FC Barcelona v Liverpool: Live matchday blog
Barcelona took a three-goal lead over Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final with victory at Camp Nou.
- Suarez gave Barcelona first-half lead
- Messi double increased advantage
- Reds trail 3-0 ahead of Anfield second leg
Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool
Not Liverpool's night at Camp Nou as goals from Suarez and Messi (two) give Barcelona a strong advantage ahead of next week's second leg at Anfield.
Barcelona surge clear from a Liverpool corner with only Robertson back and the Scot does exceptionally to block off Suarez's eventual attempt.
Dembele and Alena replace Suarez and Roberto.
Five minutes added on at Camp Nou.
Origi on for Milner.
Liverpool strike back and a defensive mix-up presents Firmino with a chance - his low shot is cleared off the line and Salah directs the rebound off the right post.
Goal - Messi
From the Barcelona free-kick, Messi unleashes a curler from distance that sails into the top corner past Alisson's reach.
Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool
Fabinho is shown a yellow card.
And Suarez follows him into the book.
On comes Firmino for Wijnaldum.
Goal - Messi
It's harsh on Liverpool but the home side double their lead.
Robertson denies Roberto with a last-ditch tackle in the box but after Suarez's follow-up comes back off the bar, Messi is left with a simple task to send the ball into an empty net.
Barcelona 2-0 Liverpool
Heading into the final 15 minutes at Camp Nou...
Crucial defending from Matip, who is enjoying an excellent game, to recover and steal the ball back from Suarez as the forward tries to race in behind and meet Messi's pass.
Back come Barca and Messi picks out Vidal with time and space on the left-hand side, but his cross is shut off by Van Dijk at the expense of a corner - which comes to nothing.
Semedo replaces Coutinho for Barcelona.
Liverpool are playing really well now - a long Van Dijk pass is perfectly controlled by Salah on the right, his square is dummied by Wijnaldum in the box and the arriving Milner sends his shot too close to the goalkeeper.
Patient build-up from Mane springs Robertson in the area and the left-back's delivery reaches Salah, whose low drive from 20 yards is tipped out by the diving Ter Stegen.
Confident start to the second half by Liverpool, who are regaining and using possession quickly and impressively in the early exchanges.
Unlucky for Liverpool.
Great approach work by Salah and Wijnaldum to keep a move alive in the box sees the ball moved to Milner in shooting space from the left - but his shot is palmed away by Ter Stegen.
Suarez kicks off for Barcelona.
Come on, Liverpool!
The teams are back out and the second half is about to begin...
The stats from the first 45 minutes at Camp Nou...
Barcelona 1-0 Liverpool
A frantic half of football ends with the hosts one goal ahead, provided by Suarez. But there has been encouragement for Liverpool here and they'll hope to bag an away goal in the second period.
Lenglet is booked for a foul on Salah.
A big one.
Henderson's precise forward pass from the right channel cuts out the Barca backline and matches Mane's surge into space - but the No.10 can't control his left-footed finish at pace and it's over the bar.
The home side are naturally in the ascendancy now and Fabinho has to make a timely saving tackle in the box to prevent Coutinho from firing another dangerous Alba cross at goal.
Goal - Suarez
But there's a breakthrough for Barcelona.
A quick move down the left hastens when Alba swings in a low cross to find Suarez in between defenders and the Uruguayan knocks the ball over Alisson.
Barcelona 1-0 Liverpool
Liverpool are finding space down the left-hand side, with Robertson and Mane both getting free in the box after slick moves along that flank in recent minutes. Klopp's men are asserting themselves well so far.
Henderson is now on for the injured Keita.
Keita is down for a second time in the match, this time receiving extended treatment from the LFC medical team.
Henderson is quickly out to warm up.
Doesn't get much better than this !! Semi-final @championsleague FC Barcelona vs Liverpool FC !! #MoreThanaGame… https://t.co/DacOJiEDbS— luchogarcia14 (Luis Garcia) 1st May 19:23
It's end to end at the moment and Messi is finding a little joy when running with the ball. On this occasion, it comes out to Coutinho and his curler is collected comfortably by Alisson.
Immediately at the other end, Salah sets off on a fantastic dribble, carrying the ball to the edge of the box and just failing to find Mane with a through ball inside the defence.
Barcelona almost carve Liverpool open as Alba breaks free along the left flank and sends in a cross towards Messi in the middle - Robertson recovers brilliantly to thwart him and subsequent appeals for a handball against Matip are rejected.
👊👊 #LIVBAR #UCL https://t.co/En3AWhQaoA— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 19:09
Salah runs at Barcelona in the early stages.
Liverpool are using a very fluid formation so far, with Wijnaldum actually the most advanced of all players and Mane and Salah either side of him on the flanks.
Milner is also dropping into a deeper role on the right, with Gomez tucking into central defence, when the Reds come under pressure.
Rakitic completes a one-two with Coutinho and raids the Liverpool area, looking to cut inside but Matip recovers to snuff out the midfielder's pull-back and concede a corner that comes to nothing.
Early sight of goal for Salah, who wriggles dangerously in from the left edge of the Barca box but his efforts are crowded out. Unlucky.
Analyse the game as it happens with the interactive Opta chalkboard below...
We're under way!
Liverpool kick us off at Camp Nou.
Come on, lads!
Here come the two teams and we've got an atmosphere inside Camp Nou.
And now that Champions League anthem.
We're moments away from kick-off in this semi-final...
The travelling Reds are making their voices heard over the pre-match din inside Camp Nou - the away section is in the highest areas of the famous stadium.
Liverpool's warm-up is now complete, they've returned to the dressing room for the very final preparations before the action begins in Barcelona.
Time to warm up at Camp Nou. 👊🔴 #UCL https://t.co/FWCaC1e7DO— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 18:32
UP THE REDS. 🔴🔴 #UCL https://t.co/fAwzZRdo9F— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 18:21
Klopp explains selection decisions
Jürgen Klopp has detailed the reasoning behind the decision to make four changes to his starting line-up for tonight's game - and name Roberto Firmino on the bench after injury.
Read what the boss had to say by clicking here.
Inside our dressing room at Camp Nou. 👌 #UCL https://t.co/QX7FZsgLTn— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 17:55
How Opta see it...
Here come the Reds. 🙌🔴 #UCL https://t.co/AFNuvaq5mx— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 17:51
Inside the dressing room...
...of the visitors at Camp Nou.
Two famous clubs. Two huge histories. Two amazing fanbases. So many Brazilian connections and great players on the… https://t.co/4fE0njUGNZ— officialcafu (Cafu.) 1st May 17:47
🔵🔴 XI Barça ⚽ #BarçaLFC— FCBarcelona (FC Barcelona (from 🏠)) 1st May 17:37
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Vidal, Busquets, Rakitic, Coutinho, Suarez, Messi.
There are four changes for Liverpool for tonight's clash with Barcelona, including a start for Joe Gomez.
Joel Matip, Fabinho and James Milner also return, while Roberto Firmino is on the bench.
Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah.
Subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Firmino, Henderson, Shaqiri, Origi, Alexander-Arnold.
As ever, we'll be bringing you live commentary on tonight's game - Steve Hunter will be joined by the incomparable John Aldridge to call the action at Camp Nou.
Click here to tune in.
We'll have the confirmed Liverpool team news right here at around 6.45pm BST (7.45pm local time), as well as the Barcelona line-up too.
11 - This is Liverpool’s 11th appearance in the European Cup/Champions League semi-finals – they’ve progressed from… https://t.co/7nxTssacCx— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 1st May 17:08
Big night ahead... https://t.co/DqIA7iCcmq— James_Carroll84 (James Carroll) 1st May 16:21
Tonight's venue. 👌 #UCL https://t.co/MjRFMiBPfp— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 16:19
What a venue...
'Wow' was Mohamed Salah's description of this semi-final showdown with Barcelona as the Liverpool No.11 looked ahead to the tie in an interview with Bleacher Report.
"Especially because the next game is against Barcelona," he said of his excitement for the Champions League. "It's something very huge to play against Barcelona in the semi-final - wow.
"We are the only team in the semi-final [again] from last season, that's something very big also for us as players and a team. That shows how much we are improving."
Hear more from Salah and get all the latest news from Barcelona in LFC News below...
Jamie Webster x @VirgilvDijk Barcelona https://t.co/EmiQuof3U8— danielnicolson (Daniel Nicolson) 1st May 15:53
'I'm supporting football!'
Liverpoolfc.com bumped into Luis Garcia at the entrance to Camp Nou and the former Reds attacker insisted he can't choose between his two old clubs tonight.
"I'm supporting football," said the popular Spaniard, who helped Liverpool lift the Champions League in 2005, with a smile. "[I'll go for] a draw!"
What are the odds?
BetVictor is offering the following match prices.
Barcelona - 20/21
Draw - 11/4
Liverpool - 3/1
Click here for more details.
MATCHDAY!🔥Big match in #Barcelona tonight! 🙌🏾 Are you ready Reds!! 💪🏾🔴 #UCL 🏆 https://t.co/ct1WWnLuCb— GWijnaldum (Gini Wijnaldum) 1st May 14:41
🔴 Allez, Allez, Allez. Away day ready in Barcelona. #ThisMeansMore #NBFootball @LFC https://t.co/5wXyyq1MVc— NBFootball (New Balance Football) 1st May 14:30
WOW. 😱 Sadio's STUNNER from the Allianz Arena, earlier in our #UCL campaign. 😍 https://t.co/dUYFpV9bnC— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 14:29
Van Dijk v Messi
It's a battle many are looking forward to this evening: the newly-crowned PFA Players' Player of the Year, Van Dijk, up against Barcelona's talisman Messi.
So, how does the Liverpool No.4 intend to stop the Argentinian superstar?
"I think he is the best player in the world, I have said that before," said Van Dijk.
"But you see how we play, how we defend, we don't defend one-vs-one, we defend all together and we attack all together as well so we will see, we will be ready.
"It is not only him, the whole team has a lot of quality and we will prepare well and that is what we are going to do. We have also a very good team so we can compete there as well so it is not like we are going there for a holiday or something."
Impress your mates with these before kick-off...
- Jürgen Klopp has not lost any of his 10 European knockout ties as Liverpool manager
- The Reds have won three of their four European semi-finals against Spanish opposition
- Roberto Firmino has 16 European goals for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has 15 and Sadio Mane 14.
- Lionel Messi has been on the losing side in only one of 31 knockout matches at Camp Nou - against Liverpool in 2007
The road to Madrid
It's two steps away now...
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@luchogarcia14 he drinks sangria ... 🎶🍷🇪🇸 . . . . . #olscredfellas #redfellas #olscbranch #austria #wegoagain #liverpool #lfc #liverpoolfc #anfield #thekop #kopites #lfcdaily #lfcfans #lfcfamily #lfcnews #thereds #upthereds #ynwa #anfield #travellingkop #ucl #championsleague #barliv #matchday #travelling #merseyside #liverbird #barcelona #allezallezallez #roadtomadrid #bcn
And inside the BOSS event
Currently under way in Barcelona...
Out in Barcelona
Mauricio Pellegrino is better placed than most to give his assessment of this semi-final tie - the Argentinian having played for and managed against both clubs.
So, we spoke to the former centre-back, who coached his current side Leganes to a win over Barcelona last September, ahead of tonight's match.
"Not too many teams in the world have got the many talents of Liverpool and Barcelona. I cannot chose one of them, I cannot!" Pellegrino told Liverpoolfc.com.
"Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, for example, are players that in one action can kill the game. Liverpool have got Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane - and it's the same! It's difficult to analyse the match.
"The game is 50-50 because both teams are really good with different profile of players, different styles.
"Both the teams have got the same chance now."
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First team photo on match day... #LFC #YNWA #PatsBoysOnTour #PatsBoysOnAEuropeanTour #EssexReds #LIVERPOOLFC #barcelona #liverpoolbloggers #awaydays #europeanaways #liverpoolfans #londonstansted #football #wegoagain #championsleague #prematch #seethroughmyeyes #travel #travelblogger #wegoagain #footballstories #uefachampionsleague #travelwithme #wanderlust #creatingmemories #WeAreLiverpool #thismeansmore #championsleaguesemifinals
Liverpool FC statement
Liverpool Football Club is working with Merseyside Police and the authorities in Spain, who are endeavouring to identify those involved in the incident.
Such behaviour is clearly totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
It would be inappropriate to comment further while the situation is ongoing other than to confirm the club will follow due process in any and all cases of this nature.
Last time out
Liverpool warmed up for the trip to Barcelona with an emphatic 5-0 home win against Huddersfield last Friday - and a certain Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his long-awaited return to first-team action at Anfield.
See the story of that match below...
Did you know?
There'll be no moving tonight's kick-off time, with fans around the world counting down the hours until the action begins.
But, believe it or not, Barcelona v Liverpool in 2001 was delayed... for UK soap opera EastEnders.
The climax of a five-week whodunnit regarding key character Phil Mitchell on the long-running show meant an extended episode ahead of the match in Spain and, at the request of the BBC, a later 8.15pm start in the sides' UEFA Cup semi-final first leg.
The boss was eager to balance healthy respect for Barcelona and Camp Nou with the sense of opportunity for Liverpool tonight, when he spoke to the media yesterday.
"You don't want to avoid difficult games in football, you want to have them because that means you play for something – and that's what we do. It's not a problem," he said.
"Will we be perfect? For sure not, that's not possible. Will we make mistakes? Yes. Will we suffer? Yes, 100 per cent. Will there be moments when we have a chance? Oh, 100 per cent. [Will we] use them? I hope so, that's what we try to do.
"We can be completely free to play that game. I know people make of it that we became better in the last couple of years and - maybe not here - but people say Barcelona are not the Barcelona anymore without Xavi and Iniesta or whatever.
"It is a brilliant team here and we are [for] the first year or the second year a little bit in contention, but they are here for maybe 20 years. It will be so difficult, but I couldn't be more excited about having the opportunity to play it.
"That's what I hope I can transport to my players - that they feel the same. Let's play football."
Important information for fans
Supporters in Barcelona for tonight's match should note that due to a public holiday, local public transport will operate at a reduced service.
Travel to the stadium could therefore take up to 45 minutes, so fans are encouraged to plan journeys in advance and arrive at Camp Nou early.
Last time at Camp Nou
Fair to say it was an unforgettable night when Liverpool last played at this venue, in February 2007.
Despite trailing to an early Deco goal, Rafael Benitez's Reds found a way to win through strikes from Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise.
Relive the best of the game below...
Take a look at all the numbers behind Barcelona and Liverpool's journey to the last four below.
The La Liga giants have eliminated Lyon and Manchester United in the knockout stages after topping a group containing Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven.
Robbo v Messi
Andy Robertson discussed the prospect of stopping Lionel Messi in a pre-match interview with UEFA - and the Liverpool left-back feels the challenge has to be met by the collective.
"We need to defend in packs, but the problem is that it's not just him," he said.
"If you keep him quiet, then you've got [Philippe] Coutinho, who we all know well, you've got [Luis] Suarez and people like that who can cause you problems.
"So it's not about keeping one man quiet, it's about keeping the whole team quiet, and that'll be the hardest thing for us."
*Weather update from Barcelona*
This will perhaps represent one of the more predictable official Liverpoolfc.com matchday blog weather updates of the season.
It's a lovely morning in Barcelona, with a touch of cloud interspersing the blue skies above the city.
The current temperature is 18 degrees and that is expected to drop only slightly by kick-off (9pm local time).
Liverpool's last two European trips have seen Klopp's men claim comprehensive victories, a 3-1 win at Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 followed by a 4-1 result over FC Porto in the quarter-finals.
Get in the mood for the next adventure with the inside stories of those ties below...
Three key battles
There'll be world-class talent across the pitch tonight, of course, but we've picked out three particular individual duels that could be crucial to the final outcome - featuring Messi, Salah, Busquets and more...
Click here to read our preview.
The Reds will undertake a training session after breakfast in Barcelona this morning before resting back at the team hotel in the final hours before they make the journey to Camp Nou for the match.
Having trained at Melwood on Tuesday morning, which you can take a look at below, the players had a walk around Camp Nou upon arrival from their two-hour flight to Spain.
Did you know?
Sadio Mane could create LFC history tonight.
A goal for the Senegal forward would take his 2018-19 tally to 25, level with Mohamed Salah, and mean for the first time ever the Reds would have two players reach that total in successive seasons - after Salah (44) and Roberto Firmino (27) last term.
So, what we do we know ahead of kick-off?
Roberto Firmino travelled with the 23-man Liverpool squad that set off for Barcelona yesterday, having missed the win over Huddersfield Town due to a slight muscle tear. Klopp intends to make a decision on the No.9's availability later today.
Fabinho also made the journey and is fully fit, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster are with the team in Spain, too.
Lionel Messi, who clinched the La Liga title for Barcelona on Saturday with a goal as a substitute, is ready to face Liverpool after being rested recently.
"Messi has been rested but we've had three league games within seven days, we've had the games with Manchester United and it's been a very heavy workload," said coach Ernesto Valverde.
The manager and Mane
Jürgen Klopp and Sadio Mane faced a packed-out press conference inside Camp Nou shortly after touching down in Barcelona on Tuesday evening. Catch up with everything they had to say about the match, Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and much more below...
'The great night'
So reads the front page of Sport here in Barcelona this morning, which carries more than 20 pages of build-up to the big game tonight.
Here's how the Catalan daily newspaper predicts the sides will line up at Camp Nou...
Third time the charm?
Fourteen English teams have tried to beat Barcelona at Camp Nou.
Only one has done it. Twice.
🔴 #UCL SEMI-FINAL DAY 🔴 BIG European night ahead at the Camp Nou ⭐️ #ThisMeansMore https://t.co/gAaQpml2NP— LFC (Liverpool FC) 1st May 06:16
Hello from Barcelona, where Liverpool are readying for the first leg of what should surely be a thrilling Champions League semi-final against Lionel Messi and co.
The Reds arrived in Catalunya on Tuesday evening and will spend the day preparing for the 8pm BST kick-off at the iconic Camp Nou.
We'll be updating you live from Barcelona throughout the day, with pre-match build-up, confirmed team news, game commentary and post-match reaction.