Champions League: How Barcelona could overcome Liverpool's infamous gegenpress if they meet in the semi-finals
If these 2 teams meet in the UCL semifinal, it will be interesting to see who actually has to do the pressing, with Barcelona being overwhelming favourites to keep the lion's share of the possession. At the Camp Nou, they will certainly get their way, but at Anfield, their recent poor away form may come back to bite them.
The best way for Barcelona to get away from Jurgen Klopp's infamous gegenpressing is to form triangles, which is typical of them. Roberto would have to start ahead of Semedo because the Messi-Rakitic-Roberto triangle is certainly more effective against pressure. Similarly, on the left, Alba, Arthur, and Suarez have to play as a unit.
The whole objective of forming triangles is to always have 3 passing options, 2 partners of the formation, and Busquets at the back who forms the pivot. However hard the press they face, they keep Rondo-ing it and keep the play on.
The primary objective is to tire the opposition out and strike late. If the press gets too hard to handle, give it back to Orchestrator-in-Chief: Sergio Busquets.
But as easy as it sounds to explain, it's very hard to implement this. Keeping that level of Rondo up for such a long period is close to impossible. The principle of gegenpress is to win the ball back as soon as they lose it, and exploit the spaces in the opposition (whilst they are still in attacking formation) to create good through balls.
One misplaced pass can lead to a cascade of reactions. The second problem that arises is that Barcelona no longer has all 'system players'. Not everyone is as comfortable maintaining the high-intensity short passing, especially the more recent players.
This means that they will have to be extra careful with Dembele or Malcom who provide the pace, just because they are more likely to lose the ball.
The key factor that decides if Barcelona stays on the ball or not is all dependant on the midfield performance. Sergio Busquets has not been at his best of late, nor has Arthur Melo. Their performance against United was pathetic for the most part, and if they carry that into Anfield, it will be a disaster.
Barcelona knows very well that if they play away in the second leg, playing defence isn't going to help, everyone remembers Roma. And if Barcelona wants to play attacking - this is the best way forward. But of course, it's subjective to Busquets and Arthur having good days. If they don't, it all ends there.
This style of play needs incredible stamina and concentration, and it remains to be seen if the current Barcelona can pull it off.