Barcelona vs Liverpool – Exclusive UEFA Champions League match preview

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By Emmanuel Ebimoh

They have arguably the best array of individual star players at the moment. They play some of the best football anyone can think of, and they are a delight to watch when the party is hot. The hunger for glory between them is unprecedented. They have scored more goals in Europe combined than any other teams this season, and they look more than ripe to lift the prestigious UEFA Champions League trophy.

However, they must do battle against each other tonight. They must settle the old score and contest for who will take glory on the pitch. They must give everything on the field of play and take on the virtues of gods for the night. They must play to their highest echelon to retain their aspirations as the greatest in the game. Yes, tonight, the world stands still and holds its breath as Barcelona do battle against Liverpool in a juicy UCL Semi-final first leg clash.

With Liverpool still in the race for the English Premier League title, the clash against Barcelona tonight could prove to be a tricky affair as they have a decisive away fixture against Newcastle just 72 hours later. The Reds boss, Jurgen Klopp has so far downplayed the effect this Barcelona tie might have on his team in their race for the Premier League title. But if they are to stand any realistic chance of doing the unprecedented double this season, then the game tonight will have its big say.

For Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the Liverpool team, there’s arguably only one man that could stand between them and glory in the game tonight. His name is Lionel Messi. The speed, precision, trickery, ability, and uncanny football disposition of the deadly Barcelona Maestro has been the Achilles heels for many teams he’s faced for more than a decade. Having helped Barcelona win their 10th La Liga title in 15 years, it’s no argument that the ‘little genius’ stands at the top of the list of the greatest footballers of all time.

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“I didn’t see Pele live but there are a lot of good players. Lionel Messi is for me the best.” Liverpool coach, Jurgen Klopp said. No doubt, the backline of Liverpool headed by PFA player of the year, Virgil Van Dijk will have to be at their very best for 90 minutes to stop any onslaught of Messi tonight.

One major threat Liverpool can boast of is their potent attacking combination of Mohamad Salah and Sadio Mane. The African duo have scored 50 goals between them this season, having them fully charged for the battle could be pivotal for the Reds. Roberto Firmino could also be back in the squad after a “small muscle tear” as described by Coach Jurgen Klopp, and with no other major injury worries, the team should be well boosted going into the crunch game tonight.

Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde seems optimistic that his team, especially Lionel Messi will be fresh for tonight’s game.

“I’ve rested Lionel Messi more than usual but this has been a month with two Champions League clashes, and twice we had to play three games in a week,” Ernesto Valverde said

“We wanted to clinch the Spanish league title, but at the same time we also wanted to make sure he was prepared for this tie. I think I’ve probably got the balance right.”

With many predictions flying in the air and football fans on the edge of their seats, all fingers will remain crossed until the final blast of the whistle is blown tonight. In the end, only one goal will be at stake tonight – victory.

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Emmanuel Ebimoh is an Editor and Sports Writer with 9News Nigeria. You can contact him via email on emmyebimoh@gmail.com

About Emmanuel Ebimoh 461 Articles
Emmanuel Ebimoh is a Writer, Poet, Editor, and Football Enthusiast. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria. You can reach him on emmyebimoh@gmail.com

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