Lionel Messi chalked up 600 strikes for Barcelona as the Blaugrana put one foot in the Champions League final with a 3-0 win over Liverpool at the Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.
Ex-Reds’ striker Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 26th minute as he stabbed home Jordi Alba’s teasing cross. Despite an impressive Liverpool performance, Messi doubled the lead after the break with a fortunate strike. The Argentine was on the scoresheet yet again in the closing stages with an absolutely unbelievable free-kick for his milestone strike and ensure Barca have a comfortable lead heading to Anfield for the second-leg
Former hero strikes against the Reds
Jurgen Klopp’s men started extremely well at the Camp Nou and had early shouts for a penalty as Sadio Mane looked as though he was shoved by Gerard Pique. However, the referee was unmoved. Their evening was hampered midway through the first period as Naby Keita was replaced by Jordan Henderson due to injury.
The hosts took advantage of that straight away as former Reds’ striker Suarez, opened the scoring. The Uruguayan’s darting run was excellently picked out by Jordi Alba’s brilliant, low-cross and he stretched to poke the ball beyond Alisson for his first goal in the Champions League this season.
Liverpool dominate the chances
Despite falling behind, the visitors still remained in an entertaining game and probably should have been level before the break. Henderson’s ball in behind found the run of Mane, putting him one-on-one with ter Stegen. On his weaker right-foot, he could only blaze the ball high over the crossbar.
Much like the first-half, Liverpool resumed well and could have been level but for a flying save from ter Stegen to deny a curling strike from Milner. Mo Salah also did brilliantly to wriggle free and force a sprawling stop out of the German.
The visitors continued to create opportunities and Milner was probably guilty of spurning the best of them. Salah drove into the box and cut the ball back to Gini Wijnaldum. The Dutchman dummied the ball, setting Milner up for a great strike but he could only put the ball once again at the goalkeeper.
Messi sprinkles magic all over the tie
Ernesto Valverede’s men were really struggling to find a foothold in the game but that was only until they got their second goal, albeit in fortunate circumstances. The ball fell to Suarez in the penalty area and his kneed effort came back off of the crossbar. Messi was the first to react as he practically walked the ball into the net.
If his first goal was a scruffy affair, his second really was a thing of absolute beauty. Given a free-kick 35 yards out, the Argentine was predictably the one to step up and curl home an absolutely stunning effort beyond Alisson and into the top corner for his 600th goal in Barcelona colours.
Liverpool should at least have got an away goal but luck did not seem to be on their side as Roberto Firmino had a shot cleared off of the line before Salah struck the post on the follow-up. Henderson then put an effort over the crossbar as Liverpool failed to get that all important away goal.
Despite the scoreline, there really wasn’t that much between the two sides at the Camp Nou. The telling aspect between the two teams was Lionel Messi. Liverpool should be proud of their performance as they really did trouble their hosts but they were not quite able to get on the scoresheet. Jurgen Klopp’s men now have a huge challenge at Anfield next week if they are to reach the final.
Barcelona: ter Stegen (7); Alba (7), Lenglet (6), Pique (6), Roberto (7) (Alena (N/A), 90+3′); Coutinho (5) (Semedo (6), 60′), Busquets (7), Rakitic (6), Vidal (6); Messi (8), Suarez (7) (Dembele (N/A), 90+3′).
Liverpool: Alisson (6); Robertson (6), van Dijk (7), Matip (6), Gomez (6); Keita (6) (Henderson (6), 24′), Fabinho (6), Milner (6); Wijnaldum (6) (Firmino (N/A), 78′), Mane (5), Salah (5).
Goals: Suarez (26′), Messi (74′, 82′)
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers
Yellow Cards: Lenglet (39′), Fabinho (81′), Suarez (80′), Alba (85′)
Red Cards: N/A
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!