Barcelona are one step into the Champions League finals, thanks to a first half goal from Luis Suarez, and a 15 minute class from Lionel Messi.
Barça have all points in the first leg of the fixture, but it’d be impossible to argue last night featured Liverpool against Lionel Messi – and fortunately for the Camp Nou, the Argentine delivered.
Liverpool were arguably the better side, bar Messi’s 15 minute classic display to end the fixture. The Merseyside reds had everything but Lionel Messi, and kept the Catalans at bay for most part of the fixture.
It was simply not to be. Klopp had everything right, you can’t plan for things like this in advance. There are no pre tactical instructions to trap a talent you can’t measure its outburst.
“Going out for the second half, I don’t know if we can play much better. But they had one moment against the crossbar and then Lionel Messi’s there for an easy goal, and the other one is a wonder strike. It was unsaveble.” Klopp said after the fixture.
Neither manager has a clue how it’s done, as even dear Ernesto Valverade is in the dark too.
Liverpool could almost have done nothing better, except of course, finish a few chances better. Sadio Mane spilled one in the first half, and Salah could only finding the cross-bar late in the second. The Merseyside reds came close a couple of times more, and could have had a better life line heading for the second leg.
In short, Liverpool were by far the better of both teams, but Lionel Messi was the better player, and the difference between a loss and a victory.
Last night, it was an incisive win at the Camp Nou, and now only the Anfield stands between Barcelona and a place on the grand stage of a champion League final, and possibly a trophy to crown it all.