Champions League - Semi-finals - 1st Leg
Barcelona3Liverpool0

Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool: Lionel Messi double stuns Reds in Champions League semi-final

Lionel Messi (left) fires in his second goal
Lionel Messi has scored 26 Champions League goals against English clubs - 14 more than any other player

Lionel Messi's two second-half goals - including a stunning free-kick - earned Barcelona a handsome advantage and left Liverpool with an almighty task in their Champions League semi-final.

The Reds were in the ascendancy despite going behind to Luis Suarez's first-half strike - but they were then hit by a double sucker-punch from the Barcelona number 10.

The Argentine forward's first was instinctive, as he followed up Suarez's shot that came off the bar, but the second was majestic as he found Alisson's top-right corner from around 25 yards out. That was his 600th goal for the Spanish giants.

Liverpool came agonisingly close to a potentially crucial away goal when Roberto Firmino's strike was cleared off the line, before Salah somehow struck the post rather than scoring with the follow-up.

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele should have put the tie out of the Premier League side's reach in the closing seconds, but he scuffed it straight at Alisson from a few yards out.

Reds out of luck at Nou Camp

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah was one of Liverpool's best players at the Nou Camp but missed two good chances

What more could Klopp ask of his men in the second leg on Tuesday (20:00 BST kick-off at Anfield) after a display where they constantly probed and pressured the competition favourites?

Maybe some luck could have gone their way. Sadio Mane, with 15 goals in his past 18 games, shot well over from eight yards out after he was found by Jordan Henderson's ball from the right in the first half.

And in their period of domination after the interval, Ter Stegen was at full stretch to push away Milner's shot before the German dived low to his right to make a one-handed stop from Salah's drive.

Liverpool refused to let their heads drop after Messi's mini-show. However, they must have thought the gods are not shining on them this year after both Firmino and Salah missed clear-cut chances you would have put money on them to score.

The Reds have been known to produce miracles with a 3-0 deficit. They will need to produce another next week.

Messi magic relieves pressure

This was the La Liga champions at their most fluid - a supreme example of unpredictable, attacking football with the frontline of Messi, Suarez and Philippe Coutinho all on the same wavelength.

Perhaps more importantly for coach Ernesto Valverde, his defence - disjointed at times against Manchester United in the last eight - was far more resolute against a more fearsome attack.

After a period of pressure, they took the lead in the 26th minute when Suarez ran in behind Joel Matip and steered in Jordi Alba's excellent diagonal through-ball.

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'In these moments Messi is unstoppable' - Klopp on Barcelona defeat

The Catalan side conceded possession after the break but, bar those two efforts from Milner and Salah, looked comfortable - before Messi relieved the pressure on his backline with two goals in a seven-minute spell.

His opener came slightly fortuitously to him after Suarez tried to capitalise on Matip's unintended through-ball.

That was goal number 599 for the club, so it was only fitting that the next one was something special - a free-kick that looked to be heading for the top corner as soon as it left his boot.

Substitute Dembele should have put the tie completely beyond the Reds but, like Mane, lacked accuracy with the goal in front of him.

Man of the match - Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Lionel Messi celebrates
Lionel Messi now has 26 goals in 33 appearances against English clubs in the Champions League; no player has more against teams from one country in the competition

Another bad away day for Reds - the stats

  • Messi scored his 600th Barcelona goal, 14 years to the day since he scored his first against Albacete in May 2005.
  • Barcelona extended their record Champions League run of 32 home matches without defeat (W29 D3 L0), with this their first home win over Liverpool in European competition at the fifth attempt.
  • Liverpool suffered their joint-heaviest Champions League defeat, also losing 0-3 to Real Madrid in October 2014.
  • The Reds have lost the away leg of their past six major European semi-finals, four of which have been in the Champions League (previously 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2017-18).
  • Barcelona (502) became the second team to score 500 Champions League goals, after Real Madrid (551).
  • Only former Real striker Raul (33) has scored against more different Champions League opponents than Messi (32), scoring his first goal in his third appearance against Liverpool.
  • Messi has scored eight free-kicks this season - twice as many as any other player in the top five European leagues (England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain).

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 20RobertoSubstituted forAleñáat 90+3'minutes
  • 3Piqué
  • 15LengletBooked at 39mins
  • 18AlbaBooked at 86mins
  • 22Vidal
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 7CoutinhoSubstituted forNélson Semedoat 60'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9SuárezBooked at 81minsSubstituted forDembéléat 90+3'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Nélson Semedo
  • 8Arthur
  • 11Dembélé
  • 13Cillessen
  • 14Malcom
  • 23Umtiti
  • 26Aleñá

Liverpool

  • 13Alisson
  • 12Gomez
  • 32Matip
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26Robertson
  • 7MilnerSubstituted forOrigiat 85'minutes
  • 3FabinhoBooked at 81mins
  • 8KeitaSubstituted forHendersonat 24'minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forFirminoat 79'minutes
  • 10Mané

Substitutes

  • 6Lovren
  • 9Firmino
  • 14Henderson
  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
Referee:
Björn Kuipers
Attendance:
98,299

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home12
Away15
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home11
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Barcelona 3, Liverpool 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Liverpool 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Carles Aleñá.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. Carles Aleñá replaces Sergi Roberto.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. Ousmane Dembélé replaces Luis Suárez.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Arturo Vidal.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

  12. Post update

    Divock Origi (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

  15. Booking

    Jordi Alba (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

  17. Post update

    Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces James Milner.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a cross.

  20. Post update

    Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box.

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Dortmund6411102813
2Atl Madrid641196313
3Club Bruges61326516
4Monaco6015214-121

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona6420145914
2Tottenham6222910-18
3Inter Milan622267-18
4PSV Eindhoven6024613-72

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSG6321179811
2Liverpool63039729
3Napoli62317529
4Red Star Belgrade6114517-124

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto6510156916
2Schalke632164211
3Galatasaray611458-34
4Lokomotiv Moscow6105412-83

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bayern Munich64201551014
2Ajax6330115612
3Benfica6213611-57
4AEK Athens6006213-110

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City64111661013
2Lyon6150121118
3Shakhtar Donetsk6132816-86
4Hoffenheim60331114-33

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid6402125712
2Roma630311839
3Viktoria Plzen6213716-97
4CSKA Moscow621389-17

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Juventus640294512
2Man Utd631274310
3Valencia62226608
4Young Boys6114412-84
View full Champions League tables

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