Liverpool travel to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday night, and if the two club’s domestic form is anything to go by, fans are in for a treat.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are looking to return to the Champions League final after finishing runners up to Real Madrid last season, having spent a long spell in the wilderness.
Meanwhile, Barcelona will be hoping to secure a sixth Champions League title, moving them one ahead of Liverpool in the all-time rankings, with Lionel Messi looking for number five for himself.
Ahead of the Camp Nou clash, Statman Dave has tackled all of the major talking points…
Klopp’s men have been playing free-flowing football in both the Champions League and Premier League this season, something which has helped them in their quest for glory.
Recently, no team has really looked like hurting them, meaning Liverpool have been able to attack with minimum risk to their Virgil van Dijk-led defence.
But now they face Barcelona and one of the best players in football history: Messi. This gives Klopp a hard question he must find the answer to.
Do Liverpool proceed and attack, or sit and and look to exploit Barcelona’s own weaknesses?
And do Barcelona go in for the kill as they did against Manchester United, or wait patiently to prevent an away goal?
Barcelona’s unusual formation plays a lot into the strengths of Messi and Luis Suarez.
The Argentinian best affects the games when he is given a free roam, with the potential to move out wide, changing Barcelona’s attack to three-man alongside former Reds pair Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.
Sergio Busquets also remains integral to Barcelona’s passing play, able to help build from the back.
Jurgen Klopp should continue with his 4-3-3 system, with Naby Keita pressing high as part of the three-man midfield while still adding some cover in defence.
Despite their prolificacy in attack, Liverpool’s best offence comes from their overlapping full-backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson ready to get forward constantly to hurt their hosts.
The biggest question for Barcelona’s team is who starts at right back, with Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto fighting for a place in the team.
Otherwise, the Spanish giants have no other injury problems – aside from Rafinha – and were able to rest Messi and Coutinho at the weekend.
Liverpool, meanwhile are sweating on the fitness of Roberto Firmino, who missed their 5-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town on Friday – though the Brazilian is still expected to start.
And the Reds will also be boosted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to fitness, and the Englishman could be available from the bench.
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