Article by Adam Brown @AdamMNVi
The Champions League semi-final. Liverpool are challenging for two of the biggest trophies in club football – and opposition fans can’t stand it.
Barcelona are a different test, they’re not necessarily more threatening than Manchester City, but they have a killer instinct just as good, particularly due to one man – Lionel Messi.
A critical Liverpool fan will look at some of the chances we conceded against Porto – we can’t give Barcelona those opportunities. Where Marega missed, the likes of Suarez and Messi are much less likely to.
The Spanish champions are not untouchable; they have dropped points on 10 occasions this season in a weaker league than the Reds. If Liverpool can get any sort of result away in Barcelona, the semi-final atmosphere at Anfield will be the difference.
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Here’s how I think we should line up against Barcelona:
The first question for the back five is at right-back. Considering Barcelona’s attacking style of play, Gomez is our best option here. We can afford to lose the crossing ability of Trent in the hope that we can exploit the defence in other ways. Matip comes back into the side after Lovren’s cameo on Friday.
In the six should be Fabinho. The Brazilian’s ability to break up play will be vital on Wednesday night. Henderson and Wijnaldum complete the midfield. We need to bully their midfield to some extent – make it uncomfortable to play against the press.
Firmino comes back in upfront if available alongside Mane and Salah. This front three can hurt Barcelona on the break.
This could be the most exciting game of the season, but also a chess contest. Barcelona will know they are yet to face anyone of Liverpool’s calibre this season and an away goal will be crucial.
The Catalan giants will fear us on set-pieces where Klopp’s side have the height advantage. Alba must also be wary of attacking runs which could leave Salah free. It’s tough to see how Barcelona will keep a clean sheet.
While they can hurt us, their style plays into our hands too. Liverpool win.
Score prediction: Barcelona 1 – 2 Liverpool
Article by Adam Brown – @AdamMNVi
How does Bailey think that Jurgen Klopp will select the side? Check out the Starting XI Prediction Show below to find out!