Liverpool host Barcelona on Tuesday night aiming to overturn a damaging 3-0 first-leg defeat and reach the Champions League final.
Despite the Camp Nou scoreline, Jurgen Klopp’s side actually played reasonably well but were sucker-punched by an excellent Barcelona side who boast the supreme talent of Lionel Messi.
The Argentine scored twice last week and will want to inflict more damage on the Premier League side alongside two former Liverpool stars Luis Suarez – who scored (and celebrated) last time out – and Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
Statman Dave has tackled the major talking points ahead of Tuesday’s second leg…
With the score heavily against them, the Reds will know that they will need a bright start if they are going to compete in their second successive Champions League final.
Both teams are all about pace, movement and providing high-pressure on the opposition’s defence but Klopp’s squad will know that they will have to work twice as hard as the La Liga champions.
Barcelona may well allow Liverpool to enjoy the majority of possession and wait for the right opportunity to pounce on the counter-attack, with one more goal surely more than enough to seal their passage through to the final.
In Spain, Liverpool went with their well-rehearsed 4-3-3 formation with a flat back four shielded by a tough-tackling and hard-working midfield three.
In the absence of Roberto Firmino, Klopp utilised Georginio Wijnaldum in a more forward position to support wingers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. This time around, both Firmino and Salah will be out, meaning Klopp has a selection dilemma on his hands.
Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri will all be hopeful they have done enough to start.
The Catalans will likely stick with the same 4-4-2 formation that did so well against the Reds, with Messi given his usual ‘roaming’ role and Sergio Busquets providing superb protection in front of the Barca defence.
It has been revealed that two of Liverpool’s star front-three aren’t going to be involved in this second leg. Salah went off against Newcastle United with a concussion and despite hopes that he would return, Klopp has confirmed his absence.
Firmino has struggled to return to fitness and, despite a brief outing at the Camp Nou, is unavailable for selection this time around.
Both Ousmane Dembélé and Todibo are absent due to injury and will stay in Barcelona but the Catalans still have healthy options at their disposal due to the luxury of being able to rest players over the weekend.
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