Robertson 'sensational,' Salah misfires as Liverpool cruelly done by at Barcelona
Liverpool need a miracle at Anfield next week despite dominating much of the first leg. The Reds had more of the ball and more of the chances, but they didn't have Lionel Messi, and ultimately that was the difference in a 3-0 defeat.
Not many sides will go to Camp Nou and take the game to Barcelona as impressively as Liverpool did. That's a sign of the progress made by the Reds in the last couple of years, but successful sides score when they need to and Liverpool did not take their chances here.
Regardless of how well they played this tie is all but over now even though Liverpool know they are more than a match for Barcelona. For all the wonderful strides made by the team this year, it's looking increasingly like more end of season heartbreak for supporters who are now becoming used to it.
-- Ogden: Liverpool pay for making Messi angry
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- With Roberto Firmino deemed unfit to start, Klopp sprung a surprise by using Georginio Wijnaldum in the Brazilian's "false nine" role. It didn't work. Nor did the selection of the more defensive-minded Joe Gomez over Trent Alexander-Arnold. Tactically, though, Klopp must have done something right as his side had Barca on the ropes for long spells. Unfortunately, the manager can't put the ball in the net for his players.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- Beaten three times but other than perhaps the opener there was nothing he could do about any of them.
DF Joe Gomez, 6 -- His selection made sense if Liverpool were going to play it cagey but given that the Reds spent virtually the entire game on the front foot taking the game to Barca, it seems a strange call in hindsight. Defensively he stuck to his task manfully, but Liverpool badly missed the creativity and crossing of Alexander-Arnold.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Not a bad performance but the newly crowned PFA Player of the Year was certainly not at his imperious best. Culpable for the opening goal when he didn't track the run of Suarez.
DF Andrew Robertson, 9 -- Simply sensational. What a performance that was from the Scot at both ends of the pitch. Heroic, tenacious defending coupled with intelligent, rampaging attacking.
MF Fabinho, 7 -- Started the game brilliantly, winning several key tackles. Eventually, though, the task became almost impossible for him as Messi began to pick the ball up in space and turn. Stuck to his job well as well as could be expected and wasn't afraid to foul when it was required. Very efficient with his passing.
MF James Milner, 6 -- Showed his experience to help the Reds enjoy far more of the ball than anyone could have predicted. Tactically disciplined and helped to snuff out numerous counter-attacks at the source. Unlucky not to score with a curling effort that was tipped around the post, but then wasted a glorious chance when he shot straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen when the score was only 1-0. A bad -- and ultimately crucial -- miss.
MF Naby Keita, 7 -- Made a good start to the game before being forced off prematurely with a groin injury.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 -- Deployed in an unfamiliar role at the tip of a midfield diamond. Very good positionally and played his part in Liverpool being able to dominate possession and prevent Barcelona from getting their much vaunted passing game going, but did not offer a great deal in an attacking sense. Did produce a clever dummy to tee up Milner for the chance he wasted. Eventually made way for Firmino.
FW Mohamed Salah, 6 -- Looked sharp and caused plenty of problems, particularly in the first half. Forced a good save from the keeper with a low drive after the break but undid all of his good work by failing to find the gaping net seconds after Barcelona's third goal. Had he converted that most simple of opportunities, it would have given Liverpool a much better chance of turning the tie around next week. An inexcusable miss.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Very dangerous in the first half and perhaps should have been awarded a penalty when he was bundled over by Gerard Pique. Missed a good chance when he couldn't keep his shot down, but faded a little in the second stanza.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Will no doubt have been disappointed not to start the game, but he was brought on to replace the injured Keita early on and wasted no time getting involved. Produced a couple of terrific crosses and was bright and purposeful.
FW Roberto Firmino, N/R -- Probably should have been brought on earlier. Almost scored with one of his first touches when his shot was cleared off the line. Had he been fit to start the game, who knows what might have happened.
FW Divock Origi, N/R -- Sent on late to try and salvage something after it went to 3-0. Made a few runs down the left that didn't really amount to anything.