7th May, 2019
In what promises to be another exciting and explosive soccer match-up, Liverpool will tonight try to upturn a 0-3 deficit as they take on Barcelona at their Anfield base. A mission impossible s far as some people believe.
However, real Liverpool fans will quickly remind you that just last year, AS Roma was in virtually the same position against Barcelona and they were able to dispatch them with a 3-0 routing at this same stage of the competition. So, who says Liverpool cannot do same?
Independent football analysts will however tell you that the chances of Liverpool overcoming Barcelona at this stage are quite minimal.
Firstly, the last year’s debacle in Rome is still very fresh in the minds of the Barcelona players and coach. It is the kind of painful memory that they have found difficult to forget in a hurry. A kind of defeat that could have destroyed the composition of many other teams.
Secondly, it seems even mother luck is not exactly on the side of Liverpool this time around as they keep losing vital players to injury at exactly when they need them most. As if the injury to Firmino even before the first leg was not enough, they have now lost Salah to injury as well.
It remains to be seen how the team’s coach Klopp will attempt to tackle this problem. Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri are his options and there are more than one ways he can make use of them.
Of course, there is also Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, freshly returned from a year-long absence, who had a slight issue during the warm-up at St. James Park. Both he and defender Virgil van Dijk had to train separately on Monday, but their availability to play against Barcelona has been confirmed.
As for Barcelona, they have already won the Spanish league title and they took advantage of the luxury to rest almost the entire team on Saturday at Celta Vigo, consequently losing the game 2-0.
They may have been outplayed in the middle of their own park in the first leg, but they eventually won the game comfortably in the end, mostly due to their vast experience in winning big games, their willingness to do anything to win, and probably most of all – the magic of Messi.
Barcelona have not won the Champions League since 2015 as their arch-rivals Real Madrid won it every time.
Last season, they were in a similar situation to this one in the quarterfinals, when they beat AS Roma by 4-1 at Nou Camp only to lose 3-0 at the Stadio Olympico and stun the football world by bowing out. They will certainly be more wary this time around as they visit Anfield.
On a negative side for them however, the season seems to be over for Ousmane Dembele. The forward suffered a hamstring tear that will likely keep him out of action for three or four weeks. It means Philippe Coutinho is extremely likely to start along with Suarez at their ex home, against their former club.
Even though Liverpool were able to show that they are capable of matching Barcelona’s quality in the first leg, it’s hard to see them coming back. If they had managed to score at least once at Nou Camp the tie would certainly have been much more open.
But as it is, they will have to attack the Catalans from minute one with everything they’ve got, and remains to be seen how much that is without Salah and Firmino.