It’s not everyday a team overturns a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona over two legs. Whenever it happens in football, it’s a rare occurrence.
Going into their semi-final second leg clash against Barcelona, there is every reason for all Liverpool fans to doubt. The players and managers are not left out. There will be more questions than answers as Lionel Messi and co. visit England for their return leg.
“How do we stop Messi from getting one or more away goals?”
“What’s the answer to stop sneaky Suarez?”
“Vidal was Valverde’s tireless marker in the first leg. How do we get past him?”
“How can we more clinical, as quickly as possible, in the second leg?”
“How can we take advantage of Barca’s full-backs on the counter?”
It’s easy to say Jurgen Klopp and his team will be well past regretting the missed chances by now. Their Newcastle win during the weekend must have been a huge boost for them; a win Klopp described as a victory of “passion, heart and desire.”
The Premier League title chase is still on. Now to find a way past Leo, Valverde, Marc ter Stegen and win a trip to Madrid for the Champions League final.
However, they’re well behind in this tie. How can the Reds go about charting their course to the final?
What are the things they must do in this second leg clash?
1. Avoid the Deadly Away Goal BY ALL MEANS
It’s true that the Mane and Salah were all guilty of wasting chances in the first leg. Furthermore, it’s important that they be as clinical as possible in this second leg clash.
However, and this is probably the most important thing to be done, THEY MUST NOT CONCEDE against Barcelona.
Looking back the first leg, this may be an impossible fest to achieve, considering how Messi and Suarez operate.
They seem unstoppable. And after being rested in Barcelona’s 2-0 loss to Celta Vigo, they will be raring to go.
Nevertheless, there is still hope for Liverpool if they do the following:
- Not play Henderson at all (this is really important)
- Virgil van Dijk has to combine shadow marking and making calculated tackles
- Avoid conceding free-kicks around the 18-yard area
- Keep Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto busy
2. Score an Early Goal
While keeping the Catalans at bay, Liverpool have to find a way past Pique and co. This is not particularly hard taking their performance in the first leg into consideration.
The Barcelona defense was there for the taking the whole time! All the Reds needed to do was put the ball in the onion bag.
All that’s water under the bridge now.
They need to be fly off the blocks as quickly as possible. A goal in the first 15 – 20 minutes of the game will do two things:
• Will cause an uproar in the Anfield stands. What’s usually a loud stadium will get even louder as the fans get excitedly behind their side
• The Barcelona players won’t be as confident, especially if they let in two quick goals
With Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino set to miss this clash, what lies ahead is an Herculean task.
However, it’s not impossible.
3. Play The Game of Their Lives
Liverpool needed to dig deep against Newcastle to maintain their title charge. They will need that kind of spirit and much more. Barça knows what’s coming. They know what Anfield can be like on a good day.
Klopp’s men have to make sure they get the shock of their lives from the first blast of the whistle to the last of the game.
Remember the way Manchester City player Liverpool early this year? That 2-1 win? The Reds need to take a leaf from that game and go all in. Yes, they have to watch their backs. However, they need to play this game like it’s their last.
They need to play like a side whose trophy cabinet is hungry for new additions.
Does Liverpool have what it takes to pull off a very unlikely comeback against Barcelona? Drop your comments and let me know what you think.
Author: For The Goal
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