Anfield needs to provide a miracle for Liverpool in Champions League second leg

Tuesday, 2019-05-07 07:02:45
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Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (left) challenges Rhian Brewster, who could make a first-team debut against Barcelona, during a team training session at Melwood. (Photo: EPA)
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Liverpool face a daunting task on Tuesday night when they look to overturn a 3-0 first leg defeat against FC Barcelona and qualify for their second Champions League final in two years.

Liverpool fans will hope that the 'magical' atmosphere of their Anfield Stadium can do its job once again and that the luck which turned its back on them a week ago in Barcelona shifts in their favor, but it looks like an uphill struggle.

Liverpool created five good chances in the Camp Nou but failed to take any of them and were punished by three moments of Barcelona magic in attack as Luis Suarez and Leo Messi, showed why they are the most dangerous strike partnership in the world.

Messi was once again the best player on the pitch and his 30-yard free kick which made it 3-0 illustrated the difference he makes time and again for his side.

Messi and Suarez were rested by Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde on Saturday night in their 2-0 defeat away to Celta Vigo.

The fact Barcelona had assured their eighth Liga Santander title in the last 11 years the previous weekend allowed Valverde the luxury of changing his entire starting 11 from Wednesday's win against Liverpool and players such as Messi, Suarez, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets didn't even get on the plane.

They will all be rested and fresh for the visit to Liverpool, where they face a rival that was unable to make any concessions away to Newcastle United as they chase their first Premier League title in 30 years.

Liverpool had to dig deep against Newcastle and it wasn't until the 86th minute that Divock Origi gave them three vital points, but those efforts could take their toll on Tuesday.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed after the game that Roberto Firmino will miss Tuesday's game and the rest of the season with a groin injury, while Mohamed Salah is a major doubt after being stretchered off with a head injury following a collision with Newcastle goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka.

Naby Keita is also out for Liverpool with the groin injury he suffered in the Camp Nou, while Barca lost Ousmane Dembele to a hamstring injury on Saturday.

Liverpool will hope for an early goal to put the pressure on Barcelona, but everyone knows a goal for Barca will leave them needing to score five.

Barcelona won't have forgotten how last season they saw a 4-1 first leg advantage overturned by Roma, but a year ago they didn't have the luxury of giving Messi a week's rest between matches.

Xinhua