sadio Mane fired over the bar from 15 yards out. The visitors started the second half the stronger of the two teams. In fact, Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen had to produce two saves from James Milner, while also keeping a low effort from Mohamed Salah.
The home side doubled their lead against the run of play with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Luis Suarez effort smashed into the bar, only for Messi to follow in and fire into an empty net from close range after taking a touch.
Messi doubled his tally with eight minutes left on the clock. Brazilian midfielder Fabinho fouled the forward 30 yards out. The Argentinian star then proceeded to curled home a sublime pinpoint effort into the top corner of Alisson’s goal.
Substitute Roberto Firmino saw an effort cleared off the line by Gerard Pique before Mohamed Salah somehow fired the rebound against the post. The home side could have sealed the tie late on with Liverpool looking for an away goal, as Ousmane Dembele missed a guilt-edge chance.
Messi virtually unstoppable on current form
If Barcelona were going to get past Liverpool in this tie, then it was inevitable that Lionel Messi would have a big bearing on the results. Quite simply, he is the best player on the planet right now.
Liverpool managed to keep the diminutive forward quiet for 75 minutes. However, it seems impossible to stop him for 90 minutes on current form. It would be highly surprising if he does not add to his goal tally Anfield. Messi has now scored 600 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and just keeps adding to his list of accolades and records.
Liverpool need to bounce back quickly
While Barcelona have already sealed the Spanish top-flight title, so can afford to rest players for their weekend clash with Celta Vigo this weekend. However, Liverpool have no such luxury for their potentially tricky trip to Newcastle on Saturday evening.
The result in the Nou Camp must have been a kick in the gut for the Reds. However, Klopp’s team need to dust themselves down and picked themselves up quickly, as that Newcastle game could be the deciding factor in whether they can overthrow leaders Manchester City or not in the Premier League title race.
Is the tie over before the second leg at Anfield?