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Liverpool vs Barca: Team news, likely lineups, predictions

Champions League By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 06/05/2019

Barcelona travels to Anfield on Tuesday night in a dominant position ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg against Liverpool.

Both are five-time winners of the competition and are enjoying campaigns which could rank alongside any others in the illustrious histories of either club but the Reds have enjoyed some famous European comebacks in the past, but logic would dictate they have left themselves too much to do against the Spanish champions.

Team News 

Liverpool top scorer Mohamed Salah was stretchered off with a head injury at St James' Park over the weekend, though there is an outside chance of the Egyptian featuring on Tuesday night, however, both Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita are missing with groin strains.

Adam Lallana completes the list of those unavailable for Jurgen Klopp, the out-of-favour midfielder currently sidelined with a muscular problem but fortunately for the coach, none of his squad are suspended for a pivotal match in their season.

​Barcelona centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo is ineligible for European action, whilst Ousmane Dembele will miss out after suffering a hamstring tear over the weekend.

Rafinha has been out of action since November after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament and will not return until next term, Valverde having no further casualties to account for.

Head to Head

 

This will be the 10th time the two sides have locked horns, the record perfectly balanced at three wins apiece. However, the Merseysiders have emerged triumphant in just one of the last five match-ups, Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise both scoring in a 2-1 away victory at Camp Nou 12 years ago.

Indeed, Liverpool are unbeaten on four previous visits to the home of Barcelona, winning two and drawing two overall, the Reds edge the head-to-head record with three wins to Barca's two, and three draws.

The English outfit have won all three previous two-legged ties between these two teams, though, going on to lift the UEFA Cup in 1975-76 and again in 2000-01 after beating Barcelona on the way.

Recent Form

The Reds kept the pressure on ​Manchester City at the top of the Premier League courtesy of the three points they collected against Newcastle last time out, Divock Origi popping up late on to nod home a potentially priceless winner.

That result was their eighth victory in a row in domestic competition, with impressive triumphs over ​Chelsea and ​Tottenham Hotspur coming in that run. Salah has rediscovered his scoring touch after hitting six in his last eight matches; it would prove a major blow for Liverpool if he is indeed ruled out.

A 2-0 defeat at Celta Vigo on Saturday will do little to dampen the mood in the Barcelona ranks, that loss being their first since going down 2-0 at Sevilla in January. They remain nine points clear of second-placed ​Atletico Madrid in the table, another Spanish crown having already been secured thanks to a stumbling 1-0 win over Levante less than a fortnight ago.

Messi has now fired in a sublime 17 goals in just 12 matches, with Klopp's cohort one of a number of sides to kneel before his might. Worse still for the former ​Borussia Dortmund boss, Barça have a decidedly mean defensive record.

Before the disappointment against Celta, they had conceded just once in eight fixtures; that is a frightening statistic given that Liverpool needs plenty of goals to progress to the final.

Barcelona possible starting lineup: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal Messi, Suarez, Coutinho

Liverpool possible starting lineup: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Sturridge, Mane

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Barcelona

 

 
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