Champions League: 3 reasons why Liverpool can still comeback against Barcelona in the 2nd leg
Certainly, nobody would have predicted FC Barcelona to run 3-0 winners at Camp Nou against Liverpool on Wednesday considering the stage of the competition we are in, and the Liverpool squad being the best they had in the last decade or so.
But the Lionel Messi led Barca had other plans, and it was the ex-Liverpool man Luis Suarez who struck first for the hosts in the 26th minute. For the remainder of the first half, Liverpool and Barca, both had their own fair share of chances, but the first half ended at 1-0.
Just after a series of counter-attacks by Liverpool and James Milner hitting a clear cut chance straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Messi made it 2-0 in the 75th minute in what Jurgen Klopp called 'a not so nice goal' in the press conference. The Argentine literally carried the ball inside the net after Suarez had hit the cross bar, with Liverpool keeper Alisson off the line and the Liverpool defenders just watching the mayhem.
Messi finished the game for Liverpool in the 82nd minute when he curled a magical free kick in the top left corner which was unstoppable with Alisson going the right direction, but failing to even get his gloves near the ball storming into the net. What a strike.
Liverpool almost got something out of the tie when Sadio Mane broke through the Barcelona defense but was dispossessed at the right moment for the ball to fall to Firmino who curled an effort which was cleared off the line by the Barca defense. The ball then fell to Mohamed Salah who could have finished it on any other day without even looking, but the Egyptian hit the post.
It is obvious that Liverpool had their moments, with the side looking far better than Barcelona many a time during the game. Liverpool are taking a 3-0 deficit back home to Anfield, that too against the mighty Blaugrana, so definitely it is going to be an extremely difficult comeback, but Anfield is going to be all set to support their home team for the win.
Today we take a look at the top 3 reasons why Liverpool can still comeback against Barcelona in the second leg and make it to the Champions League final, two years in a row.
#3 Liverpool have the strength to neutralize Barca's tiki taka
If we look at the statistics of the first leg, Liverpool ended the game with 52.5% ball possession which is a legendary statistic when we are talking about Barcelona being the opposition and Nou Camp being the setting.
It is very rare for any team in the continent to go to Spain and keep the ball more in possession than Barcelona. Not only that, Liverpool made more passes than Barcelona and had more shots in general.
This proves that Liverpool can be even more rampant at Anfield than they were at Camp Nou. If this is the case, this means that Barcelona would have a tough time keeping the ball at their feet, and the world has witnessed what happens to the Barcelona team when they lack possession - a throwback to Bayern Munich's 4-0 win against Barcelona in 2013.
#2 Liverpool have the firepower to score 4 goals against any attack in Europe at this moment
The attacking trio of Liverpool - Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino - might just be the best front three any team has in Europe right now.
All three of them enjoyed a great game at Camp Nou and if the chances created are to be considered, they gave the Barcelona defense a tough time in their own backyard. What really made the difference was the finishing.
Though Barcelona also missed a couple of chances and still won 3-0, Liverpool could have easily scored at least 2 goals and taken home an away goal advantage.
Liverpool have all the firepower to score the needed 4 goals to qualify for the final, and if Klopp and Co. work on their finishing this week, and implement their attacking plans, we might just see the Anfield roof blowing up on Tuesday.
#1 Liverpool back four are capable of containing Suarez and Messi in their half
A lot was talked about Messi going up against the mighty Liverpool defense in the fixture, especially against PFA Player of the Year - Virgil van Dijk, and to be fair, the Liverpool back four were decently good in containing the threat of Lionel Messi lurking in their half.
This proves that if they bring their 'A' game defensively at Anfield, Lionel Messi can be neutralized.
Another player who can potentially hurt Liverpool and has very well done it in the first leg is none other than Luis Suarez. Suarez can make some really good runs in between the two centre-backs creating problems for them, and his finishing needs no introduction.
If Suarez and Messi can be contained well and man-marked properly coupled with some tactical fouls at the right moments and not getting the referee too agitated, the defense can win the match and the tie at Anfield, as then the attack has to just score the goals needed against a shaky Barcelona defense with the Kop watching.
Will Liverpool be able to make a comeback against Lionel Messi and Barcelona? Do drop your comments below.