Champions League: 3 reasons why Liverpool can beat Barcelona in the semi-finals
After last night's 4-1 away victory over FC Porto in Portugal, Liverpool are set to face the favourites for the Champions League title - FC Barcelona in the semi-finals of the continental competition. But Liverpool have been a European powerhouse under Jurgen Klopp and they cannot be considered any less than favourites for this tie if they bring their 'A' game against Barcelona.
Barcelona on their other hand, have had a fairly easy season as both their domestic rivals, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have struggled in the present campaign. And the only real challenge Barca faced in the Champions League were Manchester United, but Lionel Messi had other plans for the English giants.
Even as a neutral, one has to admit that Liverpool and Barcelona are two of the best sides in Europe this season, and this makes the clash extremely mouthwatering. Here, we take a look at three reasons why Liverpool can beat Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.
#3 FC Barcelona have been lacklustre
In both legs against Manchester United, it was evident that FC Barcelona are not the best of teams with perfection in every department of the pitch.
Barca are having serious defensive problems as Clement Lenglet has not been at his best for the past few weeks and has been continuously exposing his flaws against the opponents. Meanwhile, Gerard Pique might still be at his prime, but he is ageing and has not really been tested. Barcelona's midfield has also flattered to decive on several ocassions this season.
On the other hand, Liverpool are probably excellent in all areas of the pitch, with one of the world's best centre-backs, two of the Premier Leagues best full-backs, a calm and composed midfield which can retain possession, and a hazardous front three.
But Barcelona have a certain Messi in their ranks, with the Argentine being in fine form this season. If Liverpool manage to neutralise Messi then they have a very good chance of beating Barcelona.
#2 Liverpool's progress and form in the last 24 months
It is fair to say that despite not winning anything under Klopp, Liverpool played a Champions League final against a rampant Real Madrid team last season, and are challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title in the present campaign. Liverpool have been one of the scariest sides in Europe for the last 24 months.
The Reds are having adream season with their confidence at an all time high and they could end the season with a doubleof the Premier League and the Champions League. Liverpool, who have already beten the likes of Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in Europe this season, are currently atop the Premier League table.
If Liverpool manage to play at their best with no pressure, even Barcelona might seem weak against the Merseysiders.
#1 Virgil van Dijk
The centre-back has looked unbeatable this season and has put several amazing performances for the Reds. He is one of the top contenders for the Premier League Player of the Year award.
There is no match for Van Dijk in the Barcelona squad and Messi and company need to play better than they did against United to breach Liverpool's defense, led by the Dutchman. Even the thought of Messi going head to head against Van Dijk is sure to make the football lovers salivate.
Besides providing stability to the Reds' defence, Van Dijk has also been a threat in the opposite area of the pitch, especially in set-piece situations, which was evident from his headed goal from a corner against Porto last night.
Who do you think will come out on top when Liverpool take on Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals? Do drop your comments below!