Champions League: Barcelona vs Liverpool - 5 pre-match talking points
While the Premier League seems kind of tricky for Liverpool right now, a Champions League trophy is still within reach. It surely doesn't look easy but it isn't impossible as well. Barcelona will probably be the favourites but Liverpool aren't a novice to the league of champions either. The two giants fight each other twice for two weeks with the first leg starting from Wednesday. Here we take a look at the 5 pre-match talking points from this big clash.
#1 Liverpool could be preoccupied with the Premier League race
While Barcelona have already won the LaLiga trophy, Liverpool are still stuck in the race of the Premier League title with Manchester City. Having been top of the league for quite a while, Liverpool slipped to the 2nd position last week as Manchester City consolidated their first place with a win over Burnley.
As they travel to Barcelona, the Premier League would still be playing at the back of their minds. Having come so close to the Premier League and it slipping through their fingers would be a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately it could affect their run in the Champions League as well if their minds are still preoccupied with the league. They could very well miss out on the Champions League trophy if they don't move on from the Premier League.
#2 Liverpool are underdogs compared to Barcelona
Barcelona are probably the favourites to win the Champions League this season as giants such as Real Madrid, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich have all been eliminated. Compared to their opponents, Liverpool are currently the underdogs this time. Despite having been the runners-up of the last season, with Barcelona's legacy over the last few years, the Reds are a notch below Messi's men. But Liverpool would surely try their best to make it the underdog's year.
#3 Gegenpressing vs Tiki-Taka
It wouldn't be wrong to say that Barcelona play one of the most impressive brands of football of all the leagues. The tiki-taka football is their legacy and Lionel Messi’s dominance speaks for itself. It certainly wouldn't be a walk in the park for either team. While Barcelona's Lionel Messi would instill fear in their opponents, Liverpool would be counting on their front three to run the show.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have been playing much better than the past few years and it surely comes down to Jurgen Klopp's gegenpressing. If Liverpool bring back the gegenpressing on Wednesday, tiki-taka football could very well find themselves in danger.
#4 Liverpool's 14-year wait for their 6th title
Liverpool have a rich history in the Champions League as well. They are 5-times champions but their last Champions League trophy came in 2005, 14 years ago. They came close to winning it for a 6th time but missed out on it in the final against Real Madrid last season. They could, however, win it this time but only if they pass the obstacle named Barcelona, twice -- away and at home as well. And then perhaps the path to a highly-coveted 6th European title would become clearer.
#5 Klopp vs Valverde
Klopp and Valverde are both big names of the football coaching world. Both have taken hold of their respective teams when the teams were in a bit of a fix and they've now come a long way with their teams.
While Valverde can surely count on Messi and Suarez, Jurgen Klopp will be counting on Roberto Firmino’s fitness as the latter is an immense part of the front three and the team. This Wednesday as Liverpool meet Barcelona, one of the most interesting face-offs would be that of Klopp and Valverde.
Add to that, the other impressive clashes -- Lionel Messi vs Alisson Becker and Mohamed Salah vs Ter Stegen -- and this blockbuster match-up becomes one not to be missed.Published 30 Apr 2019, 22:18 IST