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Barcelona v Liverpool Live Commentary,
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Thanks for joining our commentary this evening. Until next time, goodbye.
Barcelona are next in action against Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday, while Liverpool continue their push to win the Premier League at Newcastle also on Saturday.
The brilliance of Lionel Messi has handed Barcelona a 3-0 advantage to take back to Anfield in their Champions League semi-final clash against Liverpool. The Catalan club took the lead in the first half through Luis Suarez, who diverted Jordi Alba's low cross past Alisson. The Reds controlled the second half, but were unable to get the breakthrough as James Milner was denied twice, while Mohamed Salah also saw an effort well saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Messi got the second goal for Barca in slightly fortuitous circumstances when a loose ball fell towards Suarez in the box. He struck the bar and it bounced out straight to Messi to convert. However, the third was anything but lucky as the Argentine curled a sensational free-kick into the top corner, scoring his 600th goal for Barcelona. Liverpool could have scored a vital away goal when Roberto Firmino's shot was cleared off the line, while Salah hit the post with the rebound. Even Barca could have had further goals, but Ousmane Dembele lost his composure twice. Ernesto Valverde's men hold a three-goal lead, but a lot could change next week at Anfield.
90' + 6'
FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 3-0 LIVERPOOL
90' + 6'
MISS! Liverpool leave themselves open at the back from another corner. Barca break with speed and Messi collects in the left inside channel. He squares the ball back to Dembele, who only has Alisson to beat, but he scuffs his strike straight at the Liverpool keeper.
90' + 5'
OVER! Liverpool are cut open again at the death as Alena wins the ball and he feeds Dembele in the right inside channel. He cuts back on to his left foot, only to smash the ball over the bar.
90' + 3'
Dembele replaces Suarez for the home side.
90' + 3'
Sergi Roberto makes way for Alena for the final two minutes.
90' + 1'
Salah sends a corner right down the throat of Ter Stegen and it allows the home side to break through Messi. He offloads towards Suarez, but Robertson gets across to divert the ball behind for a corner. Liverpool were caught out there from their own corner.
There will be five minutes of added time.
Ter Stegen comes a long way off his line to punch a long throw-in from Gomez and misses it. Henderson tries to guide a header towards goal, but Semedo is well placed to clear the danger.
Liverpool had been the better side in the second half, but lacked a clinical edge. Messi and Suarez have made them pay this evening.
Alba goes into the book for a loose challenge on Origi.
Messi now has 26 goals in 33 appearances against English clubs in the Champions League; no player has more against teams from a particular country in the competition's history (level with Ronaldo v German clubs).
Origi replaces Milner for the visitors as Klopp throws another forward on to the pitch.
OFF THE LINE AND OFF THE POST! Liverpool come so close to a vital away goal. Mane breaks through the Barcelona defence before being tackled. The loose ball falls to Firmino, who curls his effort towards goal. However, two Barcelona defenders are on the line to divert it away. Salah pounces on the rebound, but he smashes his effort from close range off the post. A nightmare for the visitors.
WHAT A GOAL!!!!! BARCELONA HAVE THREE!!! MESSI SCORES HIS 600TH GOAL FOR BARCELONA! The Argentine is spectacular as he curls his free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards. It's unstoppable as Alisson makes a despairing dive to his right, but cannot reach the ball with his outstretched hand. An incredible finish from Messi to hand his team control of the tie.
Suarez talks himself into the book after Fabinho's challenge.
Fabinho blocks off Messi in the final third and goes into the book. Barcelona have a free-kick 30 yards from goal.
Wijnaldum is withdrawn for the visitors and is replaced by Firmino. An attacking substitute by Klopp.
Messi has become only the second player to score against three different English clubs in the same Champions League season (Tottenham, Man Utd, Liverpool) after Thomas Muller in 2013-14 (Arsenal, Man City, Man Utd).
There was always the danger for Liverpool that they would be cut open. However, there's still hope for them in the tie if they were to snatch a goal this evening.
GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! MESSI MAKES IT TWO AGAINST THE RUN OF PLAY!!! 2-0 BARCA!! Messi makes Liverpool pay for their lack of clinical edge, he taps home from close range after Suarez hits the bar. The Argentine was afforded space and time on the edge of the box to run at the Reds. Fabinho made the tackle, although it went straight into the box. Robertson diverted it away from Sergi Roberto, but Suarez was there. He struck his effort towards goal, only to be denied by the bar. Messi was on hand to convert the rebound as the ball fell perfectly for him in the six-yard box. Barca have command of the tie now.
Barcelona are looking to take the pace out of the game to stymie Liverpool's period of possession. The Catalan club have been second best since half time.
The Reds enjoy a solid period of possession on the edge of the Barcelona box. However, they look for a clear-cut opening that does not present itself. Henderson's cross deflects off the backside of Robertson and bounces through to Ter Stegen.
Gomez is played into space down the right flank, but he attempts an ambitious right-footed strike that sails well over the bar.
Liverpool probe down the left flank, but the Barca backline holds firm amid the pressure.
Rakitic lifts the resulting corner into the box, and Lenglet rises highest, but he glances his header well wide of the post.
Messi opens up the Liverpool defence down the left flank with a pass to Vidal. However, he takes a poor first touch and Van Dijk is able to react to steer his low cross behind for a corner.
Klopp will be pleased with his side's performance in the second half. They've done everything but score, which could leave them vulnerable to Messi and company.
An interesting change for Barca as Valverde withdraws Coutinho to bring on Semedo. The home side need the extra protection on the flank to fend off Mane and Robertson.
CHANCE! Liverpool cut open Barcelona with ease down the left flank as Van Dijk sends a brilliant ball over the top for Salah. He takes the ball out for the air with a sublime touch before firing a low cross into the box. Wijnaldum dummies the ball to leave it for Milner to strike, but the midfielder blasts his effort straight at Ter Stegen.
Liverpool work the ball down the right flank between Salah and Gomez. However, the low cross from the Liverpool right-back is cleared by Pique on the slide. The Reds have been the better side since the restart.
Barcelona are able to clear the danger, while Robertson's offload towards Milner is intercepted. Matip makes an important interception to prevent a Barcelona counter in the middle of the park.
Mane makes a nuisance of himself down the left flank and he wins a free-kick on the byline from a challenge by Vidal.
SAVE! Liverpool open up Barcelona down the left flank as Robertson and Mane combine. Henderson tries to work the ball towards Wijnaldum, but he cannot take it in stride. Salah gathers the loose ball and goes for a low strike towards the bottom corner that is well saved by Ter Stegen.
Mane turns past Sergi Roberto with ease down the left flank, but his delivery into the middle flies over the head of everyone. Liverpool have not been clinical enough in the final third.
SAVE! Ter Stegen denies Milner with a fine stop. Salah and Wijnaldum combine in the box to open up the Barca defence. The Dutchman lays the ball off to Milner to strike on his left foot. He places his effort towards the far corner, but Ter Stegen gets across to make a one-handed stop.
Suarez goes down in the early stages of the second half under pressure from Matip and wins a free-kick.
We're back underway at Camp Nou.
Barca displayed their clinical edge in the final third as Alba and Suarez combined. It has not been a classic performance from the hosts, although they have played nice football at times. Lionel Messi has seen a lot of the ball, but has not been at the peak of his powers. A moment of magic from him could turn the tie in the favour of Ernesto Valverde's men.
Barcelona lead 1-0 at the break against Liverpool in this first leg Champions League semi-final clash. Luis Suarez got the goal against his former team, latching on to Jordi Alba's low cross into the box. The game has been fairly even, although Barca produced the one moment of quality to unlock to Reds' defence to hold the advantage. Liverpool's best opening came through Sadio Mane, only for the forward to guide his effort over the bar. The visitors lost Naby Keita to injury, which brought Jordan Henderson on the field. There will be plenty more opportunities in this game, but the visitors cannot afford to concede a second on the road.
45' + 3'
HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 1-0 LIVERPOOL
45' + 2'
Liverpool have space on the counter, but Mane's flick to Henderson is a tad short and allows Alba to make a covering challenge that deflects off the midfielder and out for a goal-kick.
45' + 1'
The tension on the pitch has been raised over the last couple of minutes. Suarez has been involved in a couple of incidents with Liverpool players.
There will be three minutes of added time.
Coutinho goes down under pressure from Matip in the box. Barcelona appeal for a penalty, but the referee is not interested and points only for a goal-kick.
Messi takes a whack from Milner on the sidelines, but does not cover himself in glory with additional theatrics. The referee does not book the Liverpool midfielder.
Liverpool probe on the edge of the Barcelona box, but are unable to carve out a shooting opportunity. The Catalan club are defending well in numbers.
Milner clips the resulting free-kick into the box, but the home side are able to clear the danger with relative ease. Liverpool have not made the most of their set-pieces in the first half.
Lenglet pulls back Salah on the charge down the right flank and he goes into the book.
BLOCK AND WIDE! Henderson threads the ball through Salah on the edge of the box. He turns and fires towards goal, only to see his effort blocked by Lenglet. Milner gathers the rebound, but his attempt flies wide of the post.
CHANCE! Henderson sends a perfect low ball behind the Barcelona backline for Mane ahead of Pique and Lenglet. The forward takes on the effort first time, but he guide his left-footed strike on the stretch over the bar.
Henderson clips a cross to the back post for the run of Mane, but Sergio Roberto has to act to head behind ahead of the Liverpool forward.
Messi sends a cross-field pass into acres of space for Alba. He fires a low ball into the middle that looks to be heading towards Suarez before Fabinho slides in with a vital challenge.
Robertson makes two good runs down the left flank for the visitors, but he cannot connect with team-mates in the middle with his deliveries.
Barcelona's goal is their 500th in Champions League history - just the second club to reach the tally after Real Madrid.
Messi leads Barcelona out from their own cornerflag into the Liverpool box. Suarez takes over and tries to fire a low ball across the face of goal for Coutinho, but Gomez clears ahead of the Brazilian.
Suarez's goal is his first in the Champions League since April 2018 against Roma (Alisson also between the stick), 392 days ago.
Alba is afforded space and time on the left and he fires a perfect low cross into the box for Suarez to convert.
GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! SUAREZ PUTS BARCA AHEAD!! 1-0!!! The Uruguayan notches his first Champions League goal of the season, poking his strike past Alisson from close range. Alba fired a low ball into the dangerzone and Suarez's movement was excellent. He ran through a gap between Van Dijk and Matip before diverting the cross into the bottom corner. Barcelona strike first in the semi final.
Henderson replaces Keita for the visitors in the middle of the park. He takes the armband immediately.
Liverpool probe down the left flank through Mane and Robertson. The latter sees his low cross cleared away by the home side, but Mane gathers again on the left. He charges into the box, only to see his effort blocked by Pique.
Keita makes his way from the field, but Liverpool are temporarily down to 10 men as Henderson was not ready to come on.
Keita is down on the deck for Liverpool and may have to leave the field here. He is clutching his leg. Henderson is going through his warm-up routine on the sideline.
Robertson lifts the ball into the box, but Lenglet is there with a clearing header before Wijnaldum is flagged offside from Salah's follow-up cross.
Mane puts Pique under pressure at the back and he wins a free-kick for a team on the left flank on the edge of the box. The Reds can threaten from this set-piece.
OFFSIDE! Messi threads the needle for Coutinho in space down the left inside channel. The Brazilian strikes at goal with his left foot, but his attempt flies wide of the post. Coutinho was offside after the fact anyway.
SAVE! Messi makes a surge towards the edge of the box, but gets closed down by a number of Liverpool defenders. Coutinho gathers the loose ball and goes for the strike, only to see his effort well saved by Alisson.
PENALTY SHOUT! Liverpool are cut open down the left flank and Coutinho forces the ball towards Messi. Robertson makes a brilliant covering tackle to prevent the strike. However, the loose ball lands at the feet of Messi once again. He tries to force his way past Van Dijk, but the Dutchman stands firm. Messi wants a penalty for an apparent handball, although the Reds defender was in very close proximity and had no time to react.
A loose pass from Rakitic puts his team in trouble, allowing Keita to steal possession for the visitors. He offloads towards Mane, but Pique breaks up the attack with a fine sliding challenge.
Salah gets the better of Alba down the right flank, skipping past his challenge with ease. He cuts the ball back across the edge of the box, only to see his pass miss his team-mates.
Salah probes down the right flank and he tries to force an offload towards Wijnaldum in the box, only to see his pass cut out by Busquets.
Suarez catches Milner with a late challenge and is fortunate to avoid a booking. His saving grace was that the tackle was deep in Liverpool's territory and it was a genuine attempt to play the ball.
It has been an interesting start to the game. Both teams are willing to take chances by playing open football.
Robertson lifts the ball forward to Salah and he turns a pass around the corner for Mane to burst into the left inside channel. He goes down under pressure from Pique, but the referee does not make a decision. Mane gets back to his feet before seeing his cross to Salah at the back post cleared by Alba.
Coutinho whips the resulting corner deep to the back post for Suarez to head at goal. However, from a tight angle, he can only guide his effort into the side-netting.
Space opens up for Rakitic down the left inside channel. He tries to force a low ball across the face of goal, but Matip comes across to clear behind.
Messi and Coutinho combine in the final third, which almost sees the Argentine break through the middle, but Van Dijk is alert to clear the danger.
Alba loses out to Salah in the final third and the forward goes for the strike, but he sees his effort blocked by a wall of Barcelona defenders.
Suarez lifts a cross into the box from the left flank, but Alisson comes off his line to claim the ball.
We're underway at Camp Nou.
Barcelona have won more Champions League games against English sides (27) than any side has won against clubs from a particular nation in the competition’s history.
Firmino is fit enough to take a place on the bench for the Reds, although his thigh injury keeps him out of the starting line-up. Keita is expected to join Salah and Mane in the final third, although he could also be deployed as part of a diamond in midfield. Gomez comes into the fold at right-back, while Matip also comes into the side from the win over Huddersfield. Fabinho starts ahead of captain Henderson, who drops to the bench along with Lovren and Alexander-Arnold. There's no place on the bench for Daniel Sturridge.
Messi returns to the starting line-up for Barcelona this evening, surprising no one after starting from the bench in the last two games. Sergi Roberto is preferred to Semedo at right-back, which sees the Portuguese drops to the bench. Busquets returns in favour of Arthur, which sees the Spaniard line up alongside Rakitic and Vidal in the midfield. Former Liverpool stars Suarez and Coutinho form a front three with Messi.
LIVERPOOL SUBS: Dejan Lovren, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, Simon Mignolet, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita.
BARCELONA SUBS: Nelson Semedo, Arthur, Ousmane Dembele, Jasper Cillessen, Malcom, Samuel Umtiti, Carles Alena.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto; Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool are still battling on two fronts and despite their excellence on the pitch this season, there's a frightening thought that it could end without a trophy. The Premier League title race between the Reds and Manchester City appears to be going down to the wire, even though Klopp's side surpassed the 90-point mark last week with their win over Huddersfield. Their European hopes hang equally in the balance against the might of Barcelona and Messi along with their former players Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. A resilient performance is required tonight.
Barcelona wrapped up the LaLiga crown last week with a 1-0 win over Levante courtesy of a strike from Lionel Messi. Ernesto Valverde's men will be eyeing the Champions League as well as the Copa del Rey to complete a famous treble. The Catalan club eased past Manchester United in the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition last time out. They will be looking for a similar performance against Liverpool, although it will be a harder task against Jurgen Klopp's men.
Good evening and welcome to the live commentary of the Champions League semi-final first leg clash between Barcelona and Liverpool at Camp Nou.