A 3:0 defeat at Camp Nou put Jürgen Klopp and his men in an unenviable position, which will see Liverpool chasing a 3 goal deficit in the 2nd leg at Anfield on Tuesday.
Liverpool returned from Spain with a disappointing result, which raised some concern about their chances to reach the finals of UCL for the 2nd year in a row. Should Liverpool stand a chance to catch up to Barcelona at Anfield, they will need to forge a good plan which will result in them defeating Barcelona by 3 goals without conceding one. This while seeming like an impossible task does bring us back in time to UCL finals in 2005.
Should Liverpool manage to upset Barcelona at Anfield, their confidence will play a huge part. After a painful defeat in Spain, where Messi scored 2 goals in the span of 7 minutes, Liverpool morale surely took a hit… or at least it may seem like it at first glance. How effected the team really is, is something we can only speculate, however listening to the Liverpool players, they look more determined to win than ever. In an interview, the Reds defender, Andy Robertson ensured his team will not stop pushing and playing on the highest level despite the brutal defeat in Barcelona. He stated:
“We are near the end of the season but we’ve got three, hopefully, four games left. We’ve no time to have a hangover now.”
“We need to go strong into the Newcastle game first and we need to get our bodies, first and foremost, ready and then go again because we can’t let our foot off the gas. We need the three points and push Manchester City the whole way. Newcastle is our full concentration now.”
The Liverpool team as a whole seem very positive heading into the remaining matches in EPL and the 2nd leg against Barcelona, which by some may seem confusing. At the end of the day, Liverpool lost 3:0, which is more or less decided the finalist of UCL. While that is true, the final score hardly represented the performance of the teams. It would be hard to deny Barcelona were the overall better side, however, they were not “3 goals better”. Liverpool players seem to agree with that, and feel like they were” luckless” in Spain, but at the same time respect the genius of Lionel Messi, who singlehandedly made their chances of advancing very slim. He will also be the man to stop on Tuesday. The defensive tower of Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk expressed his respect for the Argentinian superstar, who by his words is unstoppable when he produces his best form. In an interview with Spanish outlet Sport, Virgil van Dijk stated:
“I’m grateful that I’m not in Spain and I don’t have to face him every season. He scored two goals and I leave very disappointed,” to which he added:
“He won the battle but not the war.”
From what we have heard from Liverpool players and even their coach, Jürgen Klopp, they are not ready to give up. While some teams would already start waving their white flags, “the Reds” seem to be hungry for a comeback, which they all believe can happen. This while looking like an excessive optimism for some is a great trait for a team to have, and one of the traits that make Liverpool one of the best clubs in the world.
While believing is one thing and doing the other, we can be sure that Thursday’s match will bring the best out of both teams. But we still haven’t answered the burning question: Is it possible for Liverpool to defeat Barcelona and advance into the finals? We will leave the answer to Milner who stated:
“If it’s possible anywhere then it is possible at Anfield”