The fraud: Barça has become a puzzle, Liverpool did not find the solution – Champions League 2018-2019 – Football


The game: Barça caught Liverpool in the trap

Barca was true to himself. In any case, what he is since Ernesto Valverde is the coach. Still not spectacular but still more impressive of realism, the Catalan club implemented the plan he had perfectly well in the previous round, and that allowed him to win on the same score against Manchester United (3-0).

Capable of stifling Liverpool's rebirth in the first period, the Blaugranas also adapted in second, even to suffer and retreat when the Reds found the parade with more application and the repositioning of James Milner.

His cold-blooded assassins, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, took care of the rest. Before the blow of the club inflicted by the brilliant Argentine in the collection of foul, the Spaniards had only two candid occasions … converted in goals. Liverpool, whose gegenpressing worked best during the second act, paid its bad decisions and lack of precision in the last 30 meters of opponents. That while he knew how to open gaps on the sides.

Players: Vidal precioso, Messi wonderful, Wijnaldum frio

There is the usual emblem, Messi, a man of all wonders, whatever the style of play of his team. By his accelerations, the Flea sometimes put the English hinge in the torture and he doubled the match – even the double confrontation – finding the skylight in the goal kick. And then there was the other symbol, Arturo Vidal, exemplary of determination and envy, shining for his ability to put his toe where it is needed.

Sadio Mané duel with Arturo Vidal in the semi-final of the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round between Barca and Liverpool

Sadio Mané duel with Arturo Vidal in the semi-final of the first leg of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round between Barca and LiverpoolGetty Images

Jordi Alba suffered a lot in front of Mohamed Salah, unsustainable, but he made the difference on the opening scoreboard. Georginio Wijnaldum seemed lost in an unusual role for him, and placed the importance of Robert Firmino in spite of himself. On defense, Virgil Van Dijk was still an impregnable duel, but he was guilty of placing.

Factor X: On day 84, Salah misses the inevitable

Could Salah have changed at the same time the face of the game and all the semi-finals? We'll never know that. But we can think a lot. The Egyptian sent a balloon to the pole that Rakitic miraculously saved in his line. With a goal conceded just minutes from the deadline, Barca certainly would not play the counterattack as he did. The prospects for the return match at Anfield would have been very different, as confirmed by Jürgen Klopp himself after the match, to the RMC Sport microphone.

The stat that keeps the suspense alive

Barça's last three defeats in the Champions League have resulted in big differences:

  • PSG – Barcelona: 4-0 in the round of 2016/2017

  • Juventus – Barcelona: 3-0 in the first round of the quarterfinals 2016/2017
  • Roma – Barcelona: 3-0 in the quarterfinals return 2017/2018

The tweet that perfectly sums up the game

A statement: Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool) at RMC Sport

" We must accept this situation. I really enjoyed the game. Playing here is so difficult because it is not easy to be confident when you know that each situation can lead to great consequences. It's not like we play badly. We had a good football game and we did not get anything. This is the harsh reality."

The question: What did Liverpool lose?

At the idea, Liverpool made the game they should have done. In execution, much less. There are two lessons to be learned from the failures of the reds. The Mersey club first paid a heavy price for the absence of Dejan Lovren, as Joel Matip is the first involved in Suarez's opening score, and the distrust of Roberto Firmino, affected adductor and generally so valuable for his moves, and their finishing qualities.

The most controversial moment of the game was Jürgen Klopp. His decision to line up Georginio Wijnaldum with the wrong number 9 made pschitt. In the second half, Sadio Mané was put back on the line and Liverpool regained control of the ball, demonstrating that this was probably the best solution.

Mohamed Salah in the semifinal between Barcelona and Liverpool

Mohamed Salah in the semifinal between Barcelona and LiverpoolGetty Images

The mandate of Joe Gomez is also an enigma. Jordi Alba left a lot of space behind and Clément Lenglet could not always fill them. They were well exploited by Salah, but the presence of Alexander-Arnold could have offered him significant support. Upon returning, the three main men will probably be available.


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