Football Features

Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool: Every player rated as Luis Suarez comes back to haunt former club

By Steve Jennings

Published: 22:05, 1 May 2019

Barcelona will take a 3-0 lead to Anfield for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool.

Luis Suarez struck against his former club midway through the first half at the Nou Camp before Lionel Messi doubled the La Liga giants’ advantage after the break. The Argentinian then made it 3-0 with a stunning free-kick.

Liverpool enjoyed spells of dominance but will rue their failure to grab an away goal after creating a few meaningful chances.

Here’s how every player rated on the night.

Barcelona

Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 7 – Kept his concentration and made important saves at the beginning of the second half.

Sergi Roberto – 5 – Offered nowhere near the same threat as the full-back on the other side. Beaten by the pace of Robertson and Mane until Semedo came on to help.

Gerard Pique – 7 – A composed presence at the back for Barcelona. Not a lot got past him throughout the course of the game.

Clement Lenglet – 5 – Was left exposed to Salah by Alba’s high positioning. Received a yellow card and never looked fully comfortable.

Jordi Alba – 7 – His vision and inch-perfect cross created the opening goal. Didn’t help Lenglet much but was probably instructed to join the attack whenever possible.

Sergio Busquets – 7 – So, so cool and calm in possession, allowing him to get Barcelona out of Liverpool’s press.

Ivan Rakitic – 6 – The quietest of Barcelona’s midfielders but helped Barcelona out of pressure in the final stages with his accurate passing.

Arturo Vidal – 6 – Didn’t move the ball along quickly enough during slick Barcelona moves. Wasted a good opportunity when put through by Messi down the left. Made himself useful with some important tackles.

Philippe Coutinho – 4 – Perhaps tried a little too hard to impress against his former club. Hooked on the hour after the fans had jeered him when he lost possession a couple of times.

Lionel Messi – 9 – Liverpool struggled to get near him in the first half. His influence waned after the break until a quick-fire brace – including an exquisite free-kick – put Barcelona firmly in control of the tie.

Luis Suarez – 7 – Peeled off the Liverpool centre-backs brilliantly for his opener, which he finished with unerring composure. Buzzed about constantly but was given little service in the second half. Messi got him off the hook after his miss before the second goal.

Substitutes

Nelson Semedo – 6 – Replaced Coutinho. Slotted into the back four and doubled up with Roberto on Liverpool’s left side while providing an outlet on the counter.

Ousmane Dembele – N/A – Brought on to waste seconds in stoppage time. Missed a sitter with the last kick.

Carlos Alena-N/A – Also a stoppage time arrival.

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Liverpool

Alisson – 6 – Could do little about the first two goals. At a stretch, he could be criticised for his positioning for the free-kick.

Joe Gomez – 5 – Didn’t provide much attacking threat and his crossing was inconsistent when he did manage to get forward.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – Did the little things well but will be disappointed about letting Suarez peel off easily for the opener. The scoreline didn’t fully reflect Liverpool’s relatively good defensive display.

Joel Matip – 6 – May also have been guilty for standing still on the first goal. Made some useful last-ditch interceptions.

Andrew Robertson – 7 – Produced a timely goal-stopping challenge to prevent an early Messi breakthrough and a later Dembele chance. Showed some admirable athleticism by getting up and down the pitch.

Fabinho – 5 – Was waltzed past by Barcelona’s tricky attackers a bit too often. Could have dropped into the back line to give the centre-backs a little more support.

James Milner – 6 – Kept Liverpool ticking over but his final ball was sometimes a little off. Not enough conviction in his two shots – he should have done better with the second one.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5 –  Played an unfamiliar role at the tip of a diamond, often functioning as a false nine. Didn’t offer a goal threat and was eventually substituted for Firmino.

Naby Keita – N/A – Started relatively brightly but limped off before the 20-minute mark with a groin injury.

Sadio Mane – 6 – Struck fear into the Barcelona defence with his direct runs in the first half. Missed a great chance to score at 1-0 but showed a lack of composure and got gradually quieter.

Mohamed Salah – 6 – Gave Lenglet a hard time by taking advantage of the room behind Alba. Didn’t find room for a shot until the second half. Some clever touches and incisive dribbles but missed a huge chance he’d usually bury – could be costly.

Substitutes

Jordan Henderson – 6 – Replaced Keita after 20 minutes. Gave Liverpool the impetus with some driving runs. Could have been a little more accurate with his deliveries.

Roberto Firmino – N/A – Massively unfortunate to see a late chance cleared off the line.

Divock Origi – N/A – Barely touched the ball in a short cameo.

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