Jürgen Klopp accepts Liverpool face a ‘big challenge’ as they attempt to overturn a three-goal first-leg deficit against FC Barcelona tonight – but insisted his side are not finished in the tie.
Despite a strong display, the Reds suffered a 3-0 reversal in last week’s first meeting at Camp Nou after a Lionel Messi brace added to Luis Suarez’s opener.
Klopp acknowledged in the immediate aftermath of the contest that it would be a big ask for his side to stage a comeback against Barcelona – sentiments he reiterated in the run up to kick off this evening.
However, the manager feels given the strength of his squad’s collective mentality, nobody is ready to give up on the idea of making next month’s final in Madrid.
Klopp wrote in his column for the official matchday programme: "Everyone inside the stadium tonight who has Liverpool in their hearts knows the scale of the task we face.
"It’s not just about winning the ‘game’ – we are here tonight to win a ‘tie’ and because of what happened in Spain that will be a big challenge. I said immediately after the first game it was not a time for shouting our mouth off about what might happen back in England – “half-time” this and “second leg” that. I still feel this, to be honest. Words and phrases won’t win us this contest.
"Our fans are smart – so are Barca supporters. The situation is the situation. They have a lead and we need to strike back. But both clubs being smart also means everyone knows we are not finished and we are Liverpool. So: let’s play and let’s see.
"Here is one thing everyone inside Anfield knows, including our opponents. This Liverpool never stops. This Liverpool never quits. This Liverpool gives everything at all times. Whatever happens this Liverpool leaves it all on the pitch and nothing left for regrets. We don’t do ‘if only’.
"It really is the story of this team and this amazing group of players. After Newcastle on Saturday night I literally have no more new expressions to use to demonstrate my love and admiration for them collectively and as individuals. What they give for this club – really, it is only to admire. I described them after Southampton away as “mentality monsters”… I used another more inappropriate word before ‘mentality’ but the sentiment is as strong without it. If what they did at Southampton made them mentality monsters, what they did at Newcastle makes them giants.
"To play a game like we did last Wednesday, against the opponent we did and suffer the circumstances we did – and then to just have one short session to prepare for the weekend – and then do what we did at Newcastle. These boys are giants!
"Regardless of what happens in these remaining games – and regardless of whether our season concludes on Sunday or goes to June 1 in Madrid – this is a season of achievement for my boys. For this set of players, failure is now off the table. And here is why: they have taken it off the table with what they have done. They have not conceded or submitted at any point. Every challenge met head-on. No-one here believes and no-one will accept our journey is over and we have not got to where we want. That’s regardless of what happens in these remaining days and maybe weeks.
"Our journey continues and it continues together – beyond this campaign. This season they have achieved so much and yet they are still hungry. In Newcastle we faced a side playing with the motivation and drive the likes of which is usually reserved for season deciders. Newcastle played like their very futures were on the line. They played like we had affronted them, stolen from them. But we found the extra yard – we went further, we battled harder, we refused to lay down and say enough.
"The players could have been forgiven for thinking the tank was empty but they didn’t and don’t. They still find the fuel. This is why this group can only be judged against their achievements.
"No-one wants to deliver more than the boys in our dressing room. I’ve spoken before that wanting something isn’t enough on it’s own – and my god, do our boys go beyond just wanting. Tonight we ask of our boys to go again. Dig even deeper than they have already. The amazing thing is that they need no words, no encouragement, no outside motivation. They don’t seek excuses.
"They are ready – they want this opportunity. They want to go again and never stop. They have their own answers. This is why they are giants."
Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme at the stadium tonight, or subscribe online by clicking here.
Liverpool will hope to maintain their record of having never lost both legs of a European Cup semi-final when Barcelona visit Anfield on Tuesday night.
The Reds must overcome a 3-0 deficit in the second leg of the Champions League last-four tie following last week's result at Camp Nou.
The club have hosted 18 European semi-finals in the past, winning 14, drawing three and losing just once.
For more need-to-know pre-match facts and figures, courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea, read on...
This is Liverpool's 19th European semi-final and their 11th in the major competition. They aim to reach their 14th European final and their ninth in the European Cup.
The Reds have won three of their four European semi-finals against Spanish opposition.
Their last home defeat in Europe came at the hands of Real Madrid back in October 2014.
Jürgen Klopp's men have lost only two of their last 54 games at Anfield in the Premier League and cup competitions.
Sadio Mane has scored at least once in every knockout tie from the group stages onwards since joining Liverpool - scoring nine goals in those 11 games.
If selected, Virgil van Dijk would make his 150th appearance for an English club and also play his 50th career game in European competition.
Klopp has not lost any of his 10 European knockout ties as Reds boss and has won 17 of 20 his managerial career.
Liverpool have led at half-time in 25 games this season and gone on to win every one of them.
In games on English soil, excluding finals, Barcelona have won 11 of 40 visits, losing 18 and drawing 11.
The referee for this game is Turkey's Cuneyt Cakir. He has taken charge of Liverpool twice before - both of which were dramatic European nights at Anfield. In 2016, he was the man in the middle as Liverpool defeated Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in the Europa League. This season, meanwhile, Cakir oversaw the 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain.
Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, second leg against Barcelona.
Jürgen Klopp confirmed on Monday that the duo would be forced to miss the Anfield affair through injury.
Salah - who is expected to be fit for the final Premier League game of the season on Sunday - suffered a concussion during the Reds' 3-2 win at Newcastle United at the weekend, while Firmino remains sidelined with a muscular issue.
“Both are not available for tomorrow," Klopp, who reported no other injury concerns, said.
“It’s a concussion [for Salah], so that means he would not even be allowed to play. That’s it, that’s all.
“He feels OK, but it is not good enough from a medical point of view, that’s all. He is desperate and everything, but we cannot do it. That’s it.”
Barcelona, meanwhile, have named a 23-man squad for the second leg.
Ousmane Dembele has not travelled due to the hamstring injury he sustained in Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Celta Vigo, with Jean-Clair Todibo also absent.
With the La Liga title already secured, Ernesto Valverde opted to make 11 changes for the loss in Vigo. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez - Barca's goalscorers in last Wednesday's 3-0 first-leg win at Camp Nou - were among those rested ahead of the trip to Anfield.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, Valverde said: "We have to think about what will happen here. Because if we start to think about the result we had, it would be an error.
"We have to play as if it is a final. It’s going to be a difficult game because we know the fans will be really getting behind their side."
Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Milner, Keita, Wijnaldum, Mane, Salah.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez.
Liverpool trained at Melwood on the eve of their Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona - and our photographers were there to provide a gallery of the session.
The Reds host the Spanish side at Anfield on Tuesday night with a 3-0 deficit to overturn from the opening meeting at Camp Nou last week.
Preparations for the tie continued at Melwood this afternoon and you can take a look at a collection of 33 photos from the training ground below.
Photos by John and Andrew Powell
Ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League semi-final, second leg against FC Barcelona at Anfield, Liverpool FC would like to remind supporters that flares, smoke bombs and pyrotechnics are illegal and prohibited.
Any individual who is found taking these in to the stadium is liable to arrest. The use of such devices breaches ground safety regulation and poses serious risk of injury to fellow fans including serious health risks.
Should pyrotechnic devices be ignited during the game, this could lead to sanctions being imposed on the club, as well as the activation of fire alarms and subsequent evacuation of the stadium and abandonment of the match. We would like to remind supporters of the serious consequences they will face surrounding the possession or use of pyrotechnics and any other illegal items.
We would also like to advise supporters to arrive at the stadium and take their seats early in order to support the team and help create a positive atmosphere.
Liverpool Football Club would like to thank supporters in advance who show their support in a friendly, respectful and considerate manner.
Sandro Tonali continues to be linked to the likes of Liverpool, but the teenage midfielder has been told by Brescia president Massimo Cellino that he is going nowhere this summer.
The 18-year-old is one of the most sought-after youngsters in world football.
He has, however, spent his club career to this point turning out in the Italian second tier.
That grounding has served him well, and Brescia will be among the elite in 2019-20.
Tonali has helped them to promotion into Serie A and is expected to stick around regardless of the interest expected to be shown in him.
That is because enigmatic owner Cellino has no intention of parting with a prized asset in the next transfer window.
He has told Radio Rai: "Tonali needs to grow, Brescia is the best place to do it.
"To whom do I compare him? He reminds me of Falcao. A complete player, but a bit different.
"He has the cold blood of a killer, the smile of a child and is still 19 years old.
"He’s a nice surprise, a nice player."
Cellino added: "Sell him? It's so hard to find good players that I have no intention of giving anyone up to weaken the team.
"We will be back in Serie A after so many years, repeating the errors of the past would be a mistake."
Tonali has passed the 50 appearance mark in his second season as a regular at Brescia.He has been included in Roberto Mancini’s senior Italy squad this term, while making his debut at U21 level.
More recognition is expected to come his way, both at club level and on an international stage.
The likes of Liverpool will likely continue to monitor his progress, with a scramble for his signature set to be sparked whenever the exit door is opened at Brescia.
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Trent Alexander-Arnold acknowledges Liverpool face a huge task in attempting to overturn a three-goal first-leg deficit against FC Barcelona on Tuesday - but insists nobody is ready to accept the tie is completely over while a comeback remains possible.
The Reds were defeated 3-0 at Camp Nou last Wednesday night as Luis Suarez opened the scoring against his former club before Lionel Messi struck twice after the break.
It was an outcome many felt harsh on Jürgen Klopp’s men given the manner of their performance in Catalonia, but nevertheless it leaves them with a difficult challenge when the teams meet again at Anfield tomorrow night.
Ahead of the game, Alexander-Arnold held a press conference during which he outlined why no-one within the Liverpool came is ready to concede on their Champions League ambitions while there is still 90-plus minutes of football to be played in the tie.
Read on for a summary of what the full-back had to say to the media, or watch the briefing in our YouTube video below.
On Liverpool’s mentality heading into the second leg…
I think we’ve obviously had decent results this season where we’ve scored more than three goals. Being at home helps us, we’ll have the fans behind us and there’s still that sense of belief. We know it’s going to be really hard, it’s not going to be a walk in the park and everyone has got to be realistic, but we’ve definitely still got that belief within ourselves, in the changing room, that anything is possible, especially at Anfield. Hopefully we will be able to produce one of those special nights here.
On how Liverpool will cope without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino…
Obviously we’ve got two of our main goalscorers out, but it also presents an opportunity for some of the other lads to come in, make a name for themselves and make themselves heroes. If we do overturn the deficit tomorrow then whoever scores, their name will always be remembered because I am sure it will be one of those really special nights. It is an opportunity and the lads who maybe don’t get as many minutes as those who are injured now will be looking to get those minutes and show why they deserve those kind of opportunities.
On whether he’ll watch Manchester City’s game with Leicester City tonight…
I suppose there is no harm in watching, but it’s important for us our focus is on our game tomorrow – that’s the main thing for us. No matter what happens with the City game, it’s going to go to the last game of the season – and the last game of the season is a game we always want to win. So, no matter what they end up with tonight, our focus is still Barcelona and then beyond that, it’s still going to be winning against Wolves. [Tonight’s game] is not going to affect us too much and we’re not going to get caught up in the hype of whatever the result us. Our main focus is on the game against Barcelona and producing something really special.
On being involved in Liverpool’s challenge for honours…
It’s something that is really special, something I have always wanted to be involved in. This season has been very special in terms of the results we’ve got and the points we’ve been able to pick up. I think if you look at the progression the club has made altogether in the last few seasons, it has been really good - and we’ve still got a lot of potential to unlock. It’s important for us to keep focusing, keep our big players, keep pushing forward and hopefully next season we’ll be able to do the same if not better.
On the on-going assist and goals competition with Andy Robertson…
First and foremost, it is about putting balls into the box and providing the attackers with good service to help them do what they do best. To be involved in so many goals is something really, really good, it shows we’re doing something right, me and Robbo, but at the end of the day, it’s important for us to get the three points. That’s the main thing for us, the three points. We haven’t really focused on that little competition too much, we’ve just tried to provide as much as possible for the team – and whilst doing that competition, it has pushed us further, we’ve pushed each other to our limits and we’ve showed it’s working for us. I think tomorrow, if we’re playing, then hopefully we will be able to put a few more good balls into the box.
On linking up with someone else other than Salah on Liverpool’s right…
I don’t think it will feel that strange. We train with different line-ups a lot and different players in different positions, so it’s not like we’re not used to not playing with Mo. It’s something we do in training as well, so I am sure whoever it is who comes in and fills in for him will have an understanding with all of the players. That’s the main thing for us, to have that versatility and squad depth for the lads to be able to come in and do a job. That’s what we’re hoping they’ll be able to do tomorrow.
On how he views Liverpool’s first-leg performance…
We were obviously massively disappointed with the result, but as a performance, it was maybe one of our best of the season so far. It was a strange one because we’ve not really had too many of those results recently as we were on a decent winning-streak. It was important for us to put those performances in, we’ve shown we’re a really good side and Barcelona will come here tomorrow with respect for us. The stats from the game really paint a picture that not many teams can really go and dominate at Camp Nou. You get punished against the top teams and the top players; we never took our chances on the night. Hopefully if we can get the same kind of chances tomorrow we’ll be able to put them away and punish them.
On his memories of Liverpool’s last dramatic European comeback, against Borussia Dortmund in 2016…
I was here as a fan. It was one of those special nights, one that you won’t forget and will always remember where you were when those kind of things happen. It’s important for us to give that belief – and I am sure the fans believe we have it in us. Especially with a team like this, that we’ve got it in us to score that many goals and hopefully not concede. Realistically, it’s an uphill battle for us, but it’s important to have that belief as well. It’s a slim possibility, but while that possibility is still there we’ll believe with everything we’ve got that we can do it. As a team, we’ve got to go out there and be fearless and not hold back at all, that’s the only way we’ll get the result we want – to not hold back, go out there with no fear and focus on ourselves. If we get caught up with thinking about the players they’ve got and fearing them, holding players back, it’s not going to work for us. It’s about everyone getting involved and trying to score as many goals as possible.
On facing Lionel Messi…
He is a world-class player, probably the best in the world. It is going to be a really tough battle, but in fairness to the lads we kept him quiet for maybe 88 minutes during that game – and he’s produced something really special. It just goes to show you’ve got to be concentrated for the whole 90 against him. It’s about having that respect but not too much respect; we can’t be scared of looking silly against him, we’ve got to try and win the ball back as soon as possible and stop him and the other players in that team from hurting us.
Jürgen Klopp wants the second leg of Liverpool's Champions League semi-final with Barcelona to be a 'football party' as he stressed his side need to be perfect in order to have any hopes of securing a dramatic comeback.
The Reds must overcome a 3-0 deficit on Tuesday night to reach the Madrid final following the result at Camp Nou last week.
Klopp acknowledged the mammoth task his players have in front of them during a press conference on Monday afternoon, but insists it will not deter them or those supporters inside Anfield.
Read on for a summary of the manager's pre-match comments...
On how he approaches the second leg...
We try to win the game, I thought that makes sense. Look, the situation with the 3-0 in Barcelona is obviously not exactly the situation you want to have before the second leg and you cannot play against Barcelona and tell the world, 'Watch this and after 10 minutes we are level and then we try to turn it around or whatever'. It's not like this. We try to win the game and if the result we have at a specific moment gives us an opportunity to go to the next round, I think we should try. Until then, we just have to try to win the game and that's the way how we will do it.
Together with our supporters, this was a long season and there's at least a little chance to make it even longer. But if not, then these are the last two home games of an incredible season and I think we should celebrate it with a good performance on the pitch and with a very, very good performance in the stands. That would be really nice.
On how scoring one goal would have Anfield rocking...
I will imagine the place will be rocking before we score already, to be honest. That's what I expect. If we can score, that's how it is. But look we not only have to score, we have to deny Barcelona from scoring and it doesn't happen too often that Barcelona doesn't score at all. We know about how big the challenge is. This team is just so wonderful that they will try, we all will try, 100 per cent. But that doesn't mean that it will work out, that's how it is as well.
The result in Barcelona didn't help a lot honestly. We were 3-0 down, we try to score and we tried all the way through to score the one goal or the second goal as well. But that's now how it is, we have that result and we have to deal with that. But, in my understanding, you can only deal with it if you do it step by step. Nobody should think about after 10 minutes if we don't score... the last five minutes are enough to score three. It would be cool if it's then still 0-0. If we have to score five then it would make it slightly more difficult. But let's give it a try with all we have, that's how we always did it and that's what we will do again.
On having hope of a turnaround...
Yeah, because there's hope and it's football. We are far from giving up, but we are not in a situation where we say, 'It will happen, 100 per cent'. But it's football and that's why we give it a try and because of the boys and the character of the boys. Two of the world's best strikers are not available tomorrow night and we have to score four goals against Barcelona to go through after 90 minutes. It doesn't make life easier but as long as we have 11 players on the pitch then we will try it and everybody knows that. That's what we want to show, nothing else - just to celebrate the Champions League campaign and give it, either way, a proper finish or another go. That's pretty much the plan. Just try it and if we can do it then wonderful. Then if not, then fail in the most beautiful way if you want, with a close result. How I said, it's still a difficult job to do of course.
On drawing confidence from Barcelona going out to AS Roma in the Champions League last season after winning the first leg 4-1...
Yeah, but they [Roma] scored the away goal. That's what we didn't do and it's a big difference obviously. It gives us that hope. I don't want to sit here and give any reason to the Barcelona players and be even more motivated because I say we have this or that. I have enough time to speak to my players until tomorrow night and we will do that, we have to make a lot of decisions until then - who is fit. Tomorrow night will be the third game in six days and Barcelona changed 11 positions on Saturday, so that's a massive difference as well of course. We have to do it our way and that's what we will try. We cannot compare ourselves to Roma or anybody else, but we don't have to. The boys showed often enough that they don't give up and they will show it again tomorrow night. We will see what the outcome is.
On the plan to contain Messi and Barcelona...
To delete the word 'almost', that's the plan. It looks like you have to be perfect to beat them and we should try that. That's all, doing that step by step. Creating an atmosphere, using the atmosphere and celebrate the situation with good football. It should be a football party. We don't drink during the game - no alcohol at least - so we should then celebrate it with football. That's the plan. It's possible and a little bit likely that it will be the last Champions League game for this campaign, so let's celebrate it with our legs, with our lungs, with good decisions, with a sensational atmosphere and all that stuff. Then we will see what's the outcome.
Mohamed Salah has been ruled out of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final, second-leg tie with FC Barcelona on Tuesday, Jürgen Klopp has confirmed.
The Egyptian was forced from the pitch with a head injury during Saturday evening’s 3-2 victory at Newcastle United and will not be available for the meeting with the La Liga champions.
The Reds are also without the services of Roberto Firmino, who is continuing to recover from a muscle injury.
More to follow…
Lorenzo Insigne has issued a come-and-offer-me-a-new-contract-plea to Napoli after Liverpool withdrew their interest.
Winger Insigne had placed his future at the Serie A club in doubt last month when he said that an offer might come in for him that he "can't refuse".
But the 27-year-old has revealed he is ready to commit his future to Napoli having been at the club since he was 15.
"Renewal? I'm waiting for the president," Insigne, whose current contract runs until the summer of 2022, told Sky Sport Italia.
"For my part there's maximum availability. We both want to move forward together. I hope that the signing of the contract will come soon.
"It was important to be clear about going ahead together. There has been misunderstanding but now there is the desire to continue united."
Insigne netted his 14th goal of the season at the weekend as Napoli needed an 98th minute penalty to get past Cagliari and cement their second placed finish in the Italian league.
The Italy international has played over 300 times for Napoli and is highly rated among Europe's top clubs.
Liverpool had been heavily linked with Insigne but Jurgen Klopp admitted he would not look to sign him this summer last month.
"We will not sign Lorenzo Insigne. He's a very good player, but he has a long-term contract at Napoli and we will not even try it," Klopp said.
"Transfers are not there to excite the people with a new player, the job is to improve the team and there are different ways.
"Training is the best way to do it, but if you have to sign someone then you sign them.
"The team is pretty well balanced. Our plans are not for the public, but will it be the biggest transfer window of Liverpool? No, probably not.
"But I think you would have been surprised if I said 'Yes, we will sell them all if they don't do it (win the title)'.
"Our eyes are always open, we always look, but nothing to say in the moment."
Source: Daily Mirror
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Mohamed Salah has been named the PFA Fans' Player of the Month for April.
The Egyptian struck four goals in as many matches to clinch the prize for a third time this season.
Salah saw off competition from Lucas Digne, Ayoze Perez, Sergio Rico, Jamie Vardy and Bernardo Silva to scoop the accolade following an online vote.
LFC Foundation has pledged a £50k donation to Zoe's Place baby hospice in Liverpool.
The official charity of Liverpool Football Club will match the donation made by Reds star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last week.
The midfielder visited Zoe’s Place back in April, alongside LFC Foundation, to help raise awareness of the vital services the centre provides to local families.
Zoe’s Place is an independent registered charity which offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care to babies and infants aged from birth to five years who suffer from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.
After meeting with the children and their families, Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “These families are going through things I can’t even begin to imagine. Their grace and dignity in the face of unspeakable pain is truly humbling.”
LFC Foundation is match-funding Oxlade-Chamberlain’s donation thanks to the support of Reds fans who attended the sell-out Legends charity match in March.
Matt Parish, director of LFC Foundation, said: “Zoe’s Place is an amazing local cause which helps thousands of families who are facing extremely difficult circumstances.
“As the centre relies on donations to continue offering its incredible service, we wanted to join Alex in pledging our support.
“This donation will make a huge difference to the hospice and it’s thanks to our fantastic fans for turning out in force at the Legends game earlier this year.”
Zoe’s Place receives a small annual government grant from NHS England - which makes up 14 per cent of the £1.6million it needs each year - and the remaining funds come predominantly from donations made by members of the general public.
The £100k total donation from Oxlade-Chamberlain and LFC Foundation could cover four full-time qualified paediatric nursing posts for one year, or 22 days of care at the hospice - which equates to providing 140 children with full-time nursing care and support.
Carol Kirkham, fundraising manager at Zoe’s Place, added: “The increase in demand for our services has put ever more pressure on our fundraising activities.
“The donation from Alex and the LFC Foundation is an essential lifeline to our families and helps to ensure we can keep the doors of our hospice open.
“We cannot thank Alex and the Foundation enough for not only providing much-needed financial support but for also creating special memories for our families.”
For more information on Zoe’s Place or to make a donation, click here.
A special edition of Liverpool’s official matchday programme has been released for the Champions League clash with FC Barcelona – and you can order it online now.
The commemorative version will also be available to purchase at Anfield and in official club stores.
Programme editor, Dave Cottrell, said: “The concept behind the cover art takes its inspiration from the colourful tile-shard mosaics found on modernist architecture in the city of Barcelona, notably in Gaudi's world-famous Park Güell, incorporating shades of Liverpool red and Barca's distinctive blue-and-garnet.”
Click here to order your copy now.
A formidable Liverpool performance is required tomorrow evening at Anfield as Jürgen Klopp's side strive to overturn a 3-0 deficit in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Barcelona.
Six days on from a Camp Nou clash that was much more even than the scoresheet – showing one goal for Luis Suarez and two for Lionel Messi – suggested, they meet again for the right to contest the final in Madrid next month.
After picking out three key battles for last week’s first match, we have chosen three different duels that could be pivotal to the outcome of this game and the tie…
Sadio Mane v Gerard Pique
History suggests Sadio Mane will score on Tuesday night.
The Senegal international was on target at least once in every single previous Champions League knockout tie Liverpool played last season and this – as well as against Real Madrid in the 2018 final.
With Roberto Firmino ruled out of the return with Barcelona due to injury and Mohamed Salah’s availability uncertain after the head injury he sustained at St. James’ Park on Saturday, much attacking responsibility will lay on Mane’s shoulders.
It bodes well, then, that he has scored seven goals in his past six outings at Anfield – including two in the 5-0 rout of Huddersfield Town last time out.
Whether the No.10, who has 24 strikes overall this term, is deployed in his usual left-sided position or switched into a more central role, he must get the better of Gerard Pique if the Reds are to chip away at their aggregate deficit.
A three-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, Pique has established himself as one of Europe’s most accomplished centre-halves since leaving Manchester United back in 2008 aged 21.
Now 32, the Spanish international is integral to his team’s approach with his refined style and confident use of the ball; his 90.9 per cent passing accuracy and 66 total passes were bettered only by teammate Sergio Busquets last Wednesday.
Fabinho v Ivan Rakitic
Few players exemplified Liverpool’s lack of fortune in the first leg more than Fabinho.
The Brazil midfielder executed a superbly-timed tackle on Messi in the build-up to Barcelona’s second goal only to see the ball wind up in the net anyway via Suarez’s knee, the crossbar and eventually Messi’s left boot.
Soon after, the No.3 was penalised for a foul after a collision with Messi and the Argentinian promptly slammed the subsequent free-kick into Alisson Becker’s top corner from 30 yards.
Those luckless moments aside, though, it was another assured showing by Fabinho, who started only one of the Reds’ Champions League group-stage games but has gone on to play all but 13 minutes of the five knockout fixtures so far.
He registered a team-high 46 passes in the opposition half at Camp Nou so the emphasis will be on him to maintain that composure back home in front of the Kop while also disrupting Barca’s rhythm in possession.
As they demonstrated in their 1-0 win over Manchester United last month at Old Trafford – where they scored in the 12th minute then saw the game out with 66 per cent possession – under Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona are now just as adept at taking the sting out of a match and sitting on a lead as they are slicing teams open.
And key to that passing style is Croatia international Ivan Rakitic.
The midfield all-rounder has started all 11 Champions League fixtures this season, spending 941 minutes on the pitch in total during which he has demonstrated the full range of his skillset.
In the Barca squad, only Busquets can better his numbers for passes attempted (863), passes completed (801) and distance covered (111km) in the competition.
“We want to be in the final in Madrid,” Rakitic commented before the first leg against Liverpool. “We know the last few years haven’t been great for us in this tournament, so we want to get there this year.”
Virgil van Dijk v Luis Suarez
So prolific in his three-and-a-half years as a Liverpool player before transferring to Barcelona, Suarez was always likely to play a prominent role in this tie and certainly made his mark in the opening leg, scoring the first goal and inadvertently setting up the second.
The Uruguayan’s hard-running performance on and off the ball at Camp Nou belied his status as the oldest member of Valverde’s starting XI.
Surprisingly, the 32-year-old had failed to find the scoresheet in eight prior Champions League appearances this term but put that right when he snuck in behind the Reds defence to apply a deft finish to Jordi Alba’s low cross in the 26th minute.
The 2018-19 PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Virgil van Dijk, will be keen to ensure there’s no repeat at Anfield and will also have to be wary of Suarez’s pressing when making his trademark runs out with the ball to get Liverpool on the front foot.
“We’re disappointed by the result on the scoresheet because I don’t think it says how the game was really,” said the Dutchman in the aftermath at Camp Nou.
“Obviously it’s 3-0 now and there’s a big job to do over at Anfield but we have shown throughout the season that we never give up so we have to just believe. We need everyone and we’ll see how it goes.”
Having notched a sixth goal of the season in Saturday’s 3-2 victory at Newcastle United, the Liverpool No.4 will hope to be a threat at the other end too.
Two of those contributions have come in Europe – clinical headers against Bayern Munich and FC Porto – and that set-piece threat could prove a valuable weapon against a Barcelona backline that has conceded only six goals in 11 Champions League outings.
In a season packed with dramatic moments, Divock Origi has claimed his fair share.
The latest may still prove the most crucial of all, with his 86th-minute winner at Newcastle United on Saturday night putting the pressure back on Manchester City as the most relentless of Premier League title races enters its final week.
Rising to meet fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick at St. James’ Park, the Belgium international flicked the ball off Jamaal Lascelles and into the net for a crucial 3-2 victory.
The result lifted the Reds back above City by two points ahead of their penultimate league fixture, at home to Leicester City on Monday night.
For Origi, the intervention – reminiscent of his winner in December’s Merseyside derby at Anfield – came by virtue of his aim to play with ‘a big heart’.
“I saw Shaq come on the outside and I always know that he will try to put [a good ball] in,” he explained to Liverpoolfc.com of the decisive incident on Tyneside.
“I just tried to make the run and just flick it as good as possible. It went in and I was just so happy, it’s just unbelievable.
“That’s the thing [with this team]. We’ve shown that we have a big heart and we want to fight for the three points.
“It’s the end of the season, we have a couple of injuries, so we wanted to show everyone that we are just a super team. The fans were behind us and that helped us get the three points.”
Whatever happens when City host Leicester this evening, the battle for Premier League glory will only be settled on the final day of the campaign.
Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions have the advantage but any falter would allow Liverpool to clinch the title by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.
The Reds’ current total of 94 points would have been sufficient to top the table and be crowned champions in 12 of the past 13 seasons.
“It’s incredible,” said Origi. “We can be proud of what we have done up until now and we have to use that to get the confidence to go into that last game and give it everything and try to win it.
“For now, we just have to wait and see what City do and regardless of what happens we still have important games. Anything can happen so we’ll try to make it as special as possible.”
Watch a portion of Liverpool's pre-match training session ahead of the Champions League tie with FC Barcelona via Facebook this afternoon.
Jürgen Klopp will oversee a workout for his squad on the eve of the semi-final second leg, beginning at around 4pm BST.
And you can check on their preparations with our live stream from Melwood – visit facebook.com/LiverpoolFC to watch.
Jürgen Klopp and a member of his squad will hold a pre-match press conference from 12pm BST today that you can watch live with us for free.
The Liverpool manager will be joined by a player to preview the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona tomorrow night.
See everything they have to say about the tie at Anfield by watching our live stream of the press conference via YouTube.
Simply return to this page shortly before 12pm to tune in.
Who has been Liverpool FC Women's star player in 2018-19? Have your say by voting to decide the Reds' Fans' Player of the Year.
Vicky Jepson's side conclude their campaign with a home Women's Super League match against Everton at Prenton Park next weekend.
The Reds reached the quarter-finals of the Women's FA Cup during the season, where they were defeated by eventual winners Manchester City, but fell at the group stage of the Continental Cup.
Cast your vote for LFC Women's Fans' Player of the Year below.
Divock Origi headed home a dramatic winner as Liverpool kept up their charge for the Premier League title with a vital 3-2 victory at Newcastle United on Saturday night.
Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah had scored first-half goals that were cancelled out by a determined Magpies side under Rafael Benitez.
But the Reds kept their nerve to clinch what could be a priceless three points at St. James' Park.
Here is what the media made of the match...
James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
This remarkable team Klopp has built simply refused to accept their fate. In the face of adversity, they rallied and delivered a thrilling late twist in the tale. Four minutes from time Xherdan Shaqiri whipped a free-kick into the box and fellow substitute Origi sent a glancing header goalwards to spark scenes of wild joy amongst the travelling Kop. It was a thrilling, torturous night in the North East. Rafa Benitez had vowed that there would be no favours for his old club and he was true to his word as a resurgent Newcastle pushed Liverpool all the way. The sense of tension was unbearable during a nerve-shredding finale but the Reds got over the line. Once again when their backs were against the wall, they found a way to win under immense pressure. The character they have shown all season has been breathtaking.
Neil Jones, Goal.com
For the first time in five years, the Premier League title race will go to the final day of the season. Liverpool are still in there fighting, but only just. On the ground where Manchester City suffered their last league loss, Jurgen Klopp’s side kept their dream alive in the most dramatic of fashion. St James’ Park produced one of the most remarkable nights of the campaign. What is it about this fixture? The Reds’ 3-2 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park moves them back to the top of the table, but only tells half the story of this nerve-shredding evening. Asked question after question, Liverpool once more found the answers. What must Manchester City make of this team? Where does it find its energy reserves, its courage, its character? Whoever lifts that trophy next weekend, we should applaud and appreciate them. These are two special football sides.
Phil McNulty, BBC
The Premier League title race deserves to go the final kick of this relentless, spectacular confrontation between Liverpool and Manchester City. It will now do exactly that after Jurgen Klopp's side showed heart, nerve and resilience to prevail against Newcastle on a thunderous night on Tyneside. With the margins in this titanic title battle so thin all season, this is the first round of matches where the destination of the Premier League trophy could have been decided. So, with the pressure at its most acute, the question of who would blink first loomed large over Jurgen Klopp's side at St James' Park. As they were being held 2-2 by the Magpies with five minutes remaining, it looked like it might be Liverpool. That was until a flick of substitute Origi's head gave them victory, put them back on top of the table and means the scenery shifts to Manchester City's meeting with Leicester at Etihad Stadium on Monday. Klopp's team is a threat as long as any game is in progress. Liverpool have demonstrated that time and again, but they needed to excavate deep into their character to get through this one. Klopp's substitutions have played a key role in their success, with 12 Premier League goals coming from substitutes this season, more than any other team.
David Lynch, Evening Standard
As well as their countless other qualities, this Liverpool team possesses a rare sort of mental strength. While City have spent the last few months cruising into victories earned through early goals and domination of possession, their opponents in the title race have had to work a little harder. But they have a manager who never countenances giving up and, during his time at Anfield, he has instilled that throughout the squad he has built. In going on to win despite countless setbacks at St James’ Park, the Reds showed that once again.
Simon Hughes, Independent
It was another incredible game of unscripted outrageous entertainment, with Liverpool meeting problems and finding a way out. If they do not win the league, it is not because of heart or belief. When Liverpool’s winner flew in with four minutes of normal time remaining, a selection of former Liverpool players leapt from their seats in the press box. One was Robbie Fowler and another was Sander Westerveld. Jan Molby hugged his Danish co-worker a little way behind. Most of Liverpool’s technical staff were on the pitch by now, their fists reaching into the night air.
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have made Premier League history with their incredible haul of assists this season.
Alexander-Arnold created two Liverpool goals in Saturday night’s 3-2 victory at Newcastle United to increase his league tally to 11 in 2018-19.
The No.66 whipped in a corner for Virgil van Dijk to put the visitors ahead at St. James’ Park and then dug out a sublime cross that Mohamed Salah nudged into the net.
Alexander-Arnold therefore emulated fellow Reds full-back Robertson, who reached double figures for league assists earlier in the campaign.
It is the first time in Premier League history that two defenders from the same side have provided 10 or more assists each in a single season.
Indeed, only two defenders had ever achieved the feat before the Liverpool duo: Leighton Baines (11) in 2010-11 and Andy Hinchcliffe (11) in 1994-95.