Liverpool host Barcelona seeking to stage their greatest-ever European comeback
Follow Liverpool vs Barcelona in our dedicated live blog on the Sky Sports app and SkySports.com on Tuesday evening
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 07/05/19 5:58pm
Liverpool host Barcelona in their Champions League semi-final second leg on Tuesday facing mission impossible.
Jurgen Klopp's side face an uphill challenge to overturn a three-goal deficit against Barcelona - with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both ruled out.
The Champions League may provide an unnecessary distraction for the Reds, with their Premier League title hopes still alive going into the final game of the season with Wolves next Sunday.
Realistically they may need to win by four against the Catalan club to stand any hope of progression to the final for the second season in a row, as any away goal for the visitors will give them an additional advantage.
Liverpool facing mission impossible
Liverpool have a decorated history of staging improbable comebacks in the Champions League, with the famous 3-1 win over Olympiakos in December 2004 and the 2005 final in Istanbul both ensured of their place in club folklore.
A good omen?
Since Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2015, they have suffered knock-out defeats in away legs by the scorelines 2-0, 2-0, 4-0, 3-0 and 3-0.
But overcoming the La Liga champions would eclipse those feats in terms of achievement.
The Reds are looking to become only the third team in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to come from three goals down after the first leg of a semi-final and progress to the final, after Panathinaikos in 1970-71 and Barcelona in 1985-86.
On only three previous occasions has a team been eliminated from a Champions League knockout tie having won the first leg by three or more goals, with the last occasion being Barcelona against Roma in last season's quarter-final (4-1 first leg, 0-3 second leg).
Hard Day's Night
Merseyside Police have confirmed that a report was received of fireworks being set off at Chavasse Park in Liverpool city centre shortly after 4am on Tuesday morning.
The area is in front of the Hilton Hotel, where the Barcelona squad are staying.
Merseyside Police said: “It is against the law to carry or use adult fireworks if you are under 18, and illegal for people of any age to let off or throw a firework in a public place”.
What is more, Barcelona have already won two away Champions League games in England this season, winning 4-2 at Spurs and 1-0 at Manchester United. No side has ever won three away games in England in a major European competition in a single season.
Klopp expects 'rocking' Anfield
Klopp said that his team will approach the game step-by-step, and hope to use the Anfield atmosphere to their advantage.
"I would imagine that the players will be rocking before we score, to be honest," said Klopp. "That's what I expect.
"But we not only have to score, but we have to deny Barcelona from scoring, and it doesn't happen too often that Barcelona don't score at all. We know how big the challenge is."
Is Brewster set for bow on biggest stage?
Klopp may be tempted to hand Rhian Brewster his first senior appearance with the 19-year-old fit after recovering from injuries that have kept him sidelined since January 2018.
Having been an unused substitute in a Premier League match against Crystal Palace in April 2017, Klopp has revealed he will be part of his matchday squad.
"Yes, there is a big chance," he said. "It's nearly sure. It's guaranteed. He's ready. The situations are always like this. In an ideal world, in a season you always have much more players than you can involve in a squad.
"Rhian has now arrived with us after being heavily injured. Day by day, he has got better and better. He has been in outstanding shape for the last three or four weeks but the other players were there as well.
"Next season he will be playing 100 per cent and he knows that. I have told him already.
"It's just good so now it's really nice in a difficult situation that we can give him that spot in the squad and have him there to bring on as a striker. When you're on the bench, you are an option to play."
Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez should get a hostile reception at Anfield in the Champions League semi-final second leg, according to Phil Thompson.
Suarez was a big favourite among the Liverpool fans as he scored 69 Premier League goals in his time there from 2011-2014, but Thompson is not keen on sentiment for the player who scored in Barca's win in the first leg.
Thompson was not impressed with Suarez's behaviour last Wednesday, and told Sky Sports News: "He made me believe what everybody else thought of Suarez, going over and above that.
"I could understand now maybe what other fans thought of Suarez when he was at Liverpool. I hope the Liverpool fans and players give it to him, wind him up something rotten."
Will Suarez celebrate at Anfield if he scores?
Suarez insists he won't celebrate if he scores against Liverpool and expects more "applause than whistles" on his return to Merseyside.
He said: "People who know about football know the importance of the goal I scored in the Champions League semi-final.
"I have all the respect in the world for the Liverpool fans. Because I scored it and celebrated it with my fans, I say sorry.
"I am very thankful to Liverpool, to the fans and to the club, and obviously it's clear that if I score a goal against Liverpool [at Anfield] I won't celebrate it. The same way I didn't do in Holland when I scored [for Ajax against Groningen]."
Trent: We can't hold back
Trent Alexander-Arnold says Liverpool must play fearlessly against Barcelona if they are to turn their Champions League tie around.
"As a team, we've got to go out there and be fearless and not hold back at all," said Alexander-Arnold. "Probably the only way we can get the result we want is to not hold back, to go out there with no fear and focus on ourselves.
"I think if we get caught up with thinking about the players they've got and fearing them, and holding players back then I don't think that's really going to work for us.
"It's all about everyone getting involved and trying to score as many goals as possible really.
Big two missing for Reds
Salah's absence will come as a major blow to Liverpool's hopes of staging a remarkable comeback, but the Egyptian is expected to return this weekend for the visit of Wolves.
"It is a concussion and that means he will not even be allowed to play," Klopp said of his top scorer.
"He feels OK but that is not good enough from a medical point of view. He is desperate, but we cannot do it. The approach we will take is that we try to win the game, if that makes sense."
A groin strain rules out Firmino, and Klopp added: "Two of the world's best strikers are not available, and we have to score at least three goals against Barcelona. As long as we have 11 players on the pitch, we will try."
Midfielders Naby Keita (groin) and Adam Lallana (muscle) will not play again this season.
Liverpool provisional squad
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Shaqiri, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Origi, Mignolet, Gomez, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Sturridge, Jones, Brewster, Camacho.
Barcelona team news
Ousmane Dembele has not travelled to Anfield after he was injured in Barcelona's game with Celta Vigo, but aside from the winger and long-term midfield absentee Rafinha, the visitors have a full-strength squad to choose from.
The French winger lasted less than 10 minutes in the 2-0 La Liga defeat before being forced off in Barcelona's first league defeat since November.
Barcelona provisional squad
Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Rakitic, Busquets, Coutinho, Arthur, Luis Suarez, Messi, Rafinha, Cillessen, Malcom, Lenglet, Murillo, Jordi Alba, Boateng, Sergi Roberto, Vidal, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Alená, Inaki Pena, Wague.
Sky Bet odds
- Barcelona have won both of their previous Champions League visits to Anfield against Liverpool, winning 3-1 in November 2001 and 1-0 in March 2007; Barcelona are the only away side to win more than once at Anfield in the Champions League.
- In all European competition, Liverpool have only lost one of their 18 home semi-finals at Anfield (W14 D3 L1), losing 0-1 to a Billy Bremner goal against Leeds United in the 1970-71 Fairs Cup.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 19 home matches in all competitions (W16 D3 L0), only enjoying a longer run once under Jürgen Klopp - a run of 25 between January 2016 and January 2017.
- In the first leg, Liverpool became the 32nd different Champions League opponent Barcelona's Lionel Messi has scored against - only former Real Madrid and Schalke striker Raúl has scored against more (33).
- Liverpool haven't conceded a Champions League goal at Anfield in 367 minutes, since Kylian Mbappé scored for Paris Saint-Germain in September; the Reds haven't kept five consecutive home clean sheets in the European Cup/Champions League since October 1984.
- Barcelona have won just five of their last 18 away Champions League knockout ties (W5 D4 L9), but four of those five victories have come in England (two vs Man City, one vs Arsenal and Man Utd), with the other against PSG in April 2015.
- Lionel Messi has 12 Champions League goals for Barcelona this season, just two shy of his best ever tally in a single season, scoring 14 in 2011-12; the Argentinian has netted more goals against English teams than any other player in the competition's history (26), including six this season.
It was a massive blow with Salah going off injured against Newcastle. I believe Roberto Firmino could have been the man here, but I honestly cannot see it now.
The atmosphere will be magnificent but when Barcelona get in front of those audiences, it is like they are putting on an exhibition.
Suarez will be calm for the first time in his career as they are in the driving seat. Liverpool will appreciate this performance from both their side and Barcelona.
Lionel Messi turned up against Tottenham and I think he will feed off that type of atmosphere again. It will be a counter-attack exhibition and Messi will score again.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Liverpool 1-2 Barcelona - 9/1 with Sky Bet
When is the Champions League final?
The Champions League final, the 27th in its current format and 64th of Europe's elite-club competition, will take place on June 1, 2019.
Kick-off is at 8pm (BST), 9pm (CEST).
Follow Liverpool vs Barcelona in our dedicated live blog on the Sky Sports app and SkySports.com on Wednesday evening