Barcelona were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League, as Liverpool beat them 4-0 on Tuesday night, overturning a three-goal first leg deficit.
Barcelona came into the game as the overwhelming favourites, having won the first leg 3-0 at home and with all their players well rested in contrast to Liverpool who had a few key players out injured. But, it was the Reds who started the game stronger and took the lead through Divock Origi just seven minutes in, after Marc-Andre ter Stegen parried a Jordan Henderson shot right into his path.
The Catalans appeared to have been taken aback by the intensity and the energy with which Liverpool were playing. They did manage to threaten their goal on a couple of occasions through Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho, only to be denied by Alisson, while Jordi Alba also was thwarted by the Brazilian in a one-on-one situation close to half-time.
It was pretty much the same case after the break as well, with Liverpool looking the stronger of the two teams and Virgil van Dijk almost made it 2-0, but ter Stegen was alert to save. Luis Suarez had a great chance to get the all-important away goal for Barcelona, but could only muster up a tame effort at Alisson’s goal, before a quickfire double from Georginio Wijnaldum put Liverpool in the driver’s seat.
Final whistle at Anfield. Liverpool qualify for the #UCL final.
?? #LFCBarça (4-0, agg 4-3) pic.twitter.com/Q8PEIQgdkp
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 7, 2019
Messi conjured up another shot from a difficult angle that was easily stopped by Alisson, before Origi struck the killer blow in the 79th minute from a clever corner routine that caught the entire Barcelona side off-guard to make it 4-0 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.
It was a capitulation on a massive scale from Ernesto Valverde’s men, who seemed shell-shocked and overawed by Liverpool’s intensity on the night. Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League for a second consecutive season with a three-goal first leg advantage, having done so against Roma last term. And here’s how we rated their performances on a disastrous night at Anfield.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 4/10
Made a couple of decent saves in the first period to keep Henderson and Andy Robertson out, although parried the former’s effort right into Origi’s path for the opener. Sharp stop from van Dijk’s backheel effort after the break, but should have done better for the second goal. No chance for the third, while he was caught napping for the fourth.
Sergi Roberto: 3/10
The Barcelona academy graduate had a difficult time dealing with the pace and movement of Sadio Mane on the night. Did make a couple of key interceptions, but never looked comfortable, while he offered next to nothing going forward. Shifted to the left flank after Nelson Semedo came on in the second half, where he did little of note, while his passing was off the radar all night.
Gerard Pique: 4/10
Made a very important clearance to keep Mane from getting on the end of a lofted pass from Xherdan Shaqiri in the first half, but apart from that, the seasoned campaigner struggled to keep things tight and organised at the back in the face of intense pressure from Liverpool. Nowhere near the level that he has been this season.
Clement Lenglet: 4/10
Part of the defence that was under the cosh from the get-go owing to Liverpool’s intent and aggression. Put in a weak challenge on Henderson in the lead-up to the opener and never really got to grips with the movement of Mane and Origi.
Jordi Alba: 3/10
Was at fault for Liverpool’s opening goal as Mane pounced on his misplaced headed back-pass, while the Spaniard was also culpable for the second, with Trent Alexander-Arnold stealing the ball off him before crossing into the box. Had a great chance to get an away goal in the first half, but was denied by Alisson, while he also created a few opportunities for his teammates. But, overall it was forgettable outing for Alba.
Arturo Vidal: 5/10
One of the few Barcelona players who looked to match Liverpool’s intensity in the first half. Worked hard off the ball, went into challenges strongly, but his passing wasn’t always on the mark. Grew visibly tired as the game progressed and was withdrawn late on as Barcelona searched for a goal.
Sergio Busquets: 4/10
Having been the unsung hero of the first leg triumph, the Barcelona midfield lynchpin was overawed by Liverpool’s physicality and high-press in the middle of the park on Tuesday night. Positioning was off, lacked the usual calmness and composure he brings to the table and Barcelona suffered as a result.
Ivan Rakitic: 4/10
Seemed to have woken up after Liverpool opened the scoring, as he strung together a few good passes and sparked a few attacks, but could not maintain that. Left gaps in the midfield that the Reds exploited, his passing grew wayward as the game progressed and conceded possession very easily on a lot of occasions.
Lionel Messi: 5/10
Looked the most likely to be Barcelona’s knight in shining armour once again, as he forced Alisson into a save in the first period and had a couple of close misses with the score still at 1-0, while he also created chances for Coutinho and Alba. Faded after the break though with Fabinho bossing him. Did get a shot away from a tight angle that did not trouble Alisson. Looked dejected and defeated long before the final whistle.
Luis Suarez: 3/10
Returning to his old stomping ground, the Uruguayan was greeted with jeers after his goal celebrations in the first leg. Grew frustrated as he wasn’t given an inch by the Liverpool defence, leading him to try various theatrics from diving to feigning injury to protesting every call from the referee. Nothing worked for him, though. Had the best chance for Barcelona to score in the second half, but fired a tame effort at the Liverpool keeper.
Philippe Coutinho: 3/10
Another former Liverpool star returning to Anfield, the Brazilian playmaker was a mere spectator for most of his time on the pitch. Should have done better with his chance with the score still at 1-0. Never really looked like posing any threat, while he did not offer any defensive support to his full-back on the left-side. First player to be hooked off.
Nelson Semedo: 5/10
Thrown on in place of Coutinho at the hour mark. Offered pace and width down the right flank that was lacking for most of the first half, but could not spark a turnaround.
Arthur Melo: 4/10
Replaced Vidal in the 75th minute. Did little of note.
Came on for Rakitic for the final ten minutes as Barcelona pressed for an away goal.
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