Liverpool vs. Barcelona : Klopp’s Army vs. The Catalan Giants
Klopp vs Valverde. Salah vs Messi. Van Dijk vs Umtiti
A week tomorrow we face FC Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League and for the first time competitively since the 2006/2007 season. We all remember the first leg for the infamous Bellamy celebration.
Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise had a bust up whilst the team had been away in the Algarve prior to playing Barcelona and as the story goes Bellamy had used a golf club to attack Riise in his sleep because of a minor altercation at dinner.
The first leg in the Camp Nou had finished Barcelona 1 Liverpool 2, which was a massive scalp of the Spanish Giants as they had been the reigning holders. Barca had taken the lead through Deco after he met a Zambrotta cross with a header, but Bellamy drew the game level before the stroke of half time.
With the young and raw Lionel Messi struggling to make a major impact due to his marker Alvaro Arbeloa keeping him at bay, Liverpool struck again this time through none other than John Arne Riise. The second leg in Anfield was a tough game for all involved as Barca had scored an away goal through Eidur Gudjohnsen but Liverpool held out for the victory through the away goal rule.
So now that we’re up to date with our last Champions League outing with Barca, let’s look at how things stand at the moment for both teams. Barcelona are unbeaten in their last five league games, with three wins and two draws. Liverpool on the other hand have however also been unbeaten in their last five league games but with five wins.
Who has the upper hand you ask? Well that my friends is the million dollar question, Liverpool got through the last round vs FC Porto pretty much unscathed whilst Barca had it handy vs a very lacklustre Manchester United.
I personally think this test for Klopp and Co will be the hardest we’ve faced over the last two seasons in the champions league, our players are now facing a seasoned Lionel Messi who is without a shadow of a doubt the best player to ever grace a football field and a man on a mission to retrieve his Ballon d’Or after it was awarded to Luka Modric last time around.
We do however have a resurgent Mohamed Salah who has potentially got his own quest, in terms of silencing all the moronic people who wrote him off this season and also to win a trophy that he missed out on proper challenging for last season because of his injury in the final.
“It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, it’s about the right ball.” – Bob Paisley