The much awaited UEFA Champions League semifinal clash between European heavyweights Liverpool and Barcelona is now right in our faces as both clubs who are in top form battle out for a place in the final in Madrid. The Catalans have been doing extremely well this campaign and a magnificent victory over English side Manchester United in the quarterfinal means the Catalan giants reach their first semifinal since their triumph in Wembley in 2015. Liverpool on the other hand saw off a much less difficult rival in FC Porto after overcoming Bayern Munich in the Round of 16. Liverpool had luck to thank in the group stages as they qualified in second spot despite falling to losses vs all of their three rivals in the group. Now, they are on par with Barcelona if not better in terms of form which makes this game a much more interesting one. Here, we analyze five reasons why Liverpool can get the win at Camp Nou.
- LIVERPOOL GEGENPRESS
Liverpool are currently on 91 points in the Premier League with two games left to play, this is as a result of their outstanding consistency in one of the deadliest tactics around, the Gegenpress. Klopp has gotten his men to master the art of winning back possession in dangerous spaces and as soon as possible as the ball is lost, this will be very difficult for Barcelona to contend with. Liverpool will have their forwards press Barcelona’s back four as thoroughly as possible which is very likely to lead to an error from one of the defenders. Also, the midfielders will be giving this close marking in tight spaces by a bulk amount of Liverpool players, regaining possession will lead to counter attacks and if care is not taking, Barca can concede an early goal and more could go in.
2. LIVERPOOL’S FAST WINGERS
One of the reasons Liverpool are playing one of the best football currently and also getting fantastic results is due to the fact that they have really fast wingers in their possession. Barcelona cannot afford to give spaces to the likes of Mane and Salah as these guys can make things happen in just a blink. Since Barca are an attacking team it will be difficult to contain these men as the Barca fullbacks will definitely go on the attack, this can be very devastating for the Catalans and could lead to them conceding.
3. THE WALL OF MERSEYSIDE
Liverpool do not just have one of the best attack in Europe but also possess one of the best defense if not outrightly the best. Klopp’s team have conceded just 20 goals in the Premier League this season in 36 games. This is down to the majestic performances of star man Virgil Van Dijk and also goalkeeper Alisson Becker. The defender has not been dribbles past this season which shows his solidity while Alisson has kept 24 clean sheets so far. It will be a very difficult task for Barcelona to break this wall.
4. BARCELONA’S POOR RECORD VS LIVERPOOL
It is not news that history plays a part in football matches, especially in ties of this magnitude. Liverpool and Barcelona have not been meeting recently with their last official duel coming in 2007. However, in their head-to-head Barcelona seem to have a really poor record against the English side at home. In Liverpool’s last four visits to Barcelona, the English side have secured a massive two wins and two draws allowing Barcelona to score just once in these fixtures. The Catalans have never won against the reds at home and this is a huge factor for Liverpool. Liverpool will be looking to continue that fantastic record in front of over 90,000 Blaugranes tonight. We await.
5. CL COULD BE LIVERPOOL’S ONLY TITLE HOPE
Klopp’s team are having a fantastic season but somehow, they are only competing for two titles as things stand and one of these is eluding them. Despite having 91 points, Liverpool are still second on the Premier League table, one point behind leaders Manchester City with two games left to play and it is looking more likely the title will be heading to Manchester. The Reds were also knocked out early in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup by Wolves and Chelsea respectively which means they have only one title in which their chances of winning lies in their own hands: the Champions League. This is enough reason why their Morales will be top gear going into the tie as they will be gunning to bring back the coveted title which was last won by them in 2005.