Champions League: 3 reasons why Liverpool lost to Barcelona
Liverpool crashed to a heavy 3-0 defeat at the hands of FC Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal clash at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. And manager Jurgen Klopp could only wonder at what might have been.
While many Liverpool players went on record after the match to say that Lionel Messi was in a kind of mood when he just could not be stopped, there were certain areas where the Reds failed miserably.
Here, we look at three reasons why Liverpool lost on Wednesday.
1) Shoddy performance by Virgil van Dijk
It goes without saying that a poor performance by Liverpool's Dutch centre-half Virgil van Dijk was one of the main reasons why the Reds lost to Barcelona.
Van Dijk, who recently won the PFA Player of the Year award, was far from his best at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. The fact that he was off-colour meant that Barcelona's talisman Lionel Messi was allowed a free ride inside Liverpool's penalty area.
The Dutchman will get another go against Messi at Anfield in the second leg, and the fans would hope for him to do better.
2) Ineffective Sadio Mane
Liverpool winger Sadio Mane, who has been in top form in the Premier League recently, was put through his paces by the Barcelona defenders. And he came out second best.
Klopp had put a lot of faith in Mane and it would have been chastising for him to see the Senegal international be nullified so easily.
With Roberto Firmino not being completely match-fit, the onus of scoring goals rested upon the shoulders of Mane and Mohamed Salah. Both of them, however, couldn't quite get going.
3) Questionable formation and tactics
Klopp decided to go with a 4-3-1-2 formation instead of the usual 4-3-3 on Wednesday, and that didn't work out well at all. With Georginio Wijnaldum playing in the attacking midfielder's role behind Salah and Mane, the ball was never quite distributed well.
Although it was expected that Firmino would not be able to play all 90 minutes, Klopp should have entrusted Divock Origi or even Xherdan Shaqiri to play in the central role in the 4-3-3 formation. Going with Wijnaldum was a mistake, in hindsight.