News Live Scores
UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League: Can Liverpool outfox Barcelona's midfield triumvirate?

03:33 GMT+3 28/04/2019
Barcelona midfield
Liverpool will have their work cut out against a Barcelona midfield against whom it will be difficult to dominate...

A strong Barcelona side stand in front of Liverpool's path to reach back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals. 

The Spanish club dismantled an inefficient Manchester United in the quarter-final to set up a date with the Premier League title contenders. The Reds made short work of Porto to keep hopes of a season double alive. 

In the upcoming first leg of the semi-final between the two sides, Liverpool's biggest challenge will be to get the better of their opponents' in-form midfield trio. With Sergio Busquets' ethereal ability to caress a football as a deep-lying playmaker and the creative nous of Arthur and Ivan Rakitic, the Barca triumvirate has been flourishing. 

However, Liverpool can take notes from the first leg of the quarter-final between Manchester United and Barcelona at Old Trafford. The hosts were able to either bypass the midfield or energetically win the ball high up the field to create chances, especially in the early stages of the game. A lack of quality in the final third came back to haunt United but Jurgen Klopp must ensure his attackers convert the chances they create. 

Over the years, Busquets' ability to resist the press has been remarkably important in how Barcelona build their attacks. Arthur and Rakitic are also capable of dealing with the pressure.

What the Reds could attempt is Klopp's famous high-intensity pressing instead of sitting back and adopting a defensive approach away from home. It's a high-risk, high-reward strategy and a way to unsettle the Barcelona midfield early in the game. Klopp's variation of the pressing tactics require a high degree of stamina and agility and he has steadily assembled a squad which can pull it off. 

The likes of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Naby Keita move well on the field and the front three, Roberto Firminho in particular, are keen on winning possession in the opposition's half. The easy option would be to sit back but Barcelona are adept at breaking down low blocks. The Gegenpress could be the solution to restrict the Spanish giants and also isolate Lionel Messi who is in magnificent form. 

Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso were at the heart of Liverpool's midfield when they defeated Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Champions League Round-of-16 tie back in 2007. 12 years later, can Klopp's next-gen team surpass the Blaugrana midfield?

Here's how to watch the UEFA Champions League LIVE from SouthEast Asia