1st May, 2019
The die is finally cast for tonight as Barcelona entertains Liverpool at The Nou camp in the first leg match of their Champions League Competition match-up.
This is a match that promises to be highly entertaining as both teams are well known for their attacking style of football. It will not be out of place to envy those fans who actually get to witness this football extravaganza live in the Nou Camp tonight.
Which football fan in his or her right senses will not want to see Lionel Messi take on a Liverpool defence led by no other person than Virgil Van Dijk?
Who will want to miss an opportunity to see how Barcelona’s defence led by the able and reliable Gerard Pique manages to hold the trio of a Sane, Salah and Firmino?
What about the fact that Liverpool will be playing against two of their former stars in persons of Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho who moved on to Barcelona?’ These and other factors make this evening’s game more than just a semi-final match of the Champions League Competition.
Barcelona is in state of cautious high after reclaiming their LaLiga title as a result of a 1-0 win over Levante last weekend with some matches still to play in the competition. A triple-winning season still remains very much on the cards.
As the hosts look to end their four-year wait to lift a European crown, the one man who has continued to spearhead Barcelona’s stellar campaign both domestically and in Europe is five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.
Once again set to reclaim his La Liga Golden Boot and with 13 goals clear of his closest contender, the Argentinian superstar has 10 Champions League strikes to his name and is averaging a goal every 66 minutes.
Apart from winning their last three European outings on the bounce, Valverde’s side also hold a very commanding record at the Nou Camp. They are unbeaten in their last 31 Champions League outings and have conceded just 15 goals in those 31 games, and never more than once in a match.
On a positive note for Barcelona, they have no major injury concerns and Valverde is likely to have to chose between fielding former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele, both of whom are available.
In the case of Liverpool, they may have seen Manchester City leapfrog them into pole position in the Premier League title race but Jurgen Klopp’s side are enjoying a very bright end to the season. They presently sit two points adrift of the Sky Blues, having won their last 10 matches across all competitions and have scored two or more goals in each of those victories.
They successfully picked up a morale-boosting 5-0 win over an already relegated Huddersfield last weekend and the former Borussia Dortmund boss will be looking for his side to carry on their recent European performances outside of Merseyside.
Even though they have endured a run that saw them lose five consecutive Champions League matches away from Anfield, Liverpool have picked up back-to-back victories over Bayern Munich and Porto.
However, as Barcelona have one attacking talisman enjoying another impressive campaign, Liverpool have their own forward enjoying a purple patch. Despite Mohamed Salah refinding his form, Senegal international Sadio Mane has now bagged four in his last four and has three in his last three Champions League matches.
As it stands presently, Liverpool have concerns over Roberto Firmino, who missed the Friday night win over Huddersfield, although the club hope to have him back for Wednesday. Fabinho also missed Friday’s game, but could return as well at the Camp Nou.