Lionel Messi news: Surprising Messi record that gives Liverpool hope against Barca
Can Liverpool stop the imperious Messiah?
What's the story?
English Premier League leaders Liverpool and Spanish La Liga leaders Barcelona are set to face off in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, in one of the most eagerly anticipated matchups of the season. With Lionel Messi in imperious form, the Liverpool Echo has reported a surprising Messi record that might give Jurgen Klopp's men hope ahead of the first match of the tie in the Barcelona fortress-Liverpool is the only English club to have won at the Nou Camp and the Red's 2007 victory there was the only UCL knockout game Messi has lost at home!
In case you didn't know...
Lionel Messi's Barcelona is on an all-conquering rampage across competitions this season under Ernesto Valverde. They are runaway leaders in La Liga, have reached the finals of the Copa del Rey and demolished Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate en route to reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
The magisterial Messiah has scored 45 goals in all competitions and contributed 15 assists. 'La Pulga' is currently leading both the LaLiga and UEFA Champions League goalscoring charts, the gulf between him and all rivals only widening with each game.
Liverpool on the other hand are having one of their best seasons in recent years, leading the English Premier League by a single point over rivals Manchester City. The attacking trident of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have wrecked havoc on opposition defences while a stubborn defence led by Virgil van Dijk have been stingy in conceding goals, maintaining the best defensive record in the EPL.
The heart of the matter
Going into this tie, history seems to be on the side of the Reds, as Liverpool are the only English team to ever win at the Nou Camp in 41 attempts. Shockingly, Liverpool have won at the Barcelona fortress two times, one way back in the 1976 UEFA Cup semi-final and the other, more recently in the 2007 Champions League first knockout round, where goals by Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise ensured a 2-1 victory. A 19-year-old Messi was famously kept quiet in that game by some superb marking from Spaniard Alvaro Arbeloa.
Remarkably, that was the only Champions League knockout match in Messi's long and illustrious career that he finished on the losing side at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona face Liverpool over two legs in the Champions League semifinals. In the other semifinal, Tottenham Hotspur face Dutch side AFC Ajax.