Liverpool boss Klopp has hailed Lionel Messi whom he said was “unstoppable.” The Barcelona world class footballer scored two at home in a Champions League semi-final battle between Barca and Liverpool on Wednesday.
The final whistle blew at 3-0 against Liverpool who had a miracle win to reach the Champions League finals in mind while flying to Barcelona. The first goal came from former Liverpool player Luis Suarez, next from the world class Argentine Lionel Messi who took a comfortable position to return a hit bar ball back into the net. The third goal was a display of Messi’s magic as he released a stunning free-kick right into a top left side of the net.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said, “He’s unstoppable. Obviously we couldn’t defend the free-kick. What a strike. He’s a world-class player but I knew that already. It’s no surprise.”
Liverpool gave Barca a tight match in the first half, took dominance of the game in the early period of second half and could have left with at least a goal after Messi’s brilliant brace, only for Mohamed Salah’s strike to hit the top post.
“I said to the boys I was proud of how we played against a side like this. If you lose away it’s not a massive problem as long as you score a goal. That’s our problem tonight – it doesn’t make our life any easier.” Klopp said.
The comeback will be even tougher for them given Barcelona, with La Liga wrapped up, will surely rest a host of players against Celta Vigo this weekend while Liverpool, a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, will have to be at full throttle again away at Newcastle on Saturday.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde noted, “They can still make us suffer. The result is good but the tie is open.”
Messi was already fresh, after playing just over half the La Liga minutes he could have done in April, and he looked sharp early on, weaving through the centre while for Liverpool, the sensational Sadio Mane raced down the left.
The attacks were scintillating but the defending was good too. Andy Robertson scrambled across to block Messi’s finish from six yards and moments later it was Sergi Roberto on the slide, preventing Mane from doing what he does best.
Messi aimed for a penalty when the ball jumped up on Joel Matip and Naby Keita went off injured in the 25th minute, replaced by Jordan Henderson.
Liverpool would have at another point secured an away goal through Mane who battled and then flicked the ball round Sergio Busquets.